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References: U.S. Federal | Area Federal Depository Libraries | Census Basics: Demographic 10 Year Censuses | Congressional Information | Congressional Information Internet Sites | Continental Congress Documents | FBI Files On Microfilm | National Security Archive Collections | Presidential Administration Dates and Parties | Presidential Libraries Internet Addresses | Presidential Papers | Presidential Papers on Microfilm | Public Policy Research Using Government Information| Regional Federal Depository Libraries | U.S. Government Archival Resources | U.S. Censuses and Surveys | U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Records on Microfilm | U.S. Statistics

Census Basics: Demographic 10 Year Censuses

Guide to Government Publications Series

Table of Contents

Brief History of Censuses
Census guides & Indexes
Statistical Universe Statistics Index
Census 2000
American Factfinder
Census State Data Centers
Census Geography
Census Questionnaires/Characteristics
1990 Census of Population Housing Products
Summary Tape Files (Stfs)
Public Use Micro Data Files (Pums)
Tiger/Line Files
Summary Tape Files (STFs) on Cdrom
Census Cdrom Programs
GO Program
Extract Program
Ferret Data Extraction Tool
Census Surveys
American Community Survey (ACS)
Current Population Survey (CPS)
Survey of Incomes Program Participation (SIPP)
International Programs Center
Vital Statistics
Census Schedules/Personal Names (Genealogy Information)
Internet Sites
1930 Federal Population Census
Census of population and housing: ten years on the web


This guide addresses the basic information needs of beginning users of population and housing census statistics/data. Census content (the questionnaire) has changed over time since the first 1790 census of population which contained 6 questions. Finding census data involves identifying which census includes the data needed and identifying the characteristics and geography wanted. The Census Bureau produces guides and manuals on census information and how to access specific kinds of statistics. This Guide includes a listing of these resources as well as many of the Internet sites containing census data. The 1990 census is emphasized because it was the first to take full advantage of electronic collection and delivery of the census data.

Resources on vital statistics have been included in this guide because they are often thought to be Census Bureau data. Birth, death, marriage and divorce data are collected at the local levels of government, gathered to the national level, and reported by the National Center for Health Statistics within the Health and Human Services Department.

Information on the decennial census population schedules has been included because it is not always clear that while data is released, the personal forms with names are closed for 72 years following the census because of privacy. Once released the information is available for purchase in microfilm from the National Archives and Records Administation

Bibliographic access to census information in the Stanford Libraries is provided via the online catalog Socrates and selected databases. It may also be useful to use separate print or cdrom indexes because of the size of the Socrates database. Census bibliographic information in Socrates is available in the books file (for print censuses), in the serials file (for regularly issued census surveys), and in the computer files for the computer tape and cdrom formats. The Census Bureau also supports an Internet site and is gradually making the data more accessible via this format.

One of the most important databases is Congressional Universe because it analyzes statistics including the census data page by page and table by table. This database is available by selecting Catalogs & Databases from the Stanford Libraries home page.

Brief History of Censuses

The Bureau of the Census conducts several kinds of censuses, but the most widely known is the census of population and housing - the decennial census. Census 2000 will be the 22nd census taken by the United States government. States at one time also conducted censuses but because of the cost no longer do so.

The decennial census is required by the United States Constitution in Article 1, Section 2 which calls for a counting of the population at least every ten years. Title 13 of the United States Code authorizes the decennial census, outlines its timing and contents, and makes compliance mandatory. The United States census of population and housing is the oldest continuous census. It was first taken in 1790 and then every ten years on years ending in 0. This decennial census provides statistics for the reapportionment of seats in the House of Representatives and the data for redistricting within the states. Since the first census, additional questions have been added to the questionnaire so that the decennial census includes more detailed demographic, economic, and social characteristics about persons residing in the United States than any other source. It is important to note that although the census is conducted by a national level agency, it does include statistics down to the smallest geographic areas. In addition to the decennial census the Census Bureau also conducts separate censuses of economic activity, agriculture, manufacturing, mineral industries, transportation, governments, and construction industries. Some earlier data found in these specialized subject censuses were collected in the earlier decennial censuses. These censuses are censuses of organizations rather than of individuals or households (except for the Census of Agriculture) and are conducted every five years on years ending in 2 and 7. The Bureau also conducts a statistical collecting program on foreign trade of the United States. The United States Bureau of the Census publishes more statistics or data than any of the US government agencies. The Bureau also gathers and compiles statistics for other agencies. Employment and unemploy- ment statistics are released through the Census Bureau's program, Current Population Survey, published by the Bureau in print in its Current Population Reports series, and via the Internet listed under "current" on Census home page index. These reports update some of the census data. The Bureau coordinates with the Bureau of Labor Statistics within the Labor Deparment to produce the data.

