Things to See and Do
On the Missouri Census Data
Center Web Site
JGB, May, 2008
What to Look For
MCDC Highlights (home page news)
Access to data from the Census Bureau and
other public sources
Specializing in Missouri data, but…
Most of our more current data are available
for the entire US
Many dynamic web apps that let you select
the exact data you want
Large data archive accessible via web
query tools (Uexplore/Dexter)
Be Sure Not to Miss…
MABLE/Geocorr geographic utility
MCDC Mapper dynamic map application(s)
Population Estimates: page/web apps
(including pop projections for Mo)
American Community Survey (ACS) page
ACS Profile reports
The Questions/Comments buttons at
the bottom of most pages.
What (Some) Users Tell Us About Site
It’s not that easy to use for first time or casual
There is quite a bit of jargon & acronyms: SF’s,
ACS, PUMAs, MOEs, BEA, dp3_2k, sample vs
complete count data, block groups, …
The profile reports are very helpful and are well-
You can get data here you cannot get anywhere
else, but you have to know where & how to look.
The A to Z index needs work.
What (Some) Users Tell Us (2)….
I would rather eat glass than try to figure
out what Uexplore/Dexter is all about.
Disappointed to learn that so much of your
data is so old (2000 census)
You should do more maps and charts.
You don’t really expect anybody to read all
those Readme & Usage Notes files, do
Uexplore/Dexter is the coolest app on the
web (except maybe for geocorr).
about the MCDC web site
All you have is (decennial) census data.
All you have is data for Missouri.
You guys can tell me what all the data
mean and can even do economic
forecasts over the phone.
You have current data for census tracts
and ZIP codes
The MCDC site is really just OSEDA with
a different set of style sheets.
Displayed on the right side of most
MCDC web pages
ACS Profile Reports (2006)
Currently (it changes over time) the first entry in
the Quick Links navigation box.
ACS=American Community Survey.
The ACS is like a decennial census, only every
year and with MOEs.
MOE=Margin Of Error, a measure of the
limitations of the data due to sampling error.
Modeled after the Data Profiles available from
the AFF (Census Bureau) web site.
You select up to 4 areas
And the profile report magically appears…
Features of the ACS Profile Reports
4 broad-subject sub-profiles (D/E/S/H)
Multiple areas makes comparison easier.
Note the Move cursor over a value for one second ..
directive. Try it. (Does not work if window does
not have focus.)
Note that we have Numbers and Percents.
Compare this with Data Profiles from AFF.
Try clicking on one of the table titles.
Note link to a Usage Notes page.
It’s a Feature, Not a Bug
The values in the report are displayed in 3
Bold, normal and nearly invisible.
Where would you go to find an
Hint: Where would you never go unless you
were absolutely desperate?
Read the friendly Usage Notes.
Features of the ACS Profile - 2
Lots of links: to metadata, to data archive,
to main menu page, to charts , etc.
An entire row of links at the bottom of the
page. You should try them all at least
Note that one of the links will take you to
the ubiquitous Dexter.
Excel users can do a Select-all/Copy/Paste
sequence to convert the report to an Excel
SF3 Profiles: Our “Best Seller”
Old-style drill-down menu system to select
a single geographic area.
Slight Missouri bias: more geog. levels
available for MO; KS and IL also have
more (census tracts and block groups).
Data is based on the 2000 Census,
something the Bureau calls “Summary File
3”. Code name is “dp3_2k profile” (data
profile based on sf3, 2k census).
Sf3 Profiles: The Missouri menu page…
SF3 Profile Features, Notes
Gets the most “hits” of any of our dynamic
web apps. About 20,000 hits per month in
Has many features similar to the acsprofile
app. Like links to a Usage Notes page
and a similar “related links” bar at bottom.
SF3 tables column contains drill-down
links. Try clicking on the P87 link in table
“Drill down” on the P87 Table Links
If You Enjoyed SF3 Profiles….
We have others that are similar.
We have trend profiles that display data
for two points in time (censuses).
We have data based on SF1, also a
For details follow the Profile Products (2k)
link in the Navy Blue Navigation Box.
