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Statistical Data: Small Areas

Sources of statistical data.


Selected sources of nationwide statistics for geographical areas smaller than State, including County, Census Tract, Block Group, Block, County Subdivision (towns in New England), Place (city, etc.), metropolitan areas, School District, ZIP Code, etc.

Guides to statistics for small geographical areas

Finding Data for My Community, Census Bureau

Standard Hierarchy of Census Geographic Entities, Census Bureau

Creating a Health Profile of Your Neighborhood: A How-To Guide, Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Guide to State and Local Workforce Data, Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, Office of Workforce Investment, 2010

2010 Census Geography

Compendia, Census Bureau
"The Census Bureau is the leading source of quality data about the nation's people and economy." Examples of datasets providing data for small areas:

  • Block: Decennial Census.
  • Block Group, Census Tract, County Subdivision: American Community Survey, Decennial Census.
  • County: American Community Survey, Decennial Census, EEO Tabulation, Population Estimates, Business Patterns, Economic Census, Nonemployer Statistics, Survey of Business Owners.
  • Place: American Community Survey, Decennial Census, EEO Tabulation.
  • Economic Place: Economic Census, Survey of Business Owners.
  • ZCTA: American Community Survey, Decennial Census.
  • ZIP Code: Business Patterns, Economic Census.

Click on a geographical area on the Census Bureau's Standard Hierarchy of Census Geographic Entities to see what data are available for that geography.

Census Explorer, Census Bureau
State, metropolitan area, County, and Census Tract, depending on the dataset.

ICPSR (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research) maintains a data archive of more than 500,000 files of research in the social and behavioral sciences. It hosts 16 specialized collections of data in education, aging, criminal justice, substance abuse, terrorism, and other fields. Commonly used datasets include General Social Survey, American National Election Study, National Election Study, U.S. Census, etc.

Social Explorer
Access to current and historical census data and demographic information. Including more than 18,000 interactive maps from 1790 to 2010. US Census 1790-2010. American Community Survey 2005-2015. "Specialized U.S. data resources include the FBI Uniform Crime Report (2010 to 2015), American election results (1912 to 2016), Religious Congregations and Membership Study (1980 and 2010), Vulcan Project carbon emissions data (2002), US Business Patterns (2014), and County Health Rankings and Roadmaps Program data (2010 to 2016). International data resources include the United Kingdom Census (2011), Canadian Census (2011), Eurostat (1990, 2000, 2010 to 2013), World Development Indicators (2013), and Irish religion and population data (1911 and 2001)." Some data are available down to the Block Group or Block levels. Dates of Coverage: 1790-Present.

Statistical Abstract of the United States
An authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. Statistics for small-area geographics are limited and include only the larger small areas. Even if the data that you want are not there, look at the footnotes or source notes for relevant tables for pointers to more comprehensive sources, often having more detailed or comprehensive statistics.

State and Metropolitan Area Data Book
"A convenient summary of statistics on the social and economic structure of the states, metropolitan areas, and micropolitan areas in the United States".
| 1979 | 1982 | 1986 | 1991 | 1997-98 | 2006 | 2010 |
Look for other copies of those editions at Internet Archive or HathiTrust.

County and City Data Book
"A convenient summary of statistics on the social and economic structure of the counties and cities of the United States".
| 1944 (city only) | 1947 (county only) | 1949 | 1952 | 1956 | 1962 | 1967 | 1972 | 1977 | 1983 | 1988 | 1994 | 2000 | 2007 |
Look for other copies of those editions at Internet Archive or HathiTrust.

USA Counties
"The database for USA Counties features over 6,000 items. [...] Files contain a collection of data from the U.S. Census Bureau and other federal agencies, such as the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Social Security Administration."

Historical data
Market Data Handbook of the United States, 1929, C 18.28:30
General Consumer Market Statistics, 1932, C 18.28:56. States, counties.
Consumer Market Data Handbook, 1936, C 18.41:15. States, counties, cities.
Consumer Market Data Handbook, 1939, C 18.28:102. States, counties, cities.
Industrial Market Data Handbook of the United States, 1939, C 18.28:107. States, counties.
County basic data sheet, 1945. States, counties.

Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America, Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service
"View the diversity of challenges and opportunities across America's Counties. View indicators about people, jobs, veterans, and county types. The Atlas has been updated to include 2016 county population estimates and annual unemployment/employment data." "The Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America assembles statistics on three broad categories of socioeconomic factors:

  • People: Demographic data from the latest American Community Survey, including age, race and ethnicity, migration and immigration, education, household size and family composition. Data on veterans, including service period, education, unemployment, income, and demographic characteristics are also available.
  • Jobs: Economic data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other sources, including information on employment trends, unemployment, industrial composition, and household income.
  • County classifications: The rural-urban continuum, economic dependence, persistent poverty, persistent child poverty, population loss, onshore oil/natural gas counties, and other ERS county typology codes."

Geographic codes, attributes, and classifications, Census Bureau

Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service

  • County Typology Codes, "The 2015 County Typology Codes classify all U.S. Counties according to six mutually exclusive categories of economic dependence and six overlapping categories of policy-relevant themes. The economic dependence types include farming, mining, manufacturing, Federal/State government, recreation, and nonspecialized counties. The policy-relevant types include low education, low employment, persistent poverty, persistent child poverty, population loss, and retirement destination."
  • Creative Class County Codes, "The creative class thesis—that towns need to attract engineers, architects, artists, and people in other creative occupations to compete in today's economy—may be particularly relevant to rural communities, which tend to lose much of their talent when young adults leave. The ERS creative class codes indicate a County's share of population employed in occupations that require "thinking creatively." Variables used to construct the ERS creative class measure include number and percent employed in creative class occupations and a metro/nonmetro indicator for all counties, 1990, 2000, and 2007-11. A break-out of employment in the arts is included."
  • Natural Amenities Scale, "The natural amenities scale County-based measure of the physical characteristics of an area that enhance the location as a place to live. The scale was constructed by combining six measures of climate, topography, and water area that reflect environmental qualities most people prefer."
  • Rural-Urban Continuum Codes, "The 2013 Rural-Urban Continuum Codes form a classification scheme that distinguishes metropolitan counties by the population size of their metro area, and nonmetropolitan counties by degree of urbanization and adjacency to metro areas. The official Office of Management and Budget (OMB) metro and nonmetro categories have been subdivided into three metro and six nonmetro categories. Each County in the U.S. and Puerto Rico is assigned one of the 9 codes."
  • Urban Influence Codes, "The 2013 Urban Influence Codes form a classification scheme that distinguishes metropolitan counties by population size of their metro area, and nonmetropolitan counties by size of the largest city or town and proximity to metro and micropolitan areas. The standard Office of Management and Budget (OMB) metro and nonmetro categories have been subdivided into two metro and 10 nonmetro categories, resulting in a 12-part County classification."
  • Rural-Urban Commuting Area Codes, "The rural-urban commuting area codes (RUCA) classify U.S. Census Tracts using measures of urbanization, population density, and daily commuting. The latest RUCA codes are based on data from the 2010 decennial census and the 2006-10 American Community Survey."

Qualified Census Tracts and Difficult Development Areas,
"Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Qualified Census Tracts must have 50 percent of households with incomes below 60 percent of the Area Median Gross Income (AMGI) or have a poverty rate of 25 percent or more. Difficult Development Areas (DDA) are designated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and are based on Fair Market Rents, income limits, the 2010 census counts, and 2006–10 5-year American Community Survey data when they become available."