Census Guides & Indexes

The publisher, Congressional Information Service, makes available via the the Internet Statistical Universe (, choose Statistical Universe). The print version American Statistics Index is available HA214.A14 in the Green Reference area.
This database indexes federal government documents containing statistics, and the Census Bureau statistics are included in the indexing. The full text publications are available selectively via Statistical Universe, on microfiche if non depository, and in print.
  1. Bureau of the Census Catalog of Publications, 1790-1972. 1974.
    Volume includes the Dubester Catalog of United States Census Publications.
    Continued by the Census Catalog and Guide.
    C 3.163/3: Green SSRC-DOCS

    ---- 1995 to date catalogs also available
    C 3.163/3: Green SSRC-DOCS

  2. Census and You: Monthly Newsletter
    C 3.238: Green FED-DOCS STACKS

  3. CensusCD (Geolytics)
    Includes the 1990 census with maps.
    HA201 1990.C46 1998 Green-SSDS cdrom

  4. Census 80 Continuing the Factfinder Tradition. 1980.
    C 3.2:C33/34 Green FED-DOCS STACKS

  5. County and City Data Book, 1949-
    C 3.134/2: Green SSRC-DOCS

  6. Factfinder for the Nation
    C 3.252: Green FED-DOCS STACKS

  7. Geographic areas reference manual. 1994.
    C 3.6/2:G29/4 Green FED-DOCS STACKS

  8. Guide to State and Local Census Geography. 1993.
    C 3.6/2:G29 Green FED-DOCS STACKS

  9. Monthly Product Announcement.
    C 3.163/7: Green SSRC-DOCS

  10. 1960 Census of Population: Alphabetical Index of Occupations and Industries.
    C 3.223:Ocl/960-2 Green SSRC-DOCS

  11. 1960 Census of Population: Classified Index of Occupations and Industries.
    C 3.223:Ocl/2 Green SSRC-DOCS

  12. 1970 Census of Population: Alphabetical Index of Industries and Occupations.
    C 3.223:OcL/970 Green SSRC-DOCS

  13. 1970 Census of Population: Classified Index of Industries and and Occupations.
    C 3.223:Ocl.2/970 Green SSRC-DOCS

  14. 1980 Census of Population: Alphabetical Index of Industries and Occupations.
    C 3.223/22:80-R 3 Green SSRC-DOCS

  15. 1980 Census of Population and Housing: Classified Index of Industries and Occupations.
    C 3.223/22:80-R 4 Green SSRC-DOCS

  16. 1980 Census of Population and Housing: Geographic Identification Code Scheme.
    C 3.223/22:80-R 5 Green SSRC-DOCS

  17. 1990 Census of Population and Housing: Alphabetical index of industries and occupations. 1992.
    C 3.223/22:90-R-3 Green SSRC-DOCS

  18. 1990 Census of Population and Housing: Classification Index of Industries and Occupations.
    C 3.223/22:90-R 4 Green SSRC-DOCS

  19. 1990 Census of Population and Housing. 1992-1996.
    Part 1A, Guide, Text: Part 1B, Guide, Glossary; Part 2A-2D, History; Part 3, Alphabetical Index of Industries and Occupations; Part 4, Classified Index of Industries and Occupations; Part 5, 1990 Census Questionnaires and Other Public-Use Forms.
    C 3.223/22:1990CPH-R- Green SSRC-DOCS

