Census Data Resources for GIS Users

GIS Data

American FactFinder – U.S. Census Bureau data
An online source for population, housing, economic and geographic data. Results from each of these data programs are provided in the form of data sets, tables, thematic maps, and reference maps

ESRI's Census 2000 TIGER/Line Data
It offers an option to download census data in shapefile format for an area of interest. Multiple layers or counties can be selected

ESRI's Districting for ArcGIS
An add-on that can be use as an aid to create defined groups of census boundaries, such as tracts, zip codes, etc. This tool allows the user to redraw political boundaries, define districts, and perform other useful tasks concerning census data

GIS Tools for Mapping American Community Survey Estimates
This ArcGIS extension was developed to address issues concerning margin of error, differences of ACS from decennial census, and data accuracy.

GeoLytics: Neighboorhood Change Database
Access to US Census data from 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000 at the census tract level. The interface creates, from extracted census data, tabular data, maps, and shapefiles with census data already linked

ICPSR's Historical, Demographic, Economic, and Social Data: The United States, 1790-2002
Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research offers this census data collection that contains detailed county and state-level ecological and descriptive data for the United States for the years 1790 to 2002. Texas A&M University is a member of ICPRS, therefore TAMU community have direct access to download data by creating an account using the tamu.edu e-mail.
Using  data from previous ICPSR's study (1790-1970), the University of Virginia, Geospatial and Statistical Data Center created a web-based Historical Census Browser that allows to examine state and county topics for individual years or over time, presenting the data in tabular or interactive map form

Minessota Population Center (MPC)
The world’s leading developer of historical and international census data, and disseminates population data to thousands of teachers, researchers, and policy makers. It offers historical census samples for the United States, developed innovative tools for the electronic dissemination of demographic data, and improved the comparability and documentation of census microdata across time and space. No GIS data is provided

National Atlas of the United States
An  effort of nearly 20 federal agencies to compile data useful to characterize the U.S. It includes a remarkable range of products and services: map maker, printable maps, wall maps, dynamic maps, and raw data (vector data, dbf and GeoTIFF). It contains agriculture, biology, boundaries, climate, environment, geology, history, map reference, people, transportation, and water data of the U.S. It offers downloadable raw data

National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS)
Provides, free of charge, aggregated census data and GIS-compatible boundary files for the United States between 1790 and 2000. The geographic units offered are state, county, county subdivision, census tract, block, block group, MSAs, place, voting district, zipcode, congressional district, etc. Data can be downloades in ASCII, SPSS, SAS, STATA command file formatting and comma or GIS comma-separated, column-delimited and shapefiles data formats. If you plan to conduct a time-series analysis with zipcode as unit of analysis you may want to visit the zipcode resources page hosted by the University of Missouri

Social Explorer
Web-based interface that offers easy access to U.S. demographic information, including historical data back to 1940

Tapestry Segmentation - U.S. residential areas divided into 65 segments based on socioeconomic and demographic characteristics to provide an accurate, detailed description of U.S. neighborhoods

TIGER - U.S. Census Bureau's
Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing System
It offers digital geographic data (shapefiles) for the United States. Legal and statistical geographic areas are offered, as well as features like roads, railroads, rivers, etc. The shapefiles do not include demographic data, but they contain geographic entity codes (i.e. FIPS) that can be linked to U.S. Census demographic data available at American FactFinder.
Working with TIGER/Line Shapefiles series: Useful infromation on how to use the TIGER/Line Shapefiles and census data
Cartographic Boundaries of 1990, 2000 and other selected years are available to download

U.S. Census Bureau: Cartographic Boundary Files
List of generalized cartographic boundary files. It offers several time periods