.. location demographics .. find a block group (BG) based on an address using VDA Web GIS. Determine the BG code. See the BG map in context of other BGs, the topography, other geographies. Create a profile for a selected BG (2010 or 2020). View U.S. national scope BGs in a table/grid; sort on selected demographics. Query for BGs meeting certain criteria like median household income. Nothing to install, use your Web browser. No cost. Start VDA Web GIS here. See map example below where VDA is used to examine BGs in the Los Angeles area. Need help? Click the chat/message us button on the VDA web page.
Block Groups are the smallest geography areas for which data from the American Community Survey (ACS) are tabulated and cover the U.S. wall-to-wall. The popularity, importance, of block groups is their small area granualarity. While the decennial census provides demographics at the census block level, BGs are the smallest geographic area where richer demographics (like median household income) are available. BGs are also important as demographics are developed annually via the ACS 5-year estimates. The ACS 2019 block groups were based on Census 2010 geography. ACS 2020 block groups are based on Census 2020 geography. Many 2020 BG geographic areas differ from 2010 BG geographic areas especially in suburban and areas experiencing demographic change. 2010 and 2020 BGs often differ in both the geometry, earth surface coverage, and the geocode, the 12 character shorthand code/name. Since the geography differs, demographics for 2010 and 2020 BGs are often not directly comparable.
Block Group Geography
Block group geography is defined by the Census Bureau and generally non-changing for the decade, good for longitudinal demographic analysis throughout the 2020s. BGs are comprised of a set of census blocks and a part of (nest within) census tracts. See 2020 BG final criteria. 2020 BG geography is represented by shapefiles developed by the Census Bureau. Download the zip file containing the 2020 smoothed national scope BG boundaries here. Expanding that zip file, add the BG shapefile to a CV XE GIS project to view and use the BG geography (no subject matter included).
Compare 2010 and 2020 block groups using the VDA Web GIS. Nothing to install.
VDA Application using the Situation & Outlook Project
Follow these steps: view steps in video
– click Find Address; map refreshes showing address location as blue marker.
.. the default address is the UCLA campus/Losa Angeles vicinity.
– check on BG 2020 & BG 2020 code layers in legend panel at left of map window
.. BG boundaries & codes appear.
– click on BG as shown in map below; crosshatch appears.
– click HTML button below lower left profile panel.
.. opens HTML demographic profile.
Try these steps for an address of interest.
About Block Group 060372653011
The 2020 block group 06-037-265301-1 is highlighted in the above graphic. It has a 12 character geocode 06 (California) 037 (Los Angeles County) 256301 (2020 census tract) and block group 1 (2020 block group – unique code within tract). This block group has a high concentration of population who live in dorms (group quarters, noninstitutional) resulting in a high population to housing unit ratio. View the Census 2020 profile for this BG by clicking on this BG .. the profile is shown in the lower left panel. Click the HTML button to view the profile as an HTML page.
Block Group Demographics
The geometry of 2020 BGs is designed for population threshold of 600 to 3,000 population but might actually have a much larger population. Using 2010 BGs, the two primary sources of demographics are Census 2010 and the annual ACS 5-year estimates through 2019. Using 2020 BGs, the two primary sources of demographics are Census 2020 and annual ACS 5-year estimates starting with ACS 2020 (release date March 17, 2022). Many organizations use BG geography and demographics with their own programs, such as the Environmental Justice program of EPA.
Use the Demographic-Economic Data Explorer (DEDE) to create custom 2010 or 2020 BG demographic data profiles or datasets from the decennial census or annual ACS programs. DEDE enables you to select from any of the thousands of BG demographics tabulated in the Census 2010, Census 2020 or any of the annual ACS statistical programs.
Using VDA Web GIS
2010 and 2020 demographics for all BGs are available now using the VDA Web GIS. Nothing to install. Start using VDA and examine BG geodemographics today; no fee. Compare 2010 and 2020 BGs. Create demographic profiles like this one in HTML or CSV/Excel structure. Access all U.S. BGs in a table grid; sort and perform queries. Use selected table queries to display those selected BGs in the map view. Use the GeoSelect feature to perform site analysis operations.
ACS 2020 Demographics
ACS 2020 demographics for 2020 BGs will be reviewed in a subsequent post.
About VDA Web GIS
VDA Web GIS is a decision-making information resource designed to help stakeholders create and apply insight. VDA Web GIS has been developed and is maintained by Warren Glimpse, ProximityOne (Alexandria, VA) and Takashi Hamilton, Tsukasa Consulting (Osaka, Japan).
About the Author
Warren Glimpse is former senior Census Bureau statistician responsible for national scope statistical programs and innovative data access and use operations. He is also the former associate director of the U.S. Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards for data access and use. He has more than 20 years of experience in the private sector developing data resources and tools for integration and analysis of geographic, demographic, economic and business data. Join Warren on LinkedIn.