  20. Organizing the Count, by J.L. Norwood. 1995.
    HA37.U55N67 1995 Green Stacks

  21. Population of states and counties of the United States: 1790 to 1990, compiled by the Bureau of the Census. 1996.
    Provides total population for each of the nation's counties back to the first census in which the county appeared.
    C 3.2:P81/26 Green FED-DOCS STACKS

  22. Product Profile, no.1-
    C 3.282: Green FED-DOCS STACKS

  23. Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1879- Annual. Includes a detailed subject index with excellent and full footnotes providing you with census titles.
    C 3.134:1971- Green SSRC-DOCS

  24. Subject Index to the 1990 Census of Population and Housing, by M. Lavina. 1997.
    HA201 1990 Index Green-SSDS

  25. Tiger: the Coast-to-Coast Digital Map Data Base. 1990

  26. Twenty censuses: Population and Housing Questions 1790-1980. 1973.
    C 3.2:C33/3 Green FED-DOCS STACKS
    HA37.U55 U54 Green STACKS

  27. Understanding the Census: a Guide for Marketers, Planners, Grant Writers, and Other Data Users, by M.R. Lavin. 1996.
    HA201 1990ar GREEN SSRC

Census 2000

Census 2000 will be the 22nd census of population and housing and will be taken April 2000. The Census Bureau has put up an Internet page making many of the documents available in full text. The contents include news releases and articles, Fact Sheets, members and minutes of the various Census Bureau advisory committees, frequently asked questions (faqs), a glossary of decennial census terms and acronyms, and selected historical census data

American Factfinder

This retrieval system is under development and is known as the Data Access and Dissemination System (Dads). It includes facts and information about communities, economics, and society and will be made available beginning 1999/2000. Data from the 1990 census of population and housing will be made available winter of 1999. In the spring of 1999 some of the data from the 1990 census public use micro data files will be released through an advanced query function in preparation for Census 2000.

American Factfinder will include three tiers of access. Tier 1 will allow search, browse, retrieve,view, print, and download but no manipulation of the data or information. Tier 2 for the summary data products will allow selecting, extracting, and manipulation of data. These files are aggregated or summarized data files which allow a geography choice selection. Tier 3 will allow creating custom tabluations from the micro data files. Files will include the 1990 and 2000 census, Pums files, and the ACS files.

Census State Data Centers

The Census State Data Center (SDC) program provides training and technical assistance in accessing and using census data for research, administration, planning,and decision making for all data users. From the address listed select the state of interest via the map or from the list of states. The selected state sources provide data information as prepared by the selected state agency. The California Data Center is in the Department of Finance

Census Geography

The geography used in the demographic census is based on Political and Administrative Areas which include the United States national level, states, counties and country equivalents, incorporated places, and minor civil divisions of counties such as townships. Congressional and voting districts, and American Indian reservations are also included in this group. The boundaries for these areas are usually set by law. The Census Bureau also defines Statistical Areas to serve its and the census users' needs. Examples of these areas include metropolitan statistical areas (smsa's), census tracts, block groups, and census blocks. Some of this geography changes with each census so that it is important to check the Bureau's guides for any "bridges" created. Most of the census geography is hierarchical in nature so that the larger areas are formed by combining the smaller areas. One of the most important statistical areas is the census tract which is created by the Bureau with input from the local areas. For geographic area definitions see the manual, Geographic Areas Reference Manual via the Internet. The manual is also available in print. The Bureau beginning with the 1990 census developed the TIGER database (Topologically Integrated Computer Geographic Encoding and Referencing) to support its mapping needs. With the Geological Survey the Bureau created a geographic computerized database converting into machine-readable format the geographic features of a printed map. Each feature receives a computer code in the database making identification possible for items like rivers, mountains, buildings, and vacant land. The Census Bureau releases extracts, the Tiger/Line files, from the Bureau's Tiger database. These extracts are available on cdrom.