Socio-economic statistics

Dept. of Education, National Center for Education Statistics

  • Common Core of Data (CCD), "The Department of Education's primary database on public elementary and secondary education in the United States. CCD is a comprehensive, annual, national database of all public elementary and secondary schools and School Districts."
  • Education Demographic and Geographic Estimates (EDGE), "The Education Demographic and Geographic Estimates (EDGE) program develops information resources to identify and understand the social and spatial context of education in the U.S. It uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to create custom indicators of social, economic, and housing conditions for school-age children and their parents. It also uses spatial data collected by NCES and the Census Bureau to create geographic locale indicators, school point locations, school district boundaries, and other types of educational geography to support spatial analysis." Data are available down to the School District level.

Dept. of Agriculture, Economic Research Service

  • County-level Data Sets, Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service
    "County level population change, poverty rates, education level, and employment levels/unemployment rates/median household income." Data from Decennial Census, American Community Survey, Small Area Income and Poverty Estimate (SAIPE), County Population Estimates, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS).

Dept. of Housing and Urban Development

  • State of the Cities Data Systems (SOCDS). Demographic and economic characteristics of the population, unemployment rates, jobs, business establishments, and average pay, violent and property crime rates, local building permits, HMDA data, city and suburban government finances for County, Metropolitan Area, Central City, and Suburbs.
  • U.S. Housing Market Conditions, State, County, MSA, Metro Division.
  • Assisted Housing: National and Local, Data available for: CBSA, Public Housing Agency, Project, Census Tract, City, County, Congressional District.
  • Neighborhood Stabilization Program, "HUD's Neighborhood Stabilization Program provides emergency assistance to state and local governments to acquire and redevelop foreclosed properties that might otherwise become sources of abandonment and blight within their communities." Data are available for County, Place, Census Tract, Block Group (part).
  • Small Area Fair Market Rents. Fair Market Rents available for: ZIP Code within Metropolitan Area or within County.
  • Special Tabulations of Households by Income, Tenure, Age of Householder, and Housing Conditions. Data available for State, CBSA, MSA, PMSA, County, Place.
  • Consolidated Planning/CHAS Data, "Each year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) receives custom tabulations of American Community Survey (ACS) data from the U.S. Census Bureau. These data, known as the "CHAS" data (Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy), demonstrate the extent of housing problems and housing needs, particularly for low income households. The CHAS data are used by local governments to plan how to spend HUD funds, and may also be used by HUD to distribute grant funds." Data available for State, County, MCD, Place.

Employment, unemployment, income, wages, poverty

Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau

  • Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE)
    "Single-year estimates of income and poverty for all U.S. States and Counties as well as estimates of school-age children in poverty for all 13,000+ School Districts."
  • Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD)
    "LEHD makes available several data products that may be used to research and characterize workforce dynamics for specific groups."
    • "The Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI) are a set of economic indicators including employment, job creation, earnings, and other measures of employment flows. The QWI are reported based on detailed firm characteristics (geography, industry, age, size) and worker demographics information (sex, age, education, race, ethnicity) and are available tabulated to National*, State, Metropolitan/Micropolitan Areas, County, and Workforce Investment Board (WIB) areas."
    • LEHD Origin-Destination Employment Statistics (LODES) is used by OnTheMap, a "web-based mapping and reporting application that shows where workers are employed and where they live. It also provides companion reports on age, earnings, industry distributions, race, ethnicity, educational attainment, and sex." It "displays workplace and residential distributions by user-defined geographies at Census Block level detail."

Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

  • Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)
    "Monthly and annual employment, unemployment, and labor force data for Census Regions and Divisions, States, Counties, Metropolitan Areas, and many Cities, by place of residence."
  • Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW)
    "Quarterly count of employment and wages reported by employers covering more than 95 percent of U.S. jobs, available at the County, MSA, State and National levels by industry."

Dept. of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service

  • SOI Tax Stats Archive - 1959 to 1974 Individual Income Tax Returns by Small Area
    "Reports for 1966 and 1969 present data by ZIP Code. Reports for 1959/60/61, 1972 and 1974 present data by County."

Health statistics

Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE), Census Bureau
"The only source of data for single-year estimates of health insurance coverage status for all Counties in the U.S. by selected economic and demographic characteristics."

