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2000 Census Data

Overview and Product Descriptions

2000 Census of Population and Housing

2000 Census data are available in a number of products and formats. For a concise introduction to what's available, look at the Introduction to Census 2000 Data Products (PDF). Descriptions of the major files are included below:

Redistricting data

The first release of census information is known as redistricting data because it is used by state and local governments to re-draw the boundaries of electoral districts. Data are available down to the smallest geographic level (blocks), but the product contains only four tables covering a limited set of demographic characteristics related to voting laws: detailed race, Hispanic origin, and the population over 18. Data for the population under 18 may be calculated from these results. The racial categories in the 2000 Census are very complicated, as individuals were able to choose more than one racial category for the first time in Census history.

SF1 - Summary File 1

Summary File 1 contains the information collected in the short form, the basic questionnaire distributed to all households. Because of this, SF1 data are sometimes referred to as "100 percent data" or "count data". Most of the SF1 tables are available down to the block level (P and H tables), however, the PCT tables provide information only down to the census tract level. SF1 includes tables on gender, age, household size and type, presence of children and other relatives, family structure, group quarters populations, housing occupancy, tenure (owner vs. renter), and race and age of householder. Several tables in each group are repeated for the summary racial categories and Hispanic.

Demographic Profiles

Prior to the release of SF1 and SF3, the Bureau released profiles based on these products which are designed to give a thumbnail view of a particular geographic area. The full set of profiles contains four pages of summary information: one page of 100 percent data, and three pages of sample data. They are available for the nation, states, counties, places, MSAs, American Indian reservations, and Congressional Districts (106th). For states and the nation, 1990 data are available for comparison purposes. They are available only in Excel or PDF format.

SF2 - Summary File 2

Summary File 2 contains many of the PCT and HCT tables in SF1 for 249 detailed race and Hispanic categories. These data are most useful for finding information on very specific race and ethnicity groups, such as particular American Indian tribes, Hispanic sub-groups (such as Chicano), or multi-racial combinations.

SF3 - Summary File 3

Summary File 3 contains the information collected in the long form that was distributed to approximately one in six households. It is sometimes referred to as "sample data." In addition to the demographic basics covered in SF1, SF3 contains information on marital status, language, place of birth, migration, journey to work, education, veteran status, disability, employment status, industry and occupation, income and poverty. Housing characteristics include type and age of structure, heating fuel, telephone, vehicles, plumbing and kitchen facilities, rent, value, mortgage status and monthly owner costs. P and H tables are available down to the block group level, while PCT and HCT tables are available down to the tract. Several tables in each group are repeated for the major racial categories and Hispanic.

SF4 - Summary File 4

Summary File 4 contains many of the PCT and HCT tables in SF3 for 336 possible population groups comprising detailed race and Hispanic categories and ancestry groups. Due to the detailed nature of the race/ethnicity/ancestry detail, the tables are subject to population thresholds and are not available for every group. As with SF2, these data are most useful for finding information on very specific race and ethnicity groups, such as particular American Indian tribes, Hispanic sub-groups (such as Chicano), multi-racial combinations, or information on ancestry groups.

PUMS files - Public Use Microdata Sample

Unlike the summary products described above, the Public Use Microdata Files allow researchers to work directly with a set of person- or housing unit-records to create their own tables. The 1% PUMS sample provides data for analysis at the national and state levels, and for areas with populations over 400,000. It is due to be released in December 2002. The 5% sample can be used to produce data for smaller areas of 100,000 or more. It is due for release in summer 2003.

Special Files

County-to-County Worker Flow Files

Also known as Commuting Pattern data, these files provide county level information on the movement of workers between their residence and place of work. The files are available in two sort orders: one showing where everyone who lives in a given county works, and the other showing where everyone who works in a given county lives. Available as Excel spreadsheets or in plain text format.

On-line access to tables, maps, and reports

American FactFinder is the Census Bureau's site for on-line access to statistical information from Census 2000 and several other major numerical data sets. It provides quick access to summary tables, reports and maps from a wide array of products, including all of those listed above. You can access data at any geographic level for which they are produced. It is a great tool for finding numbers quickly, downloading a few tables, or for browsing among different products. However, it is cumbersome for constructing complicated tables or downloading data for multiple areas. Its performance may also be unbearably slow if you are working from a modem or other low-speed access line. FactFinder has an extensive "help" page with tutorials for working with tables and maps.

Census 2000 Gateway is the main page for Census 2000 products. Much of what you can get here is also available on American Factfinder, but this page has some useful links to special files from the 2000 Census, and to tables ranking states and counties by key demographic indicators. The Notes and Errata report is the only place to find corrected counts resulting from the Count Question Resolution program.