Census Questionnaires/Characteristics

Census data are based on the census questionnaire which the Bureau requires to be completed by the appropriate person. For the demographic census it is the designated head of household or reference person who answers the questions and is also counted. All other persons are related to this individual on the questionnaire.

The questionnaire is the basis of the data collection and distribution. If the question does not appear on the questionnaire, there can be no data collected for that characteristic. There is always pressure from various communities to add their questions to the census questionnaire, but highest priority always goes to questions relating to federal laws and government programs. Throughout the history of the census questionnaire the Bureau has responded to concerns of the times and has tried to provide data for comparability. But earlier censuses may not include data on characteristics found in the current censuses if the questions were not asked. Data may also be lacking for some of the geographic breakdowns found in the current censuses.

There is considerable work done before adding or dropping questions, and the Bureau must provide justification to the Office of Management and Budget to do this. Various advisory committees are established to review census content and current needs.

The publication Twenty Censuses: Population and Housing Questions 1790-1980, issued in 1973 includes the questionnaires for earlier censuses. The 1990 census questionnaire is included in the publication 1990 Census of Population and Housing Guide part A, Text. The 1990 census questionnaire consists of the short form containing seven population questions and seven housing questions and mailed to five out of six housing units and the long form containing all of the short form questions plus twenty six population and nineteen housing questions This form was sent to one out of 6 housing units.

Census Questionnaires/Characteristics


100 -Percent component (All Persons)

Population   Housing
Household Relationship   Number of units in structure
Sex   Number of rooms in unit
Race   Tenure - owner or rented
Age   Value of home or monthly rent
Marital Status   Congregate housing -meals included in rent
Hispanic Origin   Vacancy characteristics

Sample Component

Population   Housing
Social characteristics   Year moved into
Education   Number of bedrooms
Place of birth, citizenship   Plumbing
Ancestry   Telephones
Language spoken at home   Vehicles
Migration   Heating fuel
Disability   Source of water/disposal
Fertility   Year structure built
Veteran status   Condominium status
Economic Characteristics   Farm residence
Labor force   Shelter costs
Occupation, industry, class  
Place of work, journey to  
Work experience  
Last year worked  

Earlier Censuses Characteristics

Although the Census Bureau's aim is to be consistent with its questions allowing for comparability, there have been notable changes in the number of questions and topics covered. Following is a brief listing of changes in the earlier censuses.

1790 census six questions were asked including the name of the household head, the number of persons in each household, the number of free white males over 16 years of age, the number of white females, all other free persons, and the number of slaves.

1800 and 1810 censuses asked similar questions. The 1810 census added questions on manufactures. Later censuses added the areas of questions agriculture, minerals, governments, religious bodies, business, housing, and transportation. In 1957 legislation was passed providing for separate censuses of agriculture, economics, and governments. These subjects were removed from later demographic censuses.

1820 census covered population in greater detail, and for the first time provided statistics on the numbers of the population involved with agriculture, commerce, and manufactures.

1830 census was dedicated solely to population with an extended scope of of statistics.

1840 census included statistics on industry, education, and resources of the country. Questions on school attendance, illiteracy, and occupations were added.

1790 census through the 1840 census counted the household rather than the individual as the unit of enumeration. Only household heads appeared on the schedules, and there was no attempt to publish details uniformly by cities and towns or to summarize returns for each state by county unless the census taker had done so.

1850 census through the 1940 census listed every person's name and items related to each individual enumerated. Additional statistics included taxes, schools, crime, wages, value of estate, and statistics on mortality.

1870 census introduced maps, charts, and diagrams presenting statistics geographically.

1890 census provided greater detail for some subjects and added statistics collected in supplemental surveys including farms and home mortgages.

1930 census added questions on unemployment, and the 1940 census used advanced techniques like sampling. Migration and unemployment questions were added.

1950 census questions added sample questions on residential financing, transportation to work, occupations, and housing costs. Sampling for housing was first used in this census.

The major change in the 1960 census was the use of the computer. For details on these earlier censuses see the publication, Bureau of the Census Catalog of Publications 1790-1972, edited by Henry Dubester and printed in 1974. The "yellow" pages include an index/guide to subjects in titles, but it is not definitive. It may be necessary to read the abstracts themselves to find the information.

