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U.S. Census Publications

Getting Started with the Decennial Census

To use the census, you'll need to know two things:
1. The level of geography - including the names/numbers of the specific areas you need.

First, you need to determine the area you need to find census data for. For example, if you're looking for information on San Diego, do you need San Diego county or San Diego city data?

For maps showing census geography names/numbers, see Census 2000 Maps below.

For more information about the levels of geography, see:

* Diagram of census geography
* Introduction to Census 2000 Data Products
* Census 2000 Geographic Terms and Concepts

2. The variables you need.

Next, you need to determine which variables you need.
Census 2000 Population variables
Hispanic or Latino origin
Household relationship
Marital Status
School enrollment and educational attainment
Place of birth, citizenship, & year of entry
Language spoken at home
Migration (residence since 1995)
Veteran status
Labor force status
Occupation, industry, and class of worker
Place of work and journey to work
Work status in 1999
Income in 1999
Grandparents as caregivers

Census 2000 Housing variables
Tenure - owned or rented
Vacancy Characteristics
Value of home or monthly rent paid
Number of units in structure
Number of rooms in unit
Year moved into residence
Number of bedrooms
Plumbing and kitchen facilities
Telephone service
Vehicles available
Heating Fuel
Year structure built
Farm Residence
Utilities, mortgage, taxes, insurance, fuel costs

For more information about Census tables or variables, see:

* Introduction to Census 2000 Data Products Census Bureau
* Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin(PDF) Census Bureau

Posted: 2009-09-30