Do you dream of a single source for your data needs? Unfortunately, it doesn’t exist. We’re all stuck in the same “hobbling together data from various sources” boat. However, the REP can help you find the best, most versatile, and user-friendly sources of data. Currently, our resources are slightly California-centric; that’s our service area after all. If you have region-specific resources please share them with us as we would love to broaden our scope. Any suggestions, additions, or comments? Have a great site or article that you want to share? We would love to hear from you! Please use the “Contact the REP” button on the right.
General Data and Demographic Resources
- Site Summary: American FactFinder is the portal to U.S Census Bureau data. Although decennial census data is the most complete, you may be able to find more up-to-date data using the American Community Survey.
- Suggested Uses: Cenus Bureau data can be used for just about anything with the added advantage that citing to a federal agency gives your presentation a unique degree of credibility. One word of caution, American FactFinder has a learning curve. This curve is rather steep if you are learing how to access and compile customized data tables.
- Tips and Tricks:
- By selecting the “custom table” option you can specify the exact datasets that you want to view.
- If you need to perform computations using Census data you should cut and paste dataset outputs into an Excel document and run the calculations using Excel. This will save you a lot of time in the long run, especially if you decide that you want to change your calculations.
- If you are really in a bind and need to do some mapping but don’t have access to a mapping application, you can print a map of census tracts in the desired region and then print data sets for those census tracts. Compare data to the correct census tract to get a picture of patterns in the region. This is a highly inefficient method of last resort.
- Don’t forget that the Census Bureau publishes various comprehensive studies for each decennial Census. These reports are available in the Census Bureau Publications Section.
- Site Summary: The Bureau of Labor Statistics is the principal fact-finding agency for the Federal Government in the field of labor economics and statistics. The site includes an overview of major data collection activities and presents data findings. The site has links to additional sources of labor information.
- Suggested Uses: Labor statistics.
- Site Summary: The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation publishes a variety of reports that range from statistical summaries of its offender populations to evaluation research reports on innovative rehabilitative treatment programs. Of particular interest, Adult Operations (formerly CDC) Population Reports and Statistics contain extensive data on characteristics of the institution and parole populations, historical trends, summaries of population movements and parole outcome (including recidivism).
- Suggested Uses: Looking for prison population or demographic reports? Searching for parole population or demographic reports? You will find them here.
- Site Summary: Comprehensive data and statistics collected from California schools and learning support resources.
- Suggested Uses: Offering broader data than Ed-Data but with a less user-friendly interface, this site is suggested for complex data needs. The site contains various reports including state-wide testing results in Excel format. Still can’t find what you need? Take a look at the at the Data Resource Guide which allows users to generate custom reports on school, district, county or state levels for a variety of attributes such as race, free lunch, and LEP status.
- Site Summary: California advocates, your race and health data needs have been answered! CHIS requires registration to access its services. Registration is free and well worth the 2 minutes of your time. CHIS provides data on hundreds of health topics, allows for customizable population and geographic searches and downloadable search results in Excel format. Don’t forget that you can use Excel data in ArcGis.
- Suggested Uses: Any statistical or demographic data needed for health advocacy in California.
- Site Summary: The California Secretary of State is responsible for producing a statistical reports detailing voter registration levels throughout California several times per year.
- Suggested Uses: The data available here can help you measure and compare civic involvement in California communities.
- Site Summary: Brought to you by the University of Michigan Social Science Data Analyis Network, CensusScope is an easy-to-use analysis tool for denecial census data. CensusScope allows you to make trend graphs, charts, and maps using decenial census data. CensusScope also provides “dissimilarity” indexes for most metropolitan areas.
- Suggested Uses: CensusScope is a good resource for creating graphs and charts using census data. If you need information on areas outside of California this is a good source. If you need more control over data you may decide to use the custom tables function of American FactFinder instead.
- Site Summary: The C.D.C. Office of Minority Health seeks to increase minority health wellness and awareness. Demographic data on African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Latino, Native Hawaiin, Pacific Islander and Multiracial populations are available.
- Suggested Uses: The site has a national perspective and is a good source of general information about various populations and health issues. A useful source for data to support community outreach and education.
- Site Summary: This is a database on 77 American cities and suburbs. The database brings together over 3,000 variables from a wide variety of sources, allowing easy comparability of indicators on employment and economic development, demographic measures, housing and land-use, income and poverty, fiscal conditions, and a host of other health, social, and environmental indicators.
- Suggested Uses: Any data need related to a covered city or metropolitan area.
