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Census - Getting Started

The U.S. Census Bureau is one of the most prolific statistical publishers in the world. It does far more than merely count people every ten years. Census Bureau publications cover wide arrays of topics from income, poverty, and housing characteristics to computer use. Other federal agencies regularly contract with the Census Bureau to conduct surveys on their behalf. Examples include the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Center for Health Statistics.

Getting Started

Frequently Used Sites Relating to Government Information: Census (American Library Association. Government Documents Round Table. Federal Documents Task Force (FDTF))

A wide range of topics cover:

  • Starting Points
  • Indexes and Directories
  • Government Agencies
  • Government Publications
  • Reference
  • Research Centers and Other
  • Educational Sites
  • Statistics
  • Other Sites
  • Academic Data Centers
  • Census 2000 Data Sites
  • Census 2000 Help Sites
  • Census 2010
  • Historical Census Data
  • Major Censuses and Their Data Sets
  • Minorities
  • News and Media Sites
  • Other Censuses

U.S. Census Bureau

Several sections of the Census Bureau home page facilitate access to statistics.

  • About US
    Describes what the Census Bureau does, who works there, policies and notices, plans and budgets, and contact information.
  • Bureau of the Census Catalog of Publications
    Lockwood Documents US C3.163/3-2:790-972
    Lockwood Documents US C3.163/3:year (1973-1998)
    A two part catalog covers publications issued between 1790-1945 and 1946-1972.  Additional annual catalogs deal with 1946-1998.
  • Publications
    Reproduces Census Bureau publications in PDF format. Organization is by broad topics, including agriculture; business and economic census; construction and housing; foreign trade; reference materials; government; population; Statistical Abstracts ; transportation; and technical documentation and methodological papers. See also:
  • Statistical Abstract of the United States
    Lockwood Reference Desk HA 202 year (most recent copy)
    Lockwood HA 202 (1894+ with gaps; 1946+ 2012 with gaps)
    Lockwood Documents US C3.134: (1970+2012 with gaps)
    CD-ROM available on Lockwood Reference computer
    Capen Multimedia Center MicFiche HA195 .U5 1972 fiche 3095-96 (1878-1945)
    The Statistical Abstract is the single most significant reference source that summarizes U.S. statistics. All tables are well documented enabling users to easily refer to the original sources for further information. The Web version is comparable to the printed copy. Use the CD-ROM version to access the identical tables, plus enhanced spreadsheet files and links to agency home pages.  The Census Bureau discontinued publication due to budget cuts.  ProQuest will publish it in paper and online beginning with the 2013 edition. 
  • Subjects A to Z
    An alphabetical list of hundreds of topics on which the Census Bureau publishes information. When appropriate, links lead to other agencies.


Census Geography

Understanding how the Census Bureau defines geographies is key to using census statistics successfully. Consult Census Geography and Maps at for a brief overview and links to additional information.

Censuses of Population and Housing

Census 2010 (State University at Buffalo. Arts and Sciences Libraries)
UB librarians recommend what they consider the best sources about the 2010 Census of Population and Housing.

Census 2000 (State University at Buffalo. Arts and Sciences Libraries)
UB librarians recommend what they consider the best sources about the 2000 Census of Population and Housing.

Current statistics (Quick links) (State University at Buffalo. Arts and Sciences Libraries)
Links to ready-reference statistics.

Demography: Selected Handbooks and Encyclopedias (State University at Buffalo. Arts and Sciences Libraries)
Provides comprehensive coverage of demographic handbooks, guides, encyclopedic materials and selected data sources.

Historical Census Data (State University at Buffalo. Arts and Sciences Libraries)

International Population Data (State University at Buffalo. Arts and Sciences Libraries)

Local Data (NYS and Local Areas) (State University at Buffalo. Arts and Sciences Libraries)

Public Use Microdata Samples (State University at Buffalo. Arts and Sciences Libraries)

American Community Survey

American Community Survey (ACS) (State University at Buffalo. Arts and Sciences Libraries)
Describes American Community Survey basics, provides selected information beyond the basics, and links to data sources.

Other Censuses and Surveys

Census of Agriculture (U.S. Department of Agriculture. National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS))
NASS conducts the Census of Agriculture every 5 years ending with 2 and 7 (e.g., 2002, 2007). Organization of data are by states and counties. Consult the Agriculture subject guide prepared by UB librarians for additional information. ( )

Census of Governments (U.S. Census Bureau. Governments Division)
The Census Bureau conducts the Census of Governments every 5 years ending with 2 and 7 (e.g., 2002, 2007). Selected topics cover government organization; public employment and payrolls; finances; public employee retirement systems; tax collections; expenditures of state and local governments, and school districts. See Government Budgets, Finances, Expenditures, and Employment , a subject guide prepared by UB librarians, for additional data about government revenues and expenditures. ( )

Commuting (Journey to Work) (U.S. Census Bureau)
Measures people who commute to and from work, those who work at home, and daytime populations--populations of work places that include people who don't live in the said areas. See also USA Journey to Work Data Index covers selected national, state, and metropolitan area data primarily for 1990 and 2000, but some tables deal with 1960-2000. (

Current Surveys (University at Buffalo. Arts and Sciences Libraries)
Describes selected periodic surveys conducted by the Census Bureau.

Economic Census (University at Buffalo. Arts and Sciences Libraries)
Presents background to the Economic Census, links to online resources, and provides titles and call numbers of printed documents held in Lockwood Library. See also:

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) TabulationTabulation (U.S. Census Bureau)
The Census Bureau prepared these statistics on contract for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Labor (DOL), and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The data are used to combat discrimination and unfair hiring practices in the workplace.