Category Archives: Census Tracts

TractWatch — Examining Small Area Change

Understanding the demographic-economic landscape for small area geography and how it is changing is vital for many stakeholders. Businesses and other organizations need to know how their market/service areas are changing … getting answers to questions like knowing about recent trends, where we are now and the how/where/how much things might change in the future.

Examining Tract Change
The following view shows census tracts (black boundary) located in the northeast Houston, TX area. Tracts are labeled with 2017 population estimates and percent population change from 2010 to 2017. Tract geography and characteristics are shown in context of three cities/places — Houston (orange cross-hatch), Humble (blue) and Atascocita CDP (green). It is easy to see what census tracts intersect with what cities and where. The pointer/hand is located in census tract 48-201-240902, partly intersecting with Humble city. The tract 2017 population of 12,984 reflects an increase of 10.4% since 2010. The dark brown bold boundary at the top of this tract is the Harris County, TX boundary.

.. view developed with ProximityOne CV XE GIS and related GIS project.
.. create views like this for any area in the U.S.; add your own data.

TractWatch tells us which tracts in a region of interest changed during the past year based on quarterly observable data with only a one quarter lag.

Census Tracts & TractWatch
TractWatch is a new tool/service focused on examining recent demographic-business change for each census tract. These approximate 74,000 geographic areas cover the U.S. wall-to-wall and averaged 4,000 population as of Census 2010. Tracts have a generally stable geography between decennial censuses and are coterminous with county boundaries. Tracts cover the U.S. with more than a 2-to-1 ratio compared to ZIP code areas (see tract-ZIP relationship table).

Integrated with Situation & Outlook
TractWatch insights are developed through the use of the ProximityOne Situation & Outlook (S&O) database and information system — a part of S&O demographic-economic estimates and projections developed and updated annually. The 2017 vintage tract estimates and projections (annual data) cover the period 2010 through 2022 (5-year projection).

TractWatch – Monitoring Change
As a part of the S&O annual estimates and projections development, a range of measures are updated quarterly at the census tract level. Quarterly data are developed that include population, housing units, vacant units, households and business establishments.

There is only a one-quarter lag in the availability of observable census tract data. For example, observable 2017Q1 data can be added to the S&O database in July 2017. Data are analyzed and converted into a TractWatch national dataset.

Situation & Outlook Reports
The Situation & Outlook Reports (S&O Reports) are updated weekly, for the U.S. and each county, metro and state. TractWatch is a part of the “Recent Change and Outlook” S&O Report section and updated quarterly. See schedule of updates the shows when TractWatch is updated.

The S&O Reports (metro and county) Recent Change and Outlook section includes a list of census tracts which have shown significant change over the past year for that geography. A table of typically 10-to-25 key tracts are listed in a table with selected demographic-business change attributes.

Join me in a Data Analytics Lab session to discuss more details about accessing and using wide-ranging demographic-economic data and data analytics. Learn more about using these data for areas and applications of interest.

About the Author
— Warren Glimpse is former senior Census Bureau statistician responsible for 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. Contact Warren. Join Warren on LinkedIn.

Examining Houston Metro Demographic-Economic Characteristics

.. tools & data to examine metro demographic-economic characteristics .. this Houston, TX metro focused section is one of several similar metro sections that will be covered in weeks ahead.  Each metro-focused section provides a summary of tools and data that can be used to view, rank, compare, analyze conditions and trends within the metro and this metro relative to other metros, regions and the Nation.  The ready-to-use GIS project/datasets provide the basis for extended data/geographic views and analysis immediately.  See more detail about topics covered in this related Web section.

Relating your data to demographic-economic characteristics and trends in a region involves more than information provided by a report or set of statistical tables. It is important to use your data to be able to identify areas of missed opportunity and competitive position. It is important to have a “10,000 foot” view as well as understanding individual neighborhoods and market/service areas. Geographic Information System (GIS) tools, with the right set of geographic, demographic and economic data can facilitate decision-making through the use of visual and tabular data analytics.

