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How to Use Census Data in ArcGIS: Home

This is a short how-to guide for accessing and using the TIGER/Line Shapefiles as well as joining data from the US Census Bureau to the TIGER/Line Shapefiles created by Census bureau.

Census Data

The U.S. Census Bureau is the leading source of the statistical information about the population of the United States. Census data collects data about the economy and the people living in the nation. It is the combination of administrative data coming from federal, state, local government, and commercial entities and surveys. The population statistics is used by federal, state and local government along with business, universities, international organization, and researchers. 

In order to use the Census data you will need the following:

  • An internet browser to the American FactFinder (AFF).
  • A utility to unzip files, such as WinZip.
  • Data processing software, such as Microsoft Excel.
  • ArcGIS 10.x  software / GIS Pro or other GIS Softwares.

The following steps are necessary for the process:

  1. First, we will download the census data table from American FactFinder.
  2. Then, we will download the TIGER/Line Shapefile.
  3. Finally, we will join the two in ArcGIS.

We will used the 2010 median age to illustrate the process

shapefile is a vector data storage format for storing the location, the shape, and attributes of geographic features. It is stored as a set related files and contains one feature class. Shapefile have been in application such as ArcMap and often contain large features with a lot of associated data.

Geographis Information System (GIS) Analyst

Bertin Mbongo's picture
Bertin Mbongo
340 Centenial Mall Drive
Rm: 3053K
West Lafayette
IN 47907-2124