The Census Bureau has one of the most valuable and densely-packed web sites you’ll encounter. You’ll constantly find new information there that will amaze you with its obscurity and level of detail. Below are some of my favorite Census Bureau pages.
- First and foremost is American FactFinder, which includes annual American Community Survey data. It’s the best place to get estimates since the last decennial census was undertaken. You definitely should familiarize yourself with how to navigate this!
- State and County QuickFacts provides easy access via a map for a quick look at some broad statistics for states, counties and cities.
- Facts for Features & Special Editions consist of collections of statistics from the Census Bureau’s demographic and economic subject areas intended to commemorate anniversaries or observances or to provide background information for topics in the news.
Additionally, some excellent “third party” sites aggregate Census Bureau data. Below are a few of my favorites in that category.
- The New York City Department of City Planning’s population page has some useful resources, including American Community Survey data and a map delineating Community Districts and Census Bureau PUMAs.
- Infoshare Online and Social Explorer are two subscription sources we have. Take advantage of CUNY access!
- The University of Virginia Library has a great Historical Census Browser with data from 1790 to 1960. Need slave and slaveholder statistics? (Ugh.) This is one place to easily find them.
- Last but not least, check out the All Things Census blog from the Pew Research Center.
Opinion polls are also a great way to detect trends in the population. When most people think of polls, they think of political polling, but there’s much more to be found.
- Polling Report is an aggregator of polls from major sources, arranged by subject.
- Gallup and Harris are two reputable sources that conduct polls on a variety of topics.
- The Pew Research Center has several polling related sites, including People & the Press, Social & Demographic Trends, Global Attitudes Project, Internet & American Life and Religion & Public Life, with the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey.
- Speaking of religion, there are good polls done by the Public Religion Research Institute, Barna Group (Christian polling firm…see “topics” sections) and American Jewish Committee. The 2008 American Religious Identification Survey is also worth noting, however outdated. And the Association of Religion Data Archives has aggregated some older surveys too.
- The Quinnipiac University Polling Institute conducts New York City polls.
Warnings about polls: Many times there are concerns about the credibility or methodology of a pollster, so be cautious of sources. Also remember that polls always have a margin of error, which you should cite. Here are 20 questions journalists should ask about poll results.