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USP 193: San Diego Community Research (Winter 2019): Social Explorer

Social Explorer

Important information about the Social Explorer database:

You can use Social Explorer to run reports on geographic areas as small as Census block groups.  Social Explorer can also help you identify Census tracts back to 1950.

To access the database from off-campus, you will need to have your computer configured to use the UCSD VPN or proxy server. To verify that you have done this, click this link and confirm that you are able to read the text of the JSTOR article. If so, you should be able to use Social Explorer. If you are unable to view the JSTOR article, please refer to the remote access instructions to configure your computer.

The Library has a limit of 5 simultaneous users for this database.  The full version of the database will have the "Professional Edition" text (as shown below) at the top of the screen. If you don't see the "Professional Edition" text, there are already 5 people using the full version and you have been pushed into the free version; you will be able to get the most recent, but not the historical, census data with the free version. You must wait until someone else signs out before you can access the full database.



To identify tracts:

1. Click on “Maps” in the top menu.

2. Click “Start Now" button.

3. Double click on an area or use the zoom + to drill down to the San Diego area. (Click and drag map to re-center.)  As you zoom in, you’ll eventually see details like street names and Census tract numbers. Use Google maps or print maps as necessary to help identify streets.

4. To see map for a different year, click the "Change Data" button on the top left (this is the default search). Slide the blue scale to the desired year, click "population" and then "population density per sq. mile."  Repeat step 3 above.

To get data:

There are two ways to get Census data after you've identified the census tracts. 

First option: while you're still on the map showing the tracts of interest > 

  • click the icon with three horizontal lines (white area, top right) and select "create a report"
  • click to highlight the tracts you want data for
  • in the right menu bar, use "select a topic" to create the report you want ("comprehensive" will probably give you most of what you need)
  • click the orange "create" button, and you will get demographic data on a new page; note that you will only get the most recent 5-year ACS data and will have to use the second option below for older data

Second option: after you have identified the tract numbers, you could elect to quit the mapping application >

  • go back to the home page, click "Tables" at the top
  • select the decennial year or ACS year that you want to work with, then click "begin report"
  • use the drop-down menus to select "census tract/California/San Diego County" and ctrl/click to highlight the tracts you want
  • click "Add" and "Proceed to Tables" 
  • on the next page, ctrl/click to highlight the desired data sets; click "Add" and "Show results" OR
  • click the "Premade Reports" tab and select desired report(s)