New Ways to Find a Fact

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Written by: Jeff Sisson

 Have you ever wondered about the median income of your hometown? Or maybe you just want to know the population. These are some of the questions our data users often ask, and it is feedback we are listening to as we continue to evolve American FactFinder from the version first released two years ago.  Over the past 12 months, we have been working to improve American FactFinder based on feedback we have received since the initial launch in January 2011.

Today we released two enhancements to help FactFinder users find the statistics they need, whether they are experienced with our site or brand new to it. Community Facts will give users easy access to data about a state, city, town or ZIP code. Once you enter a geography, just hit “go” and you will have immediate access to popular facts, such as total population, median age, educational attainment, median household income and individuals below the poverty level. For example, when I look up my hometown of Ithaca, New York (the town of Ithaca), I find the median income is $60,029.

Screenshot of Community Facts

You can then explore related tables linked below each fact to see more statistics from popular data sets, such as the American Community Survey, which provides annual detailed local-level statistics for even the smallest areas.

In addition, if you need a little more help navigating to a specific statistic, you can now use our Guided Search feature. It will lead you step by step through your search, starting with asking you what type of information you need (such as information about people, housing or business and industry) and then asking you to narrow down by topic, geography (such as a city, town or even census tract), and in some cases races or ethnicity. If you are not familiar with using our data, this may be the option for you.

Screenshot of Guided Search

For experienced data users, never fear, you can still use the FactFinder you are familiar with by going to the Advanced Search option. And while not as significant as Community Facts or Guided Navigation, we have improved advanced search by enhancing the Search Within Results features as well as other minor enhancements.  In addition, you will now find a link from the FactFinder home page to download options, which provides information about the various ways you can download data from American FactFinder, as well as links to other download resources.

These updates are based on your feedback and are just one of the ways we are making our statistics and information easier to find, share, download and customize.

As we continue to measure America’s people, places and economy, we are giving you a variety of tools to access the data. The API we released last summer provides developers with the opportunity to create their own apps using Census Bureau data. Casual users can also find answers to a variety of data questions from visiting the census.gov homepage and using either QuickFacts or Easy Stats.

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