500 Cities: Local Data for Better Health, Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
"City- and Census Tract-level small area estimates for chronic disease risk factors, health outcomes, and clinical preventive service use for the largest 500 cities in the United States."

CDC WONDER, Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Some of the databases provide data at the level of Metropolitan Area or County.

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
"The nation's premier system of health-related telephone surveys that collect state data about U.S. residents regarding their health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services." "Find City and County data collected through the Selected Metropolitan/Micropolitan Area Risk Trends (SMART) project, the Web Enabled Analysis Tool (WEAT), interactive maps, and other resources provided through BRFSS."

County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
"The annual County Health Rankings measure vital health factors, including high school graduation rates, obesity, smoking, unemployment, access to healthy foods, the quality of air and water, income inequality, and teen births in nearly every County in America. "

National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
"The National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (Tracking Network) [...] has data and information on environments and hazards, health effects, and population health." Data by State, County.

Food-related statistics

Food Environment Atlas, Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service
The Atlas assembles statistics on three broad categories of food environment factors:

  • Food Choices—Indicators of the community's access to and acquisition of healthy, affordable food, such as: access and proximity to a grocery store; number of foodstores and restaurants; expenditures on fast foods; food and nutrition assistance program participation; food prices; food taxes; and availability of local foods.
  • Health and Well-Being—Indicators of the community's success in maintaining healthy diets, such as: food insecurity; diabetes and obesity rates; and physical activity levels.
  • Community Characteristics—Indicators of community characteristics that might influence the food environment, such as: demographic composition; income and poverty; population loss; metro-nonmetro status; natural amenities; and recreation and fitness centers.

The Atlas currently includes over 275 indicators of the food environment. The year and geographic level of the indicators vary to better accommodate data from a variety of sources. Indicators are at the County, Regional, and/or State level. The most recent county-level data are used whenever possible.

Food Access Research Atlas (formerly the Food Desert Locator), Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service
"Presents a spatial overview of food access indicators for low-income and other census tracts using different measures of supermarket accessibility; provides food access data for populations within Census Tracts; and offers Census-Tract-level data on food access that can be downloaded for community planning or research purposes."

Other statistics

U.S. Population Migration Data, 1991-2016, Internal Revenue Service
"Migration data for the United States are based on year-to-year address changes reported on individual income tax returns filed with the IRS. They present migration patterns by State or by County for the entire United States and are available for inflows-the number of new residents who moved to a State or county and where they migrated from, and outflows-the number of residents leaving a State or county and where they went."

CQ Voting and Elections Collection
A database of elections data, authoritative analyses, concise explanations, and historical materials to help researchers investigate and understand voting and elections in America from 1789-present. Small-area geographies include County and Congressional District.

Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI) Census Block Groups (2000), NOAA Office for Coastal Management
"The Social Vulnerability Index (SOVI) measures the social vulnerability of U.S. counties to environmental hazards. The index is a comparative metric that helps users examine differences in social vulnerability among counties. SOVI graphically illustrates the geographic variation in social vulnerability. It is a valuable tool for policy makers and practitioners because it shows differences in capacity for preparedness and response, as well as areas where resources might be used most effectively to reduce vulnerability. SOVI is also useful as an indicator in determining the level of recovery from disasters. Through a partnership with the University of South Carolina (USC) and funding via South Carolina Sea Grant and the NOAA Office for Coastal Management, the SOVI method has now been applied to Census 2000 Block Groups for all coastal states, providing a more detailed look at a community's social vulnerability."

FFIEC Census and Demographic Data (Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council)
"To support the collection, reporting, and analysis of HMDA and CRA data, the FFIEC publishes certain census, income, and Metropolitan Area data for geographies. The FFIEC geography-based data are updated as required by changes in area delineations by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Because these data are updated periodically by the FFIEC, the FFIEC data may differ from data obtained directly from the Census Bureau. These data are intended to be used with HMDA and CRA data only and may not be suitable for other analytical purposes." Data available for: Metropolitan and Non-Metropolitan Area, County, Census Tract.

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