U.S. Census Resources on the Web
Introduction to the 2000 Census

Table of Contents
More information on the web, less in print
Data collected by the Census
Changes in race reporting - highlights
Changes in geography - highlights

More Census information on the web, less in print

The Census Bureau is relying mainly on Internet for distributing data and reports from the 2000 Census.

For links to and brief descriptions of some of the web sites with Census data for the U.S. and Wisconsin, see Selected Web Sites With 2000 Census Data, http://www.library.wisc.edu/guides/govdocs/census/2000site.htm

American Fact Finder (AFF)

The primary vehicle for distribution on the web is the American FactFinder (AFF): http://factfinder.census.gov/

AFF allows you to create quick tables, detailed tables, thematic maps, and reference maps.

AFF uses JavaScript. It works best with Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher, but also works with Netscape 4.5 or higher. It does not work with Netscape 6.0.

For a slightly longer description of AFF, see http://www.library.wisc.edu/guides/govdocs/census/2000site.htm#aff

AFF Tutorial

Grace York of the University of Michigan has done a very thorough tutorial for AFF (including interactive exercises), available at:

Print and DVD products in libraries

Fewer printed reports will be distributed to federal depository libraries. However, federal depository libraries (such as Memorial Library) will receive some printed reports (especially for their own states), and can assist you in obtaining print materials. They will also eventually receive materials on DVD disks.

Need help?

If you need assistance using the electronic reports or data, please contact a federal depository library or state data center.

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Data collected & tabulated by the Census

The Census Bureau asks six questions of all Census respondents; the resulting data is called "100% data". The Bureau asks another 47 questions of about 17% of all respondents; the resulting data is called "sample data."

100% data

Six questions were asked of all Census respondents. The resulting data is found in the 100% data (also known as Summary File 1 (SF1)) reports and products.

The data items in the 100% data are:
Household relationship Sex Age
Hispanic origin Race Tenure (Own or Rent)

100% data by detailed race categories

Summary File 1 data is show by a few broad race and Hispanic or Latino categories. Summary File 2 (SF 2) data is shown for many detailed race and Hispanic or Latino categories, and American Indian and Alaska Native tribes.

Sample data

Sample data (also known as Summary File 3 (SF3)) is data gathered from a subset, or sample, of the population. In the 2000 Census, about 17% of U.S. households were asked to fill out a long-form survey, going into more detail about demographics, education, income, employment, and housing. These samples are weighted to be representative of the larger population. The sample size varies with the density of population in a given area.

The data items in the sample data are:
Population items
Ancestry Citizenship, and year of entry Class of worker
Disability Educational attainment Grandparents as caregivers
Income in 1999 Industry Journey to work
Labor force status Language spoken at home Marital status
Occupation Place (state or foreign country) of birth Place of work
Residence 5 years ago (mgration) School enrollment Veteran status
Work status in 1999
Housing items
Farm residence House heating fuel Kitchen facilities
Number of bedrooms Plumbing facilities Rent paid
Rooms in unit Selected monthly owner costs (shelter costs):
  • Condominium fee
  • Insurance
  • Mortgage costs
  • Mobile home costs
  • Taxes
  • Utilities and fuels
Telephone service available
Units in structure Value of home Vehicles available
Year moved into unit Year structure built

Sample data by detailed race categories

Summary File 3 data is shown by a few broad race and Hispanic or Latino categories. With Summary File 4 (SF 4) the data are shown down to the census tract level for 336 race, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian and Alaska Native, and ancestry categories.

Census forms

If you'd like to see the exact wording and order of the Census questions, you can find links to PDF versions of the long and short forms for both 2000 and 1990 at:

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Changes in race reporting - highlights

In each Census, the Census Bureau collects data on respondents' race. There are several changes in race reporting in the 2000 Census of which users should be aware. The changes mean that data on race from the 2000 Census are not directly comparable to data on race from earlier censuses.