The 1990 Census of Population Housing Products

Census data are released via the Internet, computer tapes, cdroms, diskettes, print, microfiche, and maps. The print publications of the 1990 census occupy 100 linear feet of shelf space for about 850 titles, and these publications are but 10% of the total out for this census. The majority of the data are available only in electronic format Printed reports and microfiche were issued, but the 1990 census took full advantage of the electronic formats - cdroms, computer tapes, diskettes, and Internet. All of the print products are reproduced from the electronic files released earlier, and these printed reports were created by the Bureau to answer the most frequently asked questions. The electronic format provides the most detail for the data and geographic information, and the cdrom is the primary medium for data delivery for the 1990 census. Print and microfiche formats were released for the 1990 census, and these are available in the government documents stacks.

Data released in cdrom and computer tape formats include the Summary Tape Files, Micro Data Files, and the Geographic Information Files or the Tiger Line/Files. The Go Program can used for retrieval on the Summary tape files, and the Extract Program for any data manipulation; the Pums files use the QuickTab Program, and the Tiger/Line files use LandView. These are the Census Bureau programs, but the data can also be accessed through other commercially produced programs

Summary Tape Files (stfs) contain the summarized data only - individual household data cannot be retrieved. There is some suppressed data at the block or smaller levels to preserve privacy. These computer tapes are the first format available with cdroms and print following. Two disadvantages of computer tape use is the size of the files and the experience required for using them. These summary data files are also available on cdrom each with its program. The Summary Tape Files resemble the summary data in the print reports, but the data are more detailed and cover a broad range of characteristics of population and housing by area. Most of the statistics were released in four summary tape files plus some special files. Each Summary Tape File contains a set of tabulations for specific levels of geography. The same statistics are provided for all levels of geography unlike the print reports. Summary Tape Files 1 and 2 are the 100% questions on the questionnaire. Summary Tape Files 3 and 4 are the sample component - not all persons received these questions on the questionnaire. The Census Bureau in the 1990 made broad subject data at the national level in the Subject Summary Tape Files (SSTF). Subject reports are also available in print for the 1990 census and for earlier censuses. But not all planned reports were issued for the 1980 and 1990 censuses because of government budget cuts. Data on Equal Employment Opportunity and a special tabultion on aging were also released in cdrom.

Public-Use Micro-Data Sample (Pums) files provide the statistics on population and housing from a sample of individual census records with personal identification removed and allow for cross-tabulations of subject variables. These files are samples of the questionnaires which allow the data users to conduct their own sample surveys. Statistical programs must be used to access these files.

Tiger/Line Files are the extract releases from the Tiger database which is a digital database of geographic information like census boundaries, mountains, rivers, railroads, and roads for the United States. It includes locations by latitude and longitude, street address ranges, and related map information. Tiger is an acronym for Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing system created by the Bureau of the Census to support its mapping needs for the decennial censuses and other surveys. To access data geographic information system (Gis) software is required as Tiger files are not graphic images of maps but digital data describing geographic features. There are many commercially produced Gis software packages available. Local and state governments make extensive use of the Tiger data to produce maps for locating fire and police stations, hospitals, shopping malls, streets, and parks. Tiger provides software information and contacts.

Following is a list of the 1990 census summary tape files and micro data files in the Stanford Libraries. The earlier census Summary tape files and Public use micro data files are available on computer tape and some of the 1990 census may also be available on computer tape.

Summary Tape Files (STFs) on cdrom

Summary Tape File 1A (100% questions)
Technical Documentation stf 1 C3.282:990/Doc GREEN-SSDS

(C 3.282:990/ GREEN-SSDS (17 cdroms).
These cdroms are filed first alphabetically by the census division and then by the states within the divisions. Census divisions are East North Central, East South Central, Middle Atlantic, Mountain, New England, Pacific, South Atlantic, West North Central, West South Central, and Puerto Rico.
California is part of the Pacific Division and is volume 2 of the cdrom (C 3.282:CD90-Pacific/vol 2). GREEN-SSDS (1cdrom).
To find states within the divisions check Census Bureau publications for Census divisions descriptions

Technical Documentation 1B: C 3.282:990/Doc-2 GREEN-SSDS
Summary tape File 1B (Block Statistics) (100% Questions)
(C 3.282/3:CD90-1B- GREEN-SSDS (10 cdroms).

