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Census Research Guide

A guide to understanding and locating data produced by the U.S. Census Bureau

How to Use This Guide

This research guide serves to assist you in finding statistics and data produced through federal decennial censuses and other U.S. Census Bureau products from 1790 to the present.  


When to Use
Population & Housing Statistics Use to find statistics related to population demographics, like age, race, language, employment, education and housing characteristics, using the Decennial Census, the American Community Survey and other products.
Business & Economic Statistics Use to find statistics related to business characteristics, such as ownership, formation and number of employees, using the Economic Census, County Business Patterns and other products.
NJ Census Information Use to find shortcuts to NJ specific statistics and information about the NJ State Data Center.
Historic Schedules & Microdata - Use to find historic census records for specific individuals (1790-1950), historic non-population schedules (1820-1880), and anonymized microdata that can be used to create custom estimates and tables. 

Where to start

Statistics from 2000-present can be found using the following online data tools: 

U.S. Census Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau is a government statistical agency that is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Census Bureau provides important data about the nation's people and economy.

  • Mission -  The Census Bureau's mission is to serve as the nation’s leading provider of quality data about its people and economy.
  • Authority - The Census Bureau operates under Title 13 and Title 26 of the U.S. Code.
  • Goal - The Census Bureau’s  goal is to provide the best mix of timeliness, relevancy, quality and cost for the data the Bureau collects and services the Bureau provides.

News & Releases


Census Geography

Geography is central to the work of the Census Bureau, providing the framework for survey design, sample selection, data collection, tabulation, and dissemination.  Geography provides meaning and context to statistical data.

This diagram shows how the levels of geography relate from the National level down to Census Blocks.

Standard Hierarchy of Census Geographic Entities

Geography Reference Maps

Geography reference maps show the boundaries and names (or other identifiers) of geographic areas for which the Census Bureau tabulates statistical data.


Census Glossary

Official definitions covering all topics, censuses, surveys and programs.

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