In addition to serving data, Census Reporter wants to help you understand how to use it. Let us know if there are topics you’d like to see us explain.


Pages describing the concepts and tables covered by the Census and American Community Survey.

About the Census

Getting Started

The Census is a big subject and there's a lot to learn, but you don't have to learn it all at once. Here's some help knowing the lay of the land.

About the Census

A brief overview of the many data products produced by the Census Bureau, most of which are not available through Census Reporter.


Geography is fundamental to the Census Bureau's process of tabulating data. Here are the key concepts you need to understand.

Table Codes

While Census Reporter hopes to save you from the details, you may be interested to understand some of the rationale behind American Community Survey table identifiers.

Census Subjects

Age and Sex

How the Census approaches the topics of age and sex.


The ACS gathers data on self-reported ancestry, whether or not respondents were born in the United States.


Tables concerning Children. Helpful to consider in relation to Families.


Since its creation, the ACS has asked questions about citizenship, place of birth, and year of entry into the U.S.


Commute data from the American Community Survey.

Computers and Internet

Data on computer use and internet access from the ACS, and why it’s collected.


The ACS collects data on six different kinds of difficulty to help communities provide adequate housing, health care, and assistance


The ACS collects data both about people currently enrolled in school, as well as the highest level attained by those no longer enrolled.


While the ACS is not always the best source for employment data, it provides interesting information for small geographies that other sources don’t cover.


Families are an important topic in the ACS and a key framework for considering many kinds of data.

Group Quarters

The ACS has special processes for gathering and reporting data about people who live in college dormitories, nursing facilities, military barracks, and correctional facilities.

Health Insurance

The ACS has a number of questions that deal with health insurance and many corresponding tables.


In addition to questions about people, Census collects extensive data about housing, including costs and physical characteristics of homes.

Income and Earnings

How the Census approaches the topic of income.


Information about which languages survey respondents speak at home and their relative proficiency in English.

Marital Status

The ACS presents data on people's current marital status, how many people's status changed in the last year, and their marital history.


How the Census deals with migration data.


Poverty data and how it is used within the ACS.

Public Assistance

Public assistance data from the ACS.

Race and Hispanic Origin

Race is a complex issue, and no less so with Census data. A large proportion of Census tables are broken down by race.

Same-Sex Couples

How the ACS deals with same-sex relationships is changing rapidly.


In addition to basic Census data about age, there are a small number of Census tables which focus directly on data about older Americans, and on grandparents as caregivers.

Technical Tables

A subset of tables in the ACS provide information about technical details about how each survey was administered.

Veterans and Military

Data collected about past and present members of the U.S. Armed Forces.