Summary Tape File 1C (United States Summary) (100% Questions)
C 3.228: GREEN-SSDS (1 cdrom).

Summary Tape File 1D and 3D (Congressional districts) (Sample)
Technical Documentation: (103rd Congress) C 3.282:C76/Doc GreenRef
C 3.282/4:cong 103 to date. GREEN-SSDS (1/cdrom/congress).
Congressional Districts 103rd Congress also available

Technical Documentation STF 3: C 3.282/2:990/cd/Doc GreenRef
Summary Tape File 3A Block Groups (Sample Questions)
C 3.282/2:CD90-3A- GREEN-SSDS (61 cdroms).

Summary Tape File 3B ZIP code areas (Sample Questions)
C 3.282/2:CD90-3B-01 03. GREEN-SSDS (3 cdroms).

Arranged in numerical ZIP code order: Disc 01 covers zip codes 0 to 3; Disc 02 covers zip codes 04-06; Disc 03 covers zip codes 7-9.

Subject Summary Tape files
Technical Documentation: C 3.282:F76/Doc GreenRef
C 3.286:CD90-SSTf 01/994-no. GREEN-SSDS (23 cdroms).

Equal Employment Opportunity File
Technical Documentation: C 3.283:Eq2/Doc GreenRef
C 3.283:CD90EEO 2 GREEN-SSDS (2 cdroms).

Special Tabulation on Aging
Technical Documentation: C 3.281/2:Ag4/Doc GREEN-SSDS
C 3.282/2:CD90 AOA US GREEN-SSDS (22 cdroms).

These cdroms are filed first by the United States national level and then by the federal regions.
California is available on 2 cdroms - vol.1, Alameda through Nevada counties; vol.2, Orange through Yuba counties.
C 3.282/2:CD90-AOA9-1 and -2 GREEN-SSDS (2 cdroms).

Microdata Files on cdrom (PUMS)

Technical Documentation: C 3.25:P96/Doc GREEN-SSDS
Census of Population and Housing (1990) Public Use Microdata 1% Sample
C 3.285:CD90-PUMSB- GREEN-SSDS (2 cdroms).

Census of Population and Housing (1990) Public Use Microdata 5% Sample
C 3.285:CD90-PUMSA- GREEN-SSDS (7 cdroms).
----for California

Tiger Line/Files
These cdroms must be supported by a GIS system to access information.
C 3.279:State GREEN-SSDS

Census Cdrom Programs

Census software accessing these cdroms includes Go and Extract programs for the Summary tape files, Quicktab for the Public use micro data files, and Landview for the Tiger/Line files.

Go Program is the name for a group of Census Bureau programs which allow browsing, locating, viewing, printing, and downloading of data on the Census Bureau cdroms. It is a page turning program - like viewing the print reports and is loaded on the cdrom itself. GO is easy to operate and requires a minimum of instruction. It selects the summary levels first and is not flexible. To run the program, choose the appropriate drive and type the world GO. Follow the routine of using print as identifying the geography (California), selecting the specific geography (city in California), and choosing the appropriate table.

Extract Program is a public domain software created by the Census Bureau. It can select, organize, display, and extract data from the cdrom. EXTRACT allows users to manipulate the dbase formatted files on a particular cdrom product. EXTRACT can be used alone or with other software and is menu driven. Some knowledge of the census file structure, field locations, and summary level codes is useful.

QuickTab was designed by the Census Bureau and includes two programs - FRE and CROSSTAB. An understanding of census geography is important for using this program.

LandView Program is a geographic reference like an atlas and can display railroads, rivers, roads, etc. based on the Tiger/Line files.

