Visualize This: Top 5 Visualization Tools from the Census Bureau

Top 5 Census Data Visualization Tools

The Census Bureau is working to increase its use of visualization in making data available to the public. From infographics to interactive maps, you may be surprised at the wealth of visualization tools available from the Census Bureau.

Check out a few of our favorite visualization tools below and add a visual component to your next grant application, annual report, or marketing flyer.

Top 5 Census Data Visualization Tools

#1 Narrative Profiles

A great place to start when you need a quick overview of census data in an area. Narrative Profiles are short, analytic reports derived from the ACS 5-year estimates. Each Narrative Profile covers 15 different topic areas and uses text and graphics to highlight selected social, economic, housing and demographic estimates for your selected geographic area. Narrative Profiles are available down to zip code tabulation area.

#2 Census Explorer

Census Explorer is the U.S. Census Bureau’s interactive map series. This visualization tool allows you to explore five “editions” or data sets via interactive maps. The data sets currently available on Census Explorer are “Population Estimates”, “Retail”, “People, Education, and Income”, “Commuting”, and “Young Adults: Then and Now”. Additional data sets will be added based on interest.

#3 “On The Map”

For employment data, try using “On The Map”, a searchable interface that lets you compare employment statistics across geographic areas. Available characteristics include worker age, earnings, industry sector, worker race, worker ethnicity, worker education attainment, worker sex, firm age and firm size. You can select geographies down to the census block-level and the data covers years 2002 to 2014. Results can be exported to a report (PDF, HTML, XLS), a map, or other forms (such as PNG images or composite PDFs). You can even save your analysis settings for future sessions.

#4 Census Business Builder

When you need to understand the business landscape of a region, turn to Census Business Builder. The census data tool lets you browse and download business-related data for your search area. It also includes interactive and downloadable reports (including charts). There are actually two editions of this visualization tool. The Small Business Edition is built primarily for small business owners who need data for their business plan or to define their market potential. The Regional Analyst Edition is built for chambers of commerce and regional planning staff who need a broader portrait of the people and businesses in a service area. 

#5 Infographics

You can even find ready-to-use infographics through the Census Bureau on select topics. Topics range from the serious, Change in Median Household Income by County, to the light-hearted, Ready for the Super Bowl? and Valentine’s Valuables. Who knew U.S. manufacturers shipped $16.0 billion in chocolate confectionary products each year?

For links to these and other Census Bureau resources, be sure to download the free toolkit below.

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Michelle Loftis

Michelle is a grant writer, attorney, and professional systematizer. Interested in all things tech, she helps overwhelmed consultants and entrepreneurs with the behind-the-scenes details that go into building and growing an online business.

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