This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

US Government Shutdown Workaround

When the US Government shut down last week, I noted that the first impact I felt was from the shutdown of the US Census Bureau website. Beth Jarosz quickly commented on that with suggestions for where people could go for some of the "missing" data. I didn't reply to that because I was hoping the shutdown would be short-lived and we didn't want to give anyone a reason to think that bringing the government back online wasn't necessary. However, D'Vera Cohn at the Pew Research Center have taken Beth's suggestions and made them very public, so I'm going to point you to those ideas for finding data--which are always good, no matter whether the government is shut down or not. As Beth had noted, the Census website is archived, and since that had been my focus (since other websites discussed are up and running), here is the info about that:
First, an archived version of the Census Bureau’s site (and of other government websites as well) is available through the handy Wayback Machine internet archive. Click on the agency logo to get to the archived site, and (ignoring the message that the site is down) click on the section you are looking for. Not all features will work well, and because it is archived, the site may not have all the content that was available just before shutdown. As of yesterday, the Census Bureau’s archived site seems to have been captured in early August – at least, that’s when the latest news release appears.
Others have stepped up to help out in the emergency:
For users with beginner or intermediate knowledge about statistics and census data, the Social Explorer website (distributed by Oxford University Press) is providing free access (offered for two weeks starting Oct. 4, if you request a username and password) to its current and historical census data and maps, which normally require a paid subscription to get more than basic numbers. The site has decennial census data back to 1790, and American Community Survey data through 2012.
And here is one of my favorites:
For users with beginner or intermediate knowledge about statistics and census data, there is the Minnesota Population Center’s National Historical Geographic Information System, which provides census data back to 1790 (and includes the 2012 American Community Survey), as well as geographic files (called GIS boundary files) that let you map the data. To gain access, you set up a free account and ask for the data you need, which is emailed to you.
As my own students know, this is actually one of my regular go-to resources, although you have to have reasonably sophisticated statistical and GIS software to make the best use of it.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting link on (Canadian) demograhics, in case you are interested:

    As always, thanks for the blog.