- Site Summary: The website was created “to increase public access to high value, machine readable datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government.” Users can search the vast Data.gov catalog by category (Income, Expenditures, Poverty and Wealth; Law Enforcement Court and Prisons, etc.) and/or agency (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Department of Defense, for example). The site offers two ways to access data: 1) the raw data catalog consisting of instant view/download of platform-independent, machine readable datasets in a variety of formats, and 2) a Tool Catalog with application-driven access to Federal data with hyperlinks and featuring data-mining and extraction tools and other services.
- Suggested Uses: This is a a great federal information “one stop” for data-philes and newbies alike.
- Site Summary: A comprehensive source for data and statistics on government benefits and their consumer populations
- Suggested Uses: We like the food stamp, children’s benefits, and the disability and adult program statistics.
- Site Summary: Fiscal, demographic, and performance data on California’s K-12 schools.
- Suggested Uses: If you need California specific education data this is the place to go.
- Site Summary: The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) provides public loan data that can be used, among other things, to assist (1) in determining whether financial institutions are serving the housing needs of their communities and (2) in identifying discriminatory lending patterns. FFIEC produces aggregate tables for each metropolitan statistical area (MSA) or metropolitan division (MD), and individual institution disclosure reports.
- Suggested Uses: Aggregate tables of home mortgage lending activity and disclosure reports from 1999 through 2005 are available on this site. FFIEC also provides limited data products, including TS and LAR raw data software and Census data. Paper data products may be requested.
- Site Summary: Healthy City offers perhaps the most comprehensive access to community resources, demographic/health data, and cutting edge online GIS mapping technology that the REP has ever seen.
- Suggested Uses: If you have any mapping or data analysis needs in California and are not adverse to free, powerful, user-friendly online mapping and data analysis tools, then Healthy City is for you.
- Site Summary: This dataset describes the 5 million households living in HUD-subsidized housing in the United States for the year 2008. The dataset provides characteristics of assisted housing units and residents, summarized at the national, state, public housing agency (PHA), project, and census tract levels. Picture 2008 also includes summary data for Metropolitan Statistical Areas and cities. Best of all, you can create custom queries of the Picture 2008 data by geography and by HUD program, and retrieve exactly the data you need.
- Suggested Uses: This is the best source of data on HUD subsidized rental units that we know of. The REP is particularly intrigued by how this data can be used in ArcGIS. Take a look at our demonstration map using this data.
- Site Summary: This is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education.
- Suggested Uses: Need information on public schools? This is the place to get it. The REP particularly likes the School District Demographic System.
- Site Summary: This site provides quick and easy access to the wide range of information and data available from the National Center on Health Statistics. It includes an overview of major data collection activities and presents data findings. The site has links to additional sources of health information.
- Suggested Uses: There are so many health statistic here that we don’t know where to begin. The site provides access to NHANES, NHCS, NHIS, NIS, LSOAs, NSFG, and SLAITS data.
- Site Summary: The California Attorney General collects, analyzes, and reports statistical data, which provide valid measures of crime and the criminal justice process to government and the citizens of California.
This site contains more than 5,000 statistical tables, 59 reports, 29 publications, links to federal state, and local agency statistics, and links to other criminal statistics services.
- Suggested Uses: Do you need arrest, domestic violence, or crime statistics for California? This is the place to go.
- Site Summary: The Mission of Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) is to promote healthcare accessibility through leadership in analyzing California’s healthcare infrastructure, promoting a diverse and competent healthcare workforce, providing information about healthcare outcomes, assuring the safety of buildings used in providing healthcare, insuring loans to encourage the development of healthcare facilities, and facilitating development of sustained capacity for communities to address local healthcare issues.
- Suggested Uses: The REP found the statistics on the disparities along racial and ethnic lines regarding quality of hospitals particularly useful.
- Site Summary: Philadelphia NIS is a web-based property and social indicators information system used by city agencies and community based organizations throughout Philadelphia. NIS users research individual properties, run queries to locate comparables, plan, site, and evaluate housing development programs, and study neighborhood conditions with user-defined maps, charts, and reports.
- Suggested Uses: Any data or mapping need for the city of Philadelphia.
- Site Summary:The mission of the California Rural Health Policy Council (RHPC) is to formulate and establish rural health policy for the State of California and to provide a focal point for discussion of rural health issues within the California Health and Human Services Agency.
- Suggested Uses: A good site for California rural population demographics and rural access to healthcare services information.
- Site Summary: ERS conducts research in five major areas: (1) a competitive agricultural system; (2) a safe food supply; (3) a healthy, well-nourished population; (4) harmony between agriculture and the environment; (5) an enhanced quality of life for rural Americans
- Suggested Uses: The REP doubts that you will ever need the US Carrot Statistics or the Hamburger Doneness and Consumer Preferences, however. ERS also offers access to a bevy of more germane data related to health, poverty, and food including Food Security statistics.
