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USP 193: San Diego Community Research (Winter 2017): American FactFinder

Find demographic data - American Factfinder

Here's a quick guide to finding Census tables on race and ethnicity for a geographic area of your choice.

1. Go to the American Factfinder website.

Your main focus during this exercise will be the left hand selection menu. Tables and geographies will show up in the middle of the screen, but don’t be distracted from the importance of the selection navigation menu.

2. Click the on “Geographies” button. This will take you to the search screen, and pop up a window of various geographies for you to choose from. Choose the geographic level that serves as the best component of your neighborhood (probably census tract). For this example, we'll use "Census Tract."

3. Choose "Within County" and then click on San Diego. You can scroll through the list until you find the tract numbers you're looking for. Once you click on tract, it will appear in the “Your Selections” box at the top of the page. If you ever want to remove a choice from “Your Selections” simply click the orange circle with the x.

4. Click on the “Topics” box to expand your options.

5. Expand the options for “People” and then for “Race and Ethnicity”

6. Select “Hispanic or Latino” from the Topics navigation menu. Make sure it appears in “Your Selections” before continuing.

7. Select “Race/Ethnicity of Individual” from the same list. This should also appear in “Your Selections”. There are many different “universes” of people in the Census. By selecting the “Race/Ethnicity of Individual” we are deselecting any tables that show race/ethnicity of groups, such as householders. We want to make sure our table includes all the people in the census tract.

8. Now, turn your attention to the middle of the page, where the list of tables meeting “Your Selections” criteria is. Notice there are some repeats of table numbers (in the ID column) and some repeats of table names. This is because the same tables will appear in different datasets. Since they all appear in our list, they should all meet our criteria for census-tract level information on race and ethnicity of individuals. As long as a table has the data you need, it doesn’t matter what dataset it comes from. You may want to sort your results by clicking on the arrow at the top of the "ID" column so you can find the same table over multiple years.

9. To select multiple tables, click the check box to the left of the table. Remember, Ethnicity (Hispanic/Latino or not Hispanic Latino) and Race (White, Black, Asian, etc.) are separate questions on the Census. To get a complete and accurate view of the race and Ethnicity of your census tract, you need a table that shows Hispanic or Latino and the races of people not Hispanic or Latino.

10. Choose the tables to work with using the checkboxes in the left column. 

11. Click the view button at the top of your search results.

12. Choose one table to work with. Make note of the Table name, number and the dataset it belongs to. This will allow you to more easily find it again.

13. Click “Modify Table” in the “Actions” list at the top of your table.

14. You are now in table editing mode. If you’re only interested in the numbers of people down to two or more races, you can hide all the rest of the table to create a cleaner, more readable table.

15. Click on the blue boxes on the left side of the table to minimize any information you don’t want to show. If there are only a few specific variable you don’t want to show, you can de-select them on the right side on the table.

16. Once you have made your selections click “Hide Table Tools” at the top of your table. Don’t worry! You can always reset your table if you don’t like the edits - you haven’t lost any data!

17. Next, Click the download button near the top of your table. You have three choices for types of download file. Comma delimited, excel or PDF. Choose the one you prefer. All the information about your table will be downloaded with it, but it will look just like your modified table. If you modify your table, I suggest downloading the unmodified version as well, jut in case you need it.

Congratulations! You have a table showing the Racial and Ethnic makeup of your census tract!


For Help: “Using FactFinder” is an option of the main FactFinder menu visible on every page. This has some great information on how to search, a glossary of Census words and more. If you get stuck, this is a great place to check out.

Never use the browser back buttons! Use the American FactFinder in browser navigation instead.

American FactFinder 2 is still a work in progress, use the feedback button at the top of the page if you have suggestions for how to improve, if there are functions you would like that aren’t available, etc.

American Factfinder Visuals