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PAM 3250/SOC 3250: Neighborhoods, Housing and Urban Policy (Fall 2017): Step 3: Choose your data source

Introduction to using and understanding the US Census and American Community Survey. It includes a Social Explorer tutorial to help you generate data tables and create maps.

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Choose your data source



Which data source do I use?

For this assignment, you will use data from either Census 2010 or the American Community Survey (ACS) (5-year estimates). 

Remember that the 2010 census collected only basic demographic information like age, race/ethinicity, number of people and sex.  For data about other things like poverty, income, household characteristics, employment and occupation, you will have to choose the ACS.
If you are comparing across different geographic levels, from very small (census tract) to very large (United States), it is best to choose the 5-year estimates of the ACS, because 1-year and 3-year estimates will not be available for the small areas like census tract.  When you compare data, it is best practice to use data from the same source, rather than different sources.
For more information about the differences between 1-year, 3-year and 5-year estimates and when to use them, go to this ACS website.

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