This section provides information on installing and using the Houston Metro Demographic-Economic GIS software and project/datasets. This same scope of data, tools and operation is available for any metro, state or combination.

10,000 Foot View
The following graphic shows patterns of median household income by census tract for the Houston metro area. This is the start-up view when using the GIS tools and data described below. The color patterns/intervals are shown in the highlighted layer in legend at left of map window. Use the GIS tools described below to develop thematic pattern maps for a range of data and criteria.

.. view developed using the CVGIS software.

See more about census tracts; see tracts main page.

Several additional views follow, developed using this same GIS project. These views illustrate different levels of geographic granularity and patterns of different subject matter.

Median Household Value by Block Group
See more about block groups; see block groups main page.

.. view developed using the CVGIS software.

Population/Housing Unit by Block
See more about census blocks; see census block main page.

.. view developed using the CVGIS software.

Zoom-in to Sugarland/Fort Bend County
See more about cities/places; see cities/places main page.
Access data for any city using interactive table.

.. view developed using the CVGIS software.

Further Zoom-in Showing Street/Road Detail
See more about streets.

.. view developed using the CVGIS software.

Additional Information
See the related Houston metro Situation & Outlook Report.

Using the GIS Software and Project/Datasets
(requires Windows computer with Internet connection)
1. Install the ProximityOne CV XE GIS
… run the CV XE GIS installer
… requires UserID; take all defaults during installation
2. Download the Houston Metro GIS project fileset
… requires UserID; unzip Houston Metro GIS project files to local new folder c:\p1data
3. Open the c:\p1data\us1_metros_houston.gis project
… after completing the above steps, click File>Open>Dialog
… open the file named c:\p1data\us1_metros_houston.gis
4. Done. The start-up view is shown above.

Join me in a Data Analytics Lab session to discuss more details about accessing and using wide-ranging demographic-economic data and data analytics. Learn more about using these data for areas and applications of interest.

About the Author
— Warren Glimpse is former senior Census Bureau statistician responsible for 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. Contact Warren. Join Warren on LinkedIn.

Developing Geographic Relationship Data

.. tools and methods to build and use geographic relationship files … which census blocks or block groups intersect with one or a set of school attendance zones (SAZ)? How to determine which counties are touched by a metropolitan area? Which are contained within a metropolitan area? Which pipelines having selected attributes pass through water in a designated geographic extent? This section reviews use of the Shp2Shp tool and methods to develop a geographic relationship file by relating any two separate otherwise unrelated shapefiles. See relasted Web page for a more detiled review of using Shp2Shp.

As an example, use Shp2Shp to view/determine block groups intersecting with custom defined study/market/service area(s) … the only practical method of obtaining these codes for demographic-economic analysis.

– the custom defined polygon was created using the CV XE GIS AddShapes tool.

Many geodemographic analyses require knowing how geometries geospatially relate to other geometries. Examples include congressional/legislative redistricting, sales/service territory management and school district attendance zones.

The CV XE GIS Shape-to-Shape (Shp2Shp) relational analysis feature provides many geospatial processing operations useful to meet these needs. Shp2Shp determines geographic/spatial relationships of shapes in two shapefiles and provides information to the user about these relationships. Shp2Shp uses the DE-9IM topological model and provides an extended array of geographic and subject matter for the spatially related geometries. Sh2Shp helps users extend visual analysis of geographically based subject matter. Examples:
• county(s) that touch (are adjacent to) a specified county.
• block groups(s) that touch (are adjacent to) a specified block group.
• census blocks correspond to a specified school attendance zone.
• attributes of block groups crossed by a delivery route.

Block Groups that Touch a Selected Block Group
The following graphic illustrates the results of using the Shp2Shp tool to determine which block groups touch block group 48-85-030530-2 — a block group located within McKinney, TX. Shp2Shp determines which block groups touch this block group, then selects/depicts (crosshatch pattern) these block groups in the corresponding GIS map view.

