Written by: Jeff Sisson, Program Manager, Data Access and Dissemination Systems, Decennial Systems and Contracts Management Office
The U.S. Census Bureau released the completely redesigned American FactFinder (AFF) on January 18. The new AFF provides a fresh look, new tools and easier ways to access data from some of the biggest and most popular Census Bureau programs. The system will eventually contain 250 billion data cells in more than 40,000 tables.
The new AFF is initially released to support the release of the data from the 2010 Census and will also include data from the 2000 Census and the 2008 Population Estimates. By mid- to late-summer of 2011, the new AFF will include data from the American Community Survey, the Economic Census and a number of the annual economic surveys.
The new AFF was designed to provide easy access to Census Bureau data for nonexpert users without sacrificing detail for expert users. The new AFF will allow all users easier and more efficient access to data by simplifying search and navigation, using topic, geography or industry based search and navigation terms. Users no longer need to know the content of various Census Bureau surveys in order to quickly find the appropriate information.
Among the enhanced features and functions of the new version are:
- A more robust, powerful search engine, making searches for statistics simpler and more topic-driven. Searches will enable users to select predefined topics, geographies, population groups or industry codes to search for data and then to quickly obtain search results, including tables to view or download.
- Enhanced table manipulation features, allowing users to quickly modify a table, permitting them to show or hide rows or columns, collapse or expand groups of data in the table, rearrange the rows and columns, sort rows in ascending and descending order and filter rows of a table.
- Advanced mapping capabilities, permitting users to see geographic patterns in the data by viewing the data on a map, manipulating the map with a zoom-in tool and personalizing the map by changing colors, displaying boundaries and features, and adding points or text.
- Enhanced address search functions, allowing users to enter a street address and see all the data available for that area.
The Census Bureau is also planning continued updates to the new AFF to introduce new functionalities and innovations in data dissemination in the future. The old American FactFinder will continue to be operational until all data have been transitioned to the new AFF by fall 2011.
The new AFF can be found at: http://factfinder2.census.gov.
You can view an online virtual tour of the site and a number of tutorials demonstrating the functionality of the site at: http://factfinder.census.gov/home/saff/aff2.html.