Circular Area Profiles
What is CAPS?
CAPS (circular area profiling system) is a
dynamic web app where the user fills out a form
identifying a point (typically based on an address
or street intersection) and 1 or more radii of
The program tries to approximate the circles
based on the center point and radii by choosing
all small geographic areas whose centroids fall
within the circle.
The census data for these small areas is
aggregated and the results displayed in a report
that has the same content as our sf3 (“dp3_2k”)
Notes re CAPS
Not very accurate for small circles (<1 mile
usually not good).
Uses almost all 2k census data except for a
recent pop estimate and a 5-year projection.
Front-end page provides links to on-line
geocoders that let you enter an address and get
We recommend that you use these geocoders
and use copy/paste to enter the coordinate
values into the boxes on the CAPS form.
CAPS web page
Sample CAPS report
Interested in gory detail?
Then Detailed SF3 Profiles
Should be of Interest
From the 2nd menu page choose the city and the profile
MCDC/OSEDA Missouri County Data Map
Click on Jackson county to get this…
Missouri County Data Map
Is just a front-end for the applinks dynamic web
application for Missouri counties.
There are many applications you can invoke on
the web where the URL can be readily derived
from an area’s FIPS code(s).
Most of the links are to our stuff, but several
important ones are not. If we could get the world
(and the Census Bureau in particular) to create
“URL-able” web applications we could link to
Clicking on the acsprofiles link takes us to where we came in…
Suggested exercises for would-be data literate
persons (especially Missourians)
1. Choose your favorite county off the
Missouri county data map.
2. Follow every one of the application links,
even the one to Stats Indiana.
3. Be sure to follow all the links to usage
notes and other online help pages
associated with the applications. (fat chance)
4. Even follow the 2 links at the bottom.
5. Tell your friends/colleagues; e-mail the
Applinks Master Menu
You can get here from our Quick Links
box. It’s just below Mo County Data Map.
Use the latter (MCDM) if you just want
apps for Missouri counties. Use the
Master Menu when you want a different
kind of geography or a state other than
Note that we have included the usage
notes right there on the main menu page.
(Saved you a click!)
Took us 3 clicks to get here:
We have a different list of applications for this
non-Mo place. Applinks has logic built in to
know which links should work.
Note links at the top of page to “parent”
geography (US >> Illinois), and at the bottom to
a menu of “sibling” geography (other places in
Follow the link to “Illinois”. Note the menu bar at
the top of the state page that takes you to menu
pages for 4 kinds of sub-state geography.
Geography at the MCDC
Is very important. It is one of the house
For the most part, we are talking about census
geography, i.e. geographic entities recognized
by the Census Bureau and used in their data
We start here with two Quick Links and later
we’ll see two more key links, including one to a
sophisticated GIS-based site. (MCDC Mapper)
A user favorite since 1996.
Geographic utility that generates lists of
geographic codes/names and shows how
different layers are related.
Uses algebra instead of geometry.
The (2k) refers to the current version that
uses 2000 census blocks as the
underlying basic unit.
There is also a 1990 version. (Linked to)
Some Things Geocorr Can Do
List every county in 12 states with their
FIPS codes and tell you what metro area
they are in, if any.
List every ZIP code (“ZCTA”) in Missouri
and tell you what portion of it is rural.
Create an Excel file for the entire U.S.
showing how counties relate to PUMAs.
Generate a list of every CBSA (core-based
statistical area) in all or selected states
and show their 2006 estimated population.
To Learn More about MABLE/Geocorr
It has its own ppt tutorial, linked to from
the application page.
MABLE is the underlying database used
by the geocorr engine. The MAGGOT file
(linked to just above the twin Geocode
select lists) provides background info re all
the geographic units.
The help and examples pages are linked
to from the application page as well.
A Cure for the Common Codes
Nothing complicated. Just a handy place
to go for all your geographic coding needs.
A menu page with Usage Notes and links
to the geocode pages for each state and
for the U.S.
End Quick Links
For more things to see and do
see the NB2 portion.