Understanding American FactFinder
What is American FactFinder?
American FactFinder is the Census Bureau's primary vehicle for the dissemination of Census 2000 data and maps on the Internet. American Factfinder includes the 1990 and 2000 Census of Population and Housing, the Economic Census, and the American Community Survey.
What can American FactFinder do?
Use American FactFinder to view, print, and download statistics about population, housing, industry, and business. American FactFinder makes it possible to get demographic data about geographic areas as small as neighborhoods or even block level. Using FactFinder, you can also find U.S. Census Bureau products and create reference and thematic maps.
Can I analyze Census data using American FactFinder?
You may conduct limited data analyses or request pre-existing tables online. You may also obtain an extract of the census data in a tabular format and use your own software, such as SPSS or Excel, to analyze the data.
How is Census data organized geographically?
Census geography is divided broadly into two different types: legal and administrative entities, and statistical entities:
Legal/Administrative Entities Include: Congressional Districts, County, Incorporated Place, Minor Civil Division (MCD), State, Nation (totals for the United States), and Voting District (VTD).
Statistical Entities Include: Block Group (BG), Census Block, Census County Divisions (CCD), Census Designated Place (CDP), Census Regions and Divisions, Census Tracts, Metropolitan Area (MA), Public Use Microdata Area (PUMA), Rural, Urban, Urbanized Area, Urban Cluster, and Zip code Tabulation Area (ZCTA).
Go straight to American Factfinder (for more experienced data hounds).
The above link takes you to an Adobe PDF (requires Acrobat Reader) version of the Census Bureau's full description of what the U.S. Census is for, how it is conducted, and what information it contains.