The publisher, GeoLytics, has produced CensusCD which contains the 1990 census. It was revised in 1996 to include maps and allows for easy searching of the Summary Tape Files 3-A,B,C, and D.

Ferret Date Extraction Tool

Ferret is a tool developed by the Bureau of the Census, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and other federal statistical agencies. Ferret stands for Federal Electronic Research and Review Extraction Tool and can be used to extract data from the Current Population Surveys.

Census Surveys

American Community Survey (ACS) being developed by the Census Bureau will update decennial census data by collecting the same information every year that the census collects only once every ten years. ACS is a monthly household survey which is conducted using mailed questionnaires, telephone interviews, and personal visits from the Bureau's representatives. The survey will eventually replace the long decennial long form The ACS is part of the Continuous Measurement System which is a new approach for collecting accurate and timely information. The ACS survey will provide estimates of housing, social, and economic characteristics every year for all states, cities, counties, metropolitan areas, and for population groups of 65,000 persons or more. For smaller areas, it will take two to five years to sample the same number of households as sampled in the decennial census. It may take up to five years to accumulate a sample size of the decennial census.

The ACS is being implemented in four phases - the demonstration period 1996-1998; the comparison sites 1999-1001; national comparison sample 2000-2002; full implementation nationwide 2003 and beyond. The beginning 1966 survey included eight sites.

The first ACS cdrom is available containing data for the first four sites surveyed in 1996.
The cdrom is available Green Library Reference.

Current Population Survey (CPS) is a monthly survey of about 50,000 households conducted by the Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics for over 50 years. These surveys are not as complete complete as far as the characteristics compiled and do not provide in depth geographic information. In general, the geographic level of information is national, regional, state, county, county, and standard metropolitan statistical area depending on the survey. is the survey program population and housing between the decennial censuses. It is a sample household survey of of the civilian population, and the statistics/data are made available in the print Current Population Reports. These reports are issued in the P20 series (population characteristics), the P23 series (special studies), and the P60 series (consumer income), and P25 (population estimates and projections. These print reports are created by the Bureau from the survey and are selective. The P25 series(population estimates and projections) updates The Current Population Survey is also available on computer tapes and currently on cdrom. The electronic formats provide considerable more data and allow for manipulation of the statistics/data.

Survey of Incomes Program Participation (SIPP) is a sample household survey which collects data from the same household over a period of 32 months and is becoming an important source of information on the demographic and economic situation of the United States. Its purpose is to provide estimates of money and other income and participation in government programs. The focus is on adults 15 years and over. The sample group of adults is the panel. The sample is divided into four rotation groups, and a different rotation group is interviewed each month. Each round of interviews is called a wave.

The reports are issued in print form in the Census Bureau's P70 series (Household economic studies) and on computer tapes. The survey and the Income Survey Development Program (ISSP) are joint programs of research and development by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Census Bureau.

International Programs Center

This Center is part of the Population Division of the Census Bureau and is responsible for conducting demographic and socioeconomic studies which may be funded by federal government agencies, international organizations, non- governmental organizations, private businesses, and other governments. Some of the documents are available full text on the International Programs Center pages some are available in print or microfiche in the library, and others must be purchased from the Bureau.

Vital Statistics

Vital statistics or events in the United States population are collected at the lower levels of government and not by the federal or national level of government as is done in some countries. The National Center for Health Statistics reports births, marriages and divorces, and deaths based on statistics collected at the local and state levels. These statistics are reported in the annual publication Vital Statistics of the United States and are not part of the decennial censuses data collecting.