- Site Summary: This site provides comprehensive transportation statistics for geographic areas within the United States.
- Suggested Uses: Access to public transportation and the effectiveness of the available public transportation is an effective indicator for issues ranging from access to medical care providers to environmental justice to access to employment opportunities.
2000 Census Data & Data Extraction Tools
American Factfinder, although useful for the casual user, cannot meet the demands of advanced Census data users. In the end, most advanced users who cannot afford user-friendly proprietary data collections will find themselves at the Bureau’s ftp site.
Up until mid-2007, many data freaks went through all sort of complicated machinations to obtain the data that they wanted at the right summary level from the Bureau’s FTP datasets. No more! Professor Ralston has rescued us from the morass of Access templates and tedious American FactFinder mass data requests by providing GISTools freeware.
What are they: Professor Ralston developed four programs that allow people to easily obtain Census 2000 data from the SF1-SF4 files for any summary level (i.e. block, tract, city, county, state, etc.)
- When do I use them: The REP suggests using these tools if you need Census 2000 data for presentations, research, or mapping. They are particularly helpful if you need data at the block group or block summary level.
- How do I use them: These tools are super user-friendly. Step 1: Download the zip files containing the Census 2000 data from the Bureau’s ftp site. Step 2: Download the appropriate file for your data. There is one geo file for SF1-SF4 files for each state. It’s normally at the very bottom of the folder with the zip files for the summary file. For instance, at the bottom of the folder for California SF1 data there is a file named cageo_uf1.zip. Step 3: Download the tool. There is a different program for each summary file (i.e. 1-4). Step 4: Follow the instructions in the user manual that is available for download from the same site that you got the program from.
NOTE: The Sacramento SF3 dataset at the Block Group summary level has been removed from this site. That dataset and similar datasets are now easily obtainable using GISTools.
Print, PDF and Excel Resources
Asset Policy Initiative of CaliforniaWealth Data Inventory (2004)
- Summary: This inventory is designed to help you find compelling facts for speeches, op-ed pieces, or other advocacy efforts. Detailed footnotes with citations are provided for each data point.
California Association of Realtors, California Housing Market Data.
- Summary: The California Housing Market Data provides an array of housing related data including the California Association of Realtor’s “Housing Affordibality Index.” This source is particularly useful in housing advocacy because CAR figures are likely to withstand challenge as they are produced by a development association. The summary provides state, county, and metropolitan area data for the last twenty years.
Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Race and Poverty in California: Census 2000 Profiles (2002)
- Summary: Comprehensive review of the 2000 decennial census data in terms of race and poverty in California. This may be the most comprehensive analysis of 2000 census data in terms of race and poverty for California.
National Association of Home Builders & Wells Fargo, NAHB-Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (released quarterly)
- Summary: The housing opportunity index (HOI) is released quarterly for national, regional, and metropolitan areas. The index details the share of homes in an area that would have been affordable to family with the area median income. Extensive documentation of the HOI methodology is provided and data sets are available in Excel format.
Clara E. Rodriguez, Changing Race: Latinos, the Census, and the History of Ethnicity in the United States, New York University Press (2000)
- Summary: Baffled by how Latinos are counted in the Census? Not sure what the category White Hispanic or Latino is? Do you feel a nagging insecurity every time you derive the Latino population by subtracting White Non-Hispanic category from the White Alone category? This book will answer your questions.
Neil Smelser, William J. Wilson, Faith Mitchel, eds., America Becoming: Racial Trends and Their Consequences, National Academy Press (2001)
- Summary: America Becoming presents up-to-date findings and analysis on racial and social dynamics. It examines issues in the field of race relations, including: race and ethnicity in criminal justice; demographic and social trends for Hispanics, Asian Americans, and Native Americans; trends in minority-owned businesses; wealth, welfare, and racial stratification; residential segregation and the meaning of “neighborhood”; disparities in educational test scores among races and ethnicities; health and development for minority children, adolescents, and adults; race and ethnicity in the labor market, including the role of minorities in America’s military; immigration and the dynamics of race and ethnicity; the changing meaning of race; and changing racial attitudes. Volume 1 specifically covers demographic trends, immigration, racial attitudes, and the geography of opportunity.
The Urban Institute, A National Report Card on Discrimination in America (1998)
- Summary: This piece examines discrimination in employment, housing, and consumer rights using a wealth of data. A good source to extract cites from.
Please share your data and demographic resources. Whether these resources are in the form of a map, a presentation, or an Excel file, sharing resources allows us to maximize our collective impact. We can make documents available for general or restricted release according to your preference. If you have a data issue that you can’t resolve, let us know. We may have something to help in our restricted-release document cache. Please include your name, organization, position, and a description of the type of information needed and for what purpose it will be used. We will try our best to assist you.