Geographic Reference File
In the process, Shp2Shp creates a geographic relationship file as illustrated below. There are six block groups touching the specified block group. As shown in the above view, one of these block groups touches only at one point. The table below (derived from the XLS file output by Shp2Shp) shows six rows corresponding to the six touching block groups. The table contains two columns; column one corresponds to the field GEOID from Layer 1 (the output field as specified in edit box 1.2 in above graphic) and column 2 corresponds to the field GEOID from Layer 2 (the output field as specified in edit box 2.2 in above graphic). The Layer 1 column has a constant value because a query was set (geoid=’480850305302′) as shown in edit box 1.3. in the above graphic. Any field in the layer dataset could have been chosen. The GEOID may be used more often for subsequent steps using the GRF and further described below. It is coincidental that both layers/shapefiles have the field named “GEOID”.

Layer 1 Layer 2
480850305302 480850305272
480850305302 480850305281
480850305302 480850305301
480850305302 480850305311
480850305302 480850305271
480850305302 480850305312

Note that in the above example, only the geocodes are output for each geography/shape meeting the type of geospatial relationship. Any filed within either shapefile may be selected for output (e.g., name, demographic-economic field value, etc.)

How it Works — Shp2Shp Operations
The following graphic shows the settings used to develop the map view shown above.

See related section providing details on using the Shp2Shp tool.

Geographic Relationships Supported
The Select Relationships dropdown shown in the above graphic is used to determine what type of spatial relationship is to be used. Options include:
• Equality
• Disjoint
• Intersect
• Touch
• Overlap
• Cross
• Within
• Contains
See more about the DE-9IM topological model used by Shp2Shp.

Try it Yourself

See full details on how you can use any version, including the no fee versin, of CV XE GIS to use the Shp2Shp tools. Here are two examples what you can d. Use any of the geospatial relatoinships. Apply your own queries.

Using Touch Operation
Select the type of geographic operation as Touch. Click Find Matches button. The map view now shows as:

Using Contains Operation
Click RevertAll button. Select the type of geographic operation as Contains. Click Find Matches button. The map view now shows as:

Relating Census Block and School Attendance Zones
The graphic shown below illustrates census blocks intersecting with Joyner Elementary School attendance zone located in Guilford County Schools, NC (see district profile). The attendance zone is shown with bold blue boundary. Joyner ES SAZ intersecting blocks are shown with black boundaries and labeled with Census 2010 total population (item P0010001 as described in table below graphic). Joyner ES is shown with red marker in lower right.


– view developed using CV XE GIS and related GIS project; click graphic for larger view

See more about this application in this related Web section.

Join me in a Data Analytics Lab session to discuss more details about accessing and using wide-ranging demographic-economic data and data analytics. Learn more about using these data for areas and applications of interest.

About the Author
— Warren Glimpse is former senior Census Bureau statistician responsible for 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. Contact Warren. Join Warren on LinkedIn.

Creating Maps & GIS Projects

.. follow these steps to create custom maps & GIS projects .. while maps are “everywhere,” there is a continuing need to make new maps. Reasons for this include changing underlying geography, new features (like stores or customers to be viewed), visually examining geographic relationships not available elsewhere (e.g., census tracts and ZIP codes), different geographic depictions for an area (smoothed versus precise vertices) and other reasons. A map can provide view(s) that relate to geospatial analysis; map visualization can be indispensable (showing road features adjacent to selected properties).

View of Initial Map Objective — University Park, TX; Dallas Metro area
Census tracts (black boundary) shown with census tract code as label.