Mortality Statistics, 1900-1936. HE20.6210:[YEAR]

Vital Statistics of the United States, 1937 to date. Issued annually in three volumes of birth, marriage and divorce, and death.
HE 20.6210:1945 SSRC-DOCS

Census Schedules /Personal Names (Genealogy Information)

Census Bureau maintains an Internet page on genealogy ( but does not provide the data. The Bureau maintains an information page Factfinder for the Nation: Availability of census records about individuals. The census of population schedules with names are transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration with the provision that they reamin closed for 72 years following the enumeration to protect individual privacy. At the end of the time the schedules are microfilmed and made available for sale by the National Archives and Records Administration. These microfilm reels are available in several area libraries. Stanford has the complete files up through 1860. Later census microfilm holdings are incomplete at Stanford. Socrates lists the microfilm holdings which are shelved in media-Microtext. Other libraries housing the microfilm include
Other libraries holding these microfilm reels are
Oakland Genealogical Library (510) 531-3905; California State Library in Sacramento (916)445-4149; Pacific Sierra Region (Nara) in San Bruno (415)876-9009; Pacific Southwest Region (Nara) in Laguna Niguel (714)643-4241; UCB Bancroft (510)642-6481; Sutro Library (branch of the California State Library (415)731-4477

National Archives and Records Administration Microfilm Guides

  1. 1790-1890 Federal Population Censuses
    Z7553.C3A17 GreenRef

  2. 1900 Federal Population Census
    Z7553.C3A17 1900 GreenRef

  3. 1910 Federal Population Census
    Z7553.C3A17 1910 GreenRef

  4. 1920 Federal Population Census
    Z7553.C3A17 1920 GreenRef

  5. 1930 Federal Population Census ( )

  6. How to use Nara's Census Microfilm Catalogs

Internet Sites

The Bureau of the Census maintains an Internet page on which it provides new statistics/data which are often updating existing paper documents. Although most of the information and data is current, the Bureau has added some of the retrospective data. The following lists the Census Bureau first followed by other sites which display Census data with value added.

  1. Census Bureau home page

  2. Census State Data Centers

  3. Black Population March 1994 and 1993

  4. Census 2000 (Census Bureau)

  5. Data Extraction System Census Bureau)

    ---- for California

  6. Definitions of Census Geography (Census Bureau)

  7. Definitions of Subject Characteristics (Census Bureau)

  8. Economic Briefing Room (Census Bureau)
    Includes new home sales, construction spending, homeownership, housing starts, household income, and poverty in addition to manufactures and trade statistics.

  9. Geographic Services and Information (Census Bureau)

  10. Housing and Household |Economic Data (Census Bureau)

  11. International Programs Center (Census Bureau)

  12. 1990 Census Lookup Selected (Census Bureau)

  13. Selected Historical Statistical Data (Census Bureau)
    Population of States and Counties 1790-1990
    C 3.2:P81/26 GovDocs Ref print copy

  14. Statistical Brief (Census Bureau)

  15. The Tiger Page: Coast to Coast Digital Map Database

  16. US Gazetteer; identifies places to view with the Tiger Map Server (Censu)

  17. Historical Bay Area Census Population Figures (Abag)

  18. 1990 Census from Abag (Abag)
    Includes census data for the nine Bay Area counties. To locate Choose county or city area and select type of population breakdonw rom pull down menus. Select Census lookup server for tract and Zip code information.

  19. California Department of Finance

  20. Stanford Academic Service
    Information on retrieving and using census statistics/data on computer tapes housed at Stanford.
    ICPSR Data Archive can be searched via the ADS pages.
    As an ICPSR member the Stanford Leland account holders may order and use the ICPSR files. Many of these files are census information on computer tapes and cdroms. The codebooks are available on the computer tape or cdrom or shelved in the Green Stacks or Green Reference.

  21. 1990 Census Data Locator (University of Michigan)

  22. Ipums 98: Integrated Public Use (University of Minnesota) Microdata Service.
    Ipums includes 25 "high-precision" samples of the American population drawn from thirteen federal censuses spanning censuses from 1850 to 1990.

  23. 1990 Census of Population and Housing (University of Oregon) Summary Tape Files 1a and 3a.

  24. U.S. Historical Census Data Browser 1790-1990 (University Virginia)
    Describes the people and the economy of the United States for each state and county for 1790 to 1990. The source is the ICPSR publication, Historical Economic, and Social Data: the United States 1790-1990 and includes data from sources other than the Census Bureau.

  25. University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Demography and Ecology CDE Information Services

  26. Vital Statistics (National Center for Health Statistics)


Last modified: June 17, 2008

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