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POLS 4450: Race and Ethnic Politics: Home


Selected US Census Geographic Terminology

Places (Cities are a census place)

A concentration of population; a place may or may not have legally prescribed limits, powers, or functions. This concentration of population must have a name, be locally recognized, and not be part of any other place.

Census Tract

A small, relatively permanent statistical subdivision of a county delineated by a local committee of census data users for the purpose of presenting data. These subdivisions — ideally containing 4,000 people and 1,600 housing units — nest within counties, and their boundaries normally follow visible geographic features.

Census Block Group

A statistical area that generally contains between 600 and 3,000 people and is used to present data.

Census Block

A statistical area bounded by visible geographic features, such as streets, roads, streams, and railroad tracks, and by nonvisible features, such as selected property lines; city, township, and county boundaries; and school districts. It is the smallest geographic unit for which the Census Bureau tabulates decennial census data.


Using Social Explorer to Find Race/Ethnicity by Location

  1. Select Tables
  2. U.S. Decennial Census
  3. Choose desired census year-->Begin Report
  4. Select Geographic Type  (see box on available geographies) and follow the menu prompts until you identify the geography you want. Add the desired geographic location. Repeat if you want to examine multiple geographies. 
  5. Proceed to Tables
  6. Select desired tables (you can select multiple). Add.
  7. Show results


Other Census Starting Points

  1. Identify Census of Population
  2. Identify State of Interest
  3. Browse through the Index for that state to locate a table that will cover race at your selected geography


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Rebecca Stanwick
152 Jerome Library