— view developed using CV XE GIS software

Follow steps in this section to make a map like above for any area in the U.S. This section provides an overview of how to use the CVGIS software to quickly build a map. It is actually more than a map, it is the process of building a GIS project. A map is one rendering that can be displayed, and optionally published, using a GIS project. Map/GIS project development steps reviewed here can be performed using the no fee CVGIS software and no fee data resources, CVGIS Levels 1 and higher can save the GIS project and have additional geography available. With geographic extension, the process illustrated here can work for any place in the world. A GIS project is a file itself that contains references to map files (shapefiles) located on your computer. Once a GIS project has been created and saved, it can be immediately opened with CVGIS using the File>Open operation. After turning your computer off, and restarting it, the GIS project can be re-opened to display the same view as saved in an earlier session.

No Previous GIS/Mapping Experience Required
This section is designed for use by anyone including those with no previous GIS/mapping experience. Requirements are a Windows computer and Internet access. This section is a part of a module used in the Certificate in Data Analytics and the CVGIS Certification Programs. Developers can also benefit from this and related tutorials to learn more about how GIS can be integrated with other data analytics tools and methods.

Making Maps Steps
The objective of this session is to develop a map (and GIS project) to view characteristics of census tract “48113019301”. The first step in making a map (GIS project) is to have a clear objective. This 11 character geocode uniquely identifies this Census 2010 census tract among all other 73,057 tracts in the U.S. See more about census tract geography and geocodes. While this application shows a process for adding only two layers, it could be extended by adding more. Similarly, while this application uses a census tract boundary files (shapefile), alternatives are census blocks, block groups, ZIP code areas, among others.

These steps should take an inexperienced user 10-15 minutes to develop a new CVGIS project view. If anything becomes confused, close the program and start over.
Step 1. Install CVGIS (1/1/2017 or later version)
Step 2. Open Base Project
Step 3. Get Census Tract Shapefile
Step 4. Get Roads Shapefile
Step 5. Modify Map View
Step 6. Optionally Save GIS Project

The view should now be similar to the view at the top of this section.

Next Steps
Try the process yourself with geography of interest to you. View/use other “Creating Maps & GIS Projects” tutorials to learn about:
• integrating subject matter
• developing and using thematic maps
• creating site profiles

Join me in a Data Analytics Lab session to discuss more details about accessing and using wide-ranging demographic-economic data and data analytics. Learn more about using these data for areas and applications of interest.

About the Author
— Warren Glimpse is former senior Census Bureau statistician responsible for 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. Contact Warren. Join Warren on LinkedIn.

ZIP Codes with Highest & Lowest Economic Prosperity

.. the latest data for ZIP Code Areas show that eleven had a median household income of $250,000 or more during the period 2011-15. More than 20 ZIP code areas had a median housing value of $2,000,000 or more. Contrast these ZIP code areas with higher economic prosperity with the more than 150 ZIP codes that had a median housing value of less than $30,000.  Use the interactive table in this related Web section to see which ZIPs meet these and other criteria.

ZIP Codes with MHI $100,000 or More; Dallas, TX Metro
Analyzing economic prosperity patterns using combined types of small area geography … the following graphic shows ZIP code areas a red markers with the median household income or $100,000 or more in context of median household income by census tract thematic pattern. Click graphic for larger view with more detail. Expand browser window for best quality view. Use CV XE GIS software and associated GIS project to develop variations of this view for your areas of interest. .

– view developed with CV XE GIS software.

This section reviews measures of economic prosperity for all ZIP code areas. These data were released in December 2016. This section updates with new data December 2017. See the list of all ZIP ccdes showing population, housing and economic characteristics in the interactive table shown below. Use the interactive table to view, rank, compare and query ZIP code attributes.

Examining demographic-economic characteristics by ZIP code is important for several reasons. We are familiar with our own ZIP codes as a geographic location. We tend to be interested in our area compared to other areas. ZIP codes provide an easy way to do that. Also, many secondary data resources are tabulated by ZIP code area; some important data are only available by ZIP code. See more about ZIP Code areas.

