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Census Data Resources: Make Maps, Reports and Data Extracts

Guide to (mostly online) resources for manipulating and extracting Census data.

It's Easy to Make Census Maps Online

Chapel Hill - Durham - Raleigh Health Insurance Coverage by County, 2019

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This map was created with ArcGIS Online. Interactive maps are easy to make and can be shared or embedded in websites. The Demographics and Lifestyle group provides ready-made datasets you can use to make easy interactive maps. See the ArcGIS Online documentation to get started.

Map From Social Explorer: 2010 Population Density by Census Tract

You can make a single map, side by side or swipe map of a variety of census demographic information for webpages and presentations in Social Explorer. Simple instructions for using Social Explorer map tools can be found here.

How to Cite These Resources


For more information see our guide:

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How to evaluate which tool to use

Social Explorer is the easiest tool to use but other tools may be more appropriate in certain circumstances.

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  • What year do you need?
Answer has only the most recent years of its surveys; Social Explorer has all.

  • What geography do you need?
Answer has all available geographies; Social Explorer has the most common ones.

  • Which variable(s) do you need?
Answer has all available variables; Social Explorer doesn’t have variables that involve some suppression.

  • Are the pre-fabricated tables sufficient or do you need to create your own?

Only Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) tools* allow you to create your own, such as the Bureau's /mdat/ tool or IPUMS USA.

  • Do you need to make a map without using GIS?

Social Explorer has this capability.  (Note, the Maps interface has fewer variables than the Tables interface.)

  • Do you need microdata?

Access PUMS data* either through the Census Bureau's /mdat/ tool, or through IPUMS USA. (Only available geographies are public use microdata areas [PUMAs, 100,000 people minimum], super-PUMAs [500,000 people minimum] or higher levels of geography, e.g., states.) Another option is to apply to use the Triangle Census Research Data Center through the Carolina Population Center, but this is a long-term process—six months or more.

  • What data do you need?
Answer has most of the (current) Bureau surveys; Social Explorer has a wider variety of datasets (including some non-U.S. ones); /mdat/* has the Current Population Survey (but not its full history).  IPUMS offers all years of the decennial Census and ACS, and the CPS back to 1962.


*If you need to use microdata and need assistance, contact the Librarian for Numeric Data Services and Data Management.