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Urban Policy & Planning

Curated Data Resources

U.S. Census Data

There are many ways to access U.S. Census data.  At Hunter, we frequently use:

Social Explorer to access all census data, both historical and more current. Decennial Census and American Community Surveys are both available.

In New York City, Population FactFinder is also a great resource. It features many of the most popular fields from a recent American Community Survey dataset for New York City.  Using Population FactFinder, you can also compile the necessary tracts that compose a single neighborhood.


The census tract is often used in demographic analysis, particularly in the 100-level Urban Studies courses. As a small and relatively permanent unit of data, it can be helpful in understanding the demographics of a particular community or neighborhood, and can also show change in the community or neighborhood over time.

If you need to identify a census tract for a research project, try one of these three methods:

  1. For a census tract in NYC (within the 5 boroughs), use the NYC Dept of Planning Population FactFinder.
  2. For all U.S. addresses (including those in NYC), use U.S. Census Geocoding Tool
  3. If  you're more of a visual person (or a map person), use the Social Explorer maps (Explore maps >> United States).
    When you get to the map, use the magnifying glass symbol (for search) and enter your address (no apartment numbers).  It will find you on the map, and then you can mouse over to see census tract.

Data Visualization

Data visualization can be an effective way to make effective arguments with data.

There are a number of free, publicly accessible tools that you can use to create data visualizations. A quick search for "free data visualization tools" on your favorite search engine should turn up some good ones.