Reporting more than one race

The biggest change in how the 2000 Census deals with race is that for the first time, respondents had the option to report more than one race on the Census form. Respondents could choose up to six races from the following list:

  • American Indian and Alaska Native (extra space to designate tribe)
  • Asian (extra space to denote Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Asian Indian, Korean, and Vietnamese or Some Other Asian)
  • Black or African American
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (extra space to denote Native Hawaiian, Samoan, and Guamanian or Chamorro or Some Other Pacific Islander)
  • White
  • Some Other Race (Fill in the blank)

How race data is reported

Different Census reports/products go into different levels of detail about race. For example, in the Public Law 94-171 (redistricting) file, data is shown for 63 racial categories. In the Demographic Profiles, data is shown for seven mutually exclusive and exhaustive categories:
  • White alone
  • American Indian and Alaska Native alone
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone
  • Two or more races
  • Black or African American alone
  • Asian alone
  • Some other race alone

For more information, see the Census Bureau's Questions and Answers for Census 2000 Data on Race:

Some other changes in race reporting

In 1990 Asian and Pacific Islanders were included in one single category called "Asian and Pacific Islanders." For the 2000 Census and beyond, this category has been split into "Asians" and "Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders."

"Asian" includes these subcategories:
  • Chinese
  • Filipino
  • Korean
  • "Some Other Asian"
  • Japanese
  • Asian Indian
  • Vietnamese

"Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders" includes these subcategories:
  • Native Hawaiian
  • Guamanian or Chamorro
  • Samoan
  • "Some Other Pacific Islander"

In 1990, the Native American category was called "American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut." Starting with Census 2000, it is called "American Indian and Alaska Native."

Reporting Hispanic heritage in the Census

"Hispanic" is not considered a racial category; it is a separate question. People who identify their origin as Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino may be of any race. This also was the case in 1990.

There was a change in the question order with the 2000 Census. In the 1990 Census, the Hispanic origin question followed the race question. For the 2000 Census, the Hispanic origin question precedes the race question.

For more information...

...see the Census Bureau's Questions and Answers for Census 2000 Data on Race:

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Changes in geography - highlights

The Census has a geography all its own. Geographic entities range from the common, like "state," to the more specialized and arcane, like "census tract," to terms that have a unique definition in the context of the census, like "place."

If you're not familiar with Census geography, you may want to take a look at the Census Bureau's glossary, Geographic Terms and Concepts: http://www.census.gov/geo/www/tiger/glossry2.html

There have been changes in Census geography since the 1990 Census. The Census Bureau's Geographic Changes for Census 2000 + Glossary (http://www.census.gov/geo/www/tiger/glossary.html) explains the changes in a question-and-answer format. Some of the changes are listed below.

Some changes in geographic entities for 2000

There are no block numbering areas (BNAs); they have been replaced by census tracts.

Data tabulations for 2000 differentiate between federally recognized American Indian tribes and tribes recognized only by state governments.

Some new geographic entities for 2000

Hawaiian home lands (HHLs): lands held in trust for Native Hawaiians by the State of Hawaii, pursuant to the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920, as amended.

State legislative districts (SLDs): the districts from which members are elected to state legislatures. These are the districts from 2000, and the tabulations/boundaries for SLDs will probably not change with post-2000 redistricting. Ten states--Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, and Texas--did not provide SLD boundaries.

Urban clusters consist of densely settled territory that has at least 2,500 people but fewer than 50,000 people. An urban cluster central place functions as the dominant center of a UC. The U.S. Census Bureau identifies one or more central places for each UC, with a preference for the most populous incorporated place(s).
Related terms: An urbanized area (UA) consists of densely settled territory that contains 50,000 or more people. Rural consists of all territory, population, and housing units located outside of UAs and UCs.

ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs): statistical geographic entities that approximate the delivery areas for U.S. Postal Service five-digit or three-digit ZIP Codes. ZCTAs are aggregations of census blocks that have the same predominant ZIP Code associated with the addresses in the U.S. Census Bureau's Master Address File. The ZIP Code® Tabulation Area (ZCTA™) Frequently Asked Questions page is at http://www.census.gov/geo/ZCTA/zctafaq.html

For more information...

...see the Census Bureau's

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U.S. Census Resources on the Web | Government Documents at Memorial Library |
Memorial Library Home Page | UW-Madison Libraries

Page created 8/01; last updated on 9/28/04.

Created and maintained by:

Beth Harper
Government Documents Reference Librarian
276 Memorial Library
728 State St
Madison WI 53706
(608) 262-9852