Resources & Methods to Examine Small Area Demographics
• See related ZIP Code Demographic-Economic Interactive Tables
  .. extended subject matter
• See related Census Tract Code Demographic-Economic Interactive Tables
• Examine ZIP Code Urban/Rural Characteristics
• Examine ZIP Code Business Establishment patterns
• Examine ZIP Code Housing Price Index patterns
• Join us in the weekly Data Analytics Lab Sessions
  .. reviewing applications using these and related data.

ZIP Code Areas with $MHI $100,000 or More
The following graphic shows ZIP code areas as red markers having median household income or $100,000 or more. Click graphic for larger view with more detail. Expand browser window for best quality view. Use CV XE GIS software and associated GIS project to develop variations of this view; integrate other data; select alternative ACS 2015 subject matter.

– view developed with CV XE GIS software. Click graphic for larger view.

ZIP Code Areas with $MHV Less than $30,000
The following graphic shows ZIP code areas as orange markers having median housing value of less than $30,000. Click graphic for larger view with more detail. Expand browser window for best quality view. Use CV XE GIS software and associated GIS project to develop variations of this view; integrate other data; select alternative ACS 2015 subject matter.

– view developed with CV XE GIS software. Click graphic for larger view.

ZIP Code Areas: Population & Economic Prosperity
  — Interactive Table –
Use the interactive table to view, rank, compare, query ZIP codes based on a selection of demographic-economic measures. The following graphic illustrates how the table can be used to examine patterns of the three digit ZIP code area (San Diego) by 5-digit ZIP code. Table operations are used to select ZIP codes in the 921 3-digit area (containing 39 5-digit ZIP codes). These 39 ZIP code are then ranked in descending order on median household income. See results in the table shown below. ZIP code 92145 has the highest $MHI in this group with $228.036.

– click graphic for larger view.

Try it yourself. Use the table to examine a set of ZIP codes on your selected criteria in for a state/area of interest.

Join me in a Data Analytics Lab session to discuss more details about accessing and using wide-ranging demographic-economic data and data analytics. Learn more about using these data for areas and applications of interest.

About the Author
— Warren Glimpse is former senior Census Bureau statistician responsible for 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. Contact Warren. Join Warren on LinkedIn.

Examining Health Characteristics by Census Tract

.. new data, new ways to examine health characteristics at the city and census tract/subcounty level.  For example, among the 500 largest U.S. cities in 2014, the incidence of high blood pressure ranged from 22.5% (Longmont, CO) to 47.8% (Gary, IN). Use the interactive table to view, rank, compare this and other new wide-ranging health statistics for the 500 largest U.S. cities and associated census tracts. See the related Web section for more detail.

At the census tract/neighborhood level, 937 tracts have more than 10% of the population ages 18 years and over with coronary heart disease. What are characteristics of health-related factors in your city, neighborhood and census tracts of interest? Use tools reviewed in this section to access/analyze a wide range of health-related characteristics (see items list below) — not available at the city or census tract level before.

Patterns of High Blood Pressure: Honolulu, HI by Census Tract
This graphic illustrates visual analysis and analytical potential for tracts in cities covered.

– Click graphic for larger view with high blood pressure %population label
– View developed with CV XE GIS software and related GIS project/fileset.

Accsss/analyze these data for approximately 28,000 tracts (of a total approximate 74,000) on topics including chronic disease risk factors, health outcomes and clinical preventive service use for the largest 500 cities in the U.S. These small area data enable stakeholders in cities, local health departments, neighborhoods and study areas to better understand the characteristics and geographic distribution of health-related measures and how they might impact health-related programs and other demographic-economic issues.

Scope of 500 Cities
The following graphic shows the 500 cities (green areas) included in project. Data for these cities and intersecting tracts are available. Click graphic for larger view providing county visibility and city name labels. Expand browser to full window for best quality view.

– View developed with CV XE GIS software and related GIS project/fileset.

The 500 Cities data have been developed as a part of the CDC 500 Cities project, a collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the CDC Foundation. These data are being integrated into the Situation & Outlook (S&O) database and included in the S&O metro reports. Examine health-related characteristics of metro cities and drill-down areas in combination with other demographic-economic measures.

