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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's starting....

Released yesterday was the 2005-2009 American Community Survey Data. Why is this important? Because this 5-year sample data allows us to access Census-Tract Level data for the first time since 2000. Instead of being limited to Public-Use-Microdata-Areas (PUMAS), which are more or less the size of a Community Board, and generally have over 100,000 residents, we can now access information for Census Tracts - areas as small as a few square city blocks, with populations of only a few thousand people.

The NY Times has already started with a series of maps focusing (somewhat predictably) on race and Hispanic ethnicity. What's a bit strange about this is that 2010 Census Data - which includes race information - is due to be released starting in February. This will be much more up-to-date, with 100% data from 2010 as opposed to sample data (with a margain of error) from 2005-2009. In the meantime, there's a wealth of new information on income, housing, immigration, language, ancestry, and geographic mobility available for micro-demographic analysis that won't be in the 2010 Census release. Go check it out - I know I am. I hope the Times is also.

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