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Q:  

I have looked at census data on commuting patterns, but there is no information on the characteristics of the commuters. How can I get data on commuters?

I am interested in the townships surrounding Philadelphia.

I also need maps that show townships for Pennsylvania. I'd like the maps to include major roads.

A:  

Public-use microdata allow one to get characteristics of commuters. The easiest way for you to pull off the variables you wish is to use the extraction interface at the Minnesota Population Center:

You need to register to use the interface, but get immediate access after registration.

http://usa.ipums.org/usa/

The downside to microdata is that you cannot pinpoint the individual down to the census tract or townships in contrast to summary census data. Instead, individuals are grouped into a larger census geography known as Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMAs). These are aggregations of census tracts that sum to a population of 100,000 or more.

You will be able to pull off household characteristics and person characteristics in addition to commuting status (length of commute, type - public transit, car, carpool, etc.), as well as place of work.

The Census Bureau produces an equivalency file that allows you to determine which geographies are in each PUMA. This will allow you to identify where the commuter is coming from, but it will not be a single township like Lower Merion township. A person from Lower Merion township is in PUMA 04006, which also includes Bridgeport borough, Narberth borough, Upper Merion township, West Conshohocken borough, and part of West Norriton township.

Here is a link to PUMA equivalency files.

http://www.psc.isr.umich.edu/dis/data/ref/PUMA/equiv.html

In your case, choose directory style, 5% 2000, Pennsylvania. Search on one of your township names to jump to the relevant PUMAs for Pennsylvania.

You will be able to pull off household characteristics and person characteristics in addition to commuting status (length of commute, type (public, car, carpool, etc.), as well as place of work. The IPUMs extract comes with a codebook and set-up cards for SAS, SPSS, and stata.

The Census Bureau has maps of counties and county subdivisions:

http://www.census.gov/geo/maps-data/maps/cousub2k_maps.html

However, these do not include any other features (roads, rivers, etc.). To get a map that includes this, you will need to use GIS. The University of Michigan has a GIS consultant who can produce maps like these:

http://cscar.research.umich.edu/

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