Analytical Potential
These data provide only the health characteristics attributes. They are a small, but important, subset of a larger set of key health metrics. These data are estimates subject to errors of estimation and provide a snapshot view of one point in time.

The value of these data can be leveraged by linking them with other demographic-economic data from the American Community Survey (ACS 2015) tract and city data. Integrate and analyze these data with related data and alternative geography. See related health data analytics section.

Patterns of Heart Disease; Charlotte, NC-SC Area by Tract
This graphic illustrates coronary heart disease patterns by census tract for cities included in the database. Gray areas are census tracts not included in the 500 cities database. Click graphic for larger view.
– View developed with CV XE GIS software and related GIS project/fileset.

Using the Interactive Table
Use the interactive table to view, rank, compare, query these health measures by city. The following graphic illustrates how the table can be used to examine patterns of Texas cities. Table operations are used to selected Texas cities then rank the cities based on the “Access” column — “Current lack of health insurance among adults aged 18-64 Years”.

Try it yourself. Use the table to examine a set of cities in a state of interest.

Join me in a Data Analytics Lab session to discuss more details about accessing and using wide-ranging demographic-economic data and data analytics. Learn more about using these data for areas and applications of interest.

About the Author
— Warren Glimpse is former senior Census Bureau statistician responsible for 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. Contact Warren. Join Warren on LinkedIn.

Mapping Census Tract Demographics

.. using visual data analytics and developing business intelligence .. this section provides a 4-step procedure to develop thematic pattern and reference maps for census tracts. The focus of this section is on mapping Census 2010 census tracts using data from the 2014 American Community Survey (ACS2014). A similar set of steps could be followed for Census 2000 tracts with Census 2000 data or Census 2010 tracts with Census 2010 demographics or different vintage ACS data. Steps summarized here can be used with most any Windows-based computer having Internet access. See the related full Web section with more details.

• how do customers and sales relate to market area characteristics?
• is their a better configuration of locations or service areas?
• how can you more effectively examine customer and sales patterns?
• what and where are areas of missed opportunities?

See related sections:
Using GIS & Data Analytics
Mapping Statistical Data

Benefits of this section include providing help for those:
• having a specific interest in mapping census tract demographics.
• with little or no experience in using GIS.
• getting started with CVGIS.

These resources and instructions provide a real, not demo, valuable tool that anyone can use, without fee, to create county by census tract thematic pattern maps. Use any of the “richer” demographic-economic data (not just median household income) from the latest ACS 5-year data (see scope — table shells xls).

The steps described below can be performed with any version of CVGIS, including the no fee version. Start from scratch and develop thematic pattern maps like that shown below. Questions, need help? See the FAQs. Call with questions – 888.364.7656. Or, use this form and put questions in the text section.

While this application is focused on ACS 2014 median household income for Dallas County, TX census tracts, you can follow these steps for other areas and subject matter. In your own applications, choose any ACS subject matter for any county/area of interest. The following view shows the end result of steps described below. Choose your own county of state; choose your own subject matter; select your own colors and labeling; choose your own zoom view; and more. Dallas Metro Situation & Outlook.

Patterns of Economic Prosperity; Dallas County, TX by Tract

Mapping Census Tracts Demographics Steps
These steps should take an inexperienced user 10-15 minutes to develop a new CVGIS project view. Steps can be performed at separate times.
Click on a link to view step-by-step instructions.
1. Install CVGIS
2. Get census tract shapefile
3. Get census tract subject matter data (median household income or other)
4. Create map view(s)

Create your own maps for your own county/tracts for your own subject matter.

Join me in a Data Analytics Lab session to discuss more details about accessing and using wide-ranging demographic-economic data and data analytics. Learn more about using these data for areas and applications of interest.

About the Author
— Warren Glimpse is former senior Census Bureau statistician responsible for 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. Contact Warren. Join Warren on LinkedIn.