Planners and the Census: Census 2010, ACS, Factfinder, and Understanding Growth

PAS Report 553

By Christopher Williamson, AICP

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The U.S. Bureau of the Census provides an array of free, high-quality data on population, housing, and other information essential to the work of planners. The information is accessible to anyone with an Internet connection, but some insight into how the information is gathered and organized can make it even easier to navigate.

This report from APA's Planning Advisory Service provides that insight, as well as a look at the American Community Survey and the upcoming Census 2010. It also provides tools to help planners use the census to document past growth and project future growth.

Product Details

Page Count
Date Published
July 18, 2008
Adobe PDF

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Some Background to Promote a Better Understanding and Use of Census Data
A Brief History
The Modern U.S. Census
Major Results from Census 2000
Important Census Concepts
Processing the Census
Error, Undercount, Liability, and Documentation

Chapter 2. Census Geography and Subjects
Statistical Geography
Political Geography
Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) Files and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Census Questions in the Census Data Sets

Chapter 3. The American Community Survey Is Here: Census 2010 Is Coming
How ACS Works
ACS Tabulations
Problems with ACS
Working with ACS Data
Census 2010

Chapter 4. and American Factfinder
American Factfinder (AFF)
Advanced Factfinder Tools

Chapter 5. Types of Growth
Defining Growth
Demographic Growth
Housing Units
Economic Growth
Mixing Types of Growth

Chapter 6. Understanding Projections
The Cohort Survival Method
Housing Unit Approach
Household and Community Income and Wealth
Which Assumptions Are Really Policy Decisions about Growth?