CensusScope, created by the Social Science Data Analysis Network at the University of Michigan, provides charts, maps, and rankings of census data. Easy to navigate, this an excellent source for demographic analysis. As of early 2003, most of the information on the site relates to analysis of race, age, and household composition at the national, state, and county levels.

Census 2000 Briefs series provides subject-specific analyses of Census 2000 population and housing topics to the public. The reports deal with national trends and very rarely contain information about specific geographic areas. Most contain some tabular information drawn from one of the summary files. Many of the briefs provide information on specific racial and hispanic populations.

Census tract and block locator maps are the electronic companions to the print maps produced in previous years. Maps are released in PDF format on a state-by-state basis as they are completed. They will not be provided in print form for the 2000 Census, nor will their release schedule follow the data release schedule. The size of these maps (over 30 inches in width) make them difficult to print on standard printers. Smaller reference maps may also be obtained through the "Thematic Maps" option of American FactFinder.

Congressional Apportionment Reports. State population totals from the 2000 Census determine how congressional seats will be distributed among the states for the next decade. This page provides tables and maps detailing the apportionment changes.

The Missouri Census Data Center contains a complete set of demographic profile data for 1990 and 2000. Most tables contain both numerical and percent data for both decades, as well as percent change, for the nation, regions, states, counties, metro areas, places of 10,000 or more, and 5-digit zip code areas. To access data for states other than Missouri, Illinois, or Kansas, click on "US" in their summary table. The data may be viewed, or extracted for download, although files for each decade must be extracted separately. The Missouri Census Data Center has converted the 2000 5% PUMS file to SAS datasets. Go to for more information.

Data for Virginia only are available at the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. They offer the complete set of tables for the Redistricting file, SF1, SF3, and the Demographic Profiles in Excel or PDF format. All tables are available for Virginia counties and cities, and in some cases, for places and census tracts within Virginia. They are very useful for working in spreadsheets, however, no FIPS or other geographic codes are provided.

 Retrieving Datasets for Analysis

American FactFinder may satisfy many needs, but for more complicated or larger data sets, it may be necessary to use different access tools:

Census 2000 DVDs are produced by the U.S. Census Bureau and contain data from Summary Files 1 through 4 at the State and National levels, and the 1% and 5% Public Use Microdata Samples (PUMS). The DVDs are available at the Geostat desk in Alderman library.

Census CD+ Maps, produced by Geolytics, Inc. contain special software that allows easy retrieval of census information for conversion into database files, spreadsheets, or maps. The Neighborhood Change CD and some of the older CDs contain multi-decade data. They are non-circulating and need to be used in the Geostat lab where the machines have had the software installed. Currently, the following Census CD+Map products are available:

  • 2000 Redistricting Block Data
  • 2000 Short Form Data (down to the block group level)
  • 2000 Short Form Block Data
  • 2000 Long Form Data
  • Neighborhood Change CD (normalized data from 1970-2000)
  • 1990 Census
  • 1980 Census

ICPSR has archived much of the 2000 Census and in many cases, provides basic SPSS or SAS syntax statements for reading them. ICPSR downloads are only available to member institutions.

IPUMS USA provides access to microdata from the Decennial Census and other demographic survey instruments such as the Current Population Survey. Most frequently used to extract data from the 1% and 5% PUMS samples generated in 1990 and 2000, IPUMS provides microdata samples back to 1850. The site provides very complete documentation and a user guide in how to create extracts.

For some analysis, the only way to construct the data set you need is to work with the original files as released by the Census Bureau. These data files are available in ASCII format, together with documentation files, on the Census Bureau's index of datasets. These files are very large and complex. They are organized by product, and then by state. Each folder (for example, Virginia SF3 data) contains multiple files which must be downloaded, unzipped, and read into database software such as SPSS or Access. The geographic file must be merged with each of the data files to create a data set that can be manipulated to select records by a given geographic type.

Select files are available from Geostat. Many redistricting files have been extracted for areas in Virginia (see Virginia Redistricting Data Sets). The SF3 files for Virginia have also been extracted and merged, but variable labels have not been added because of the number of tables involved (813). UVa researchers who need to use the downloaded Virginia data or assistance with accessing complete file data should contact and outline his or her needs. Geostat's ability to support non-UVa researchers is limited.

Redistricting TIGER Files

TIGER is the US Census Bureau's geographic database, and is the basis for their mapping products. The public can access these files for use with GIS to produce their own maps and analyses.

Redistricting Shapefiles for use in ArcView