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Selecting Rural Data in data.census.gov

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This step-by-step guide from the Rural Health Information Hub shows 2 methods for selecting rural data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s data.census.gov tool, which provides access to a wide range of statistics describing the U.S. population. Learn how to easily identify data for use in rural health grant applications, community health needs assessments, and more.

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Selecting Rural Data in data.census.gov

  1. 1. Finding Statistics and Data Related to Rural Health Selecting Rural Data in data.census.gov March 2020 ruralhealthinfo.org
  2. 2. Begin at https://data.census.gov
  3. 3. ruralhealthinfo.org What are the urban/rural options in data.census.gov? • Urban • Rural • Metropolitan • Micropolitan (large rural) • Not in metropolitan or micropolitan statistical area (small rural) Note: Some data/tables do not include these geographic components.
  4. 4. ruralhealthinfo.org What are examples of possible national comparisons? • U.S. compared to Rural U.S. • Urban U.S. compared to Rural U.S. • U.S. compared to Micropolitan (large rural) compared to Not Metro/Micropolitan (small rural) • Metropolitan compared to Micropolitan (large rural) compared to Not Metro/Micropolitan (small rural)
  5. 5. ruralhealthinfo.org What comparisons are useful for looking at state data? • Rural for your state compared to entire state • Rural for your state compared to Rural U.S. • Rural for state compared to Urban for state • At state level, Metro compared to Micropolitan compared to Not Metro/Micropolitan • Rural for your state compared to rural for neighboring state
  6. 6. ruralhealthinfo.org Two Methods for Selecting Rural Data Method 1: Geography, then Topic Method 2: Topic, then Geography
  7. 7. ruralhealthinfo.org Method 1: Geography, then Topic
  8. 8. Select “Advanced Search”
  9. 9. Under Browse Filters, select “Geography”
  10. 10. For U.S. data, select “Nation”
  11. 11. For comparison, you may first want to select the United States as a whole
  12. 12. Next, click the slider to “Show geographic components”
  13. 13. Click the magnifying glass in the geographic components section
  14. 14. Search for “rural” to narrow the list of geographic options:
  15. 15. Select the choices you want, such as “United States -- Rural”
  16. 16. Now filter by the type of data you are interested in, such as “Topics”
  17. 17. For example, you might be seeking data on veterans
  18. 18. After making your selection, click the “Search” button in the bottom right
  19. 19. The results will list matching tables, maps, and Census web pages
  20. 20. Select the first table and switch the Product to the 5-year ACS estimates
  21. 21. Customization Options To change the display of your table, select “Customize Table” For example, if you want to display only the data columns and not the margin of error, you can toggle that off by clicking it:
  22. 22. You will get detailed data for the geography and topic selected
  23. 23. Advanced search filter hint If you add another filter from the advanced search filters, and the search box does not appear, select the “HIDE” button, top right:
  24. 24. ruralhealthinfo.org Method 2: Topic, then Geography
  25. 25. From the main page, enter your topic, such as “Veterans” and click “Search”
  26. 26. The results will list matching tables, maps, and Census web pages
  27. 27. Select the first table and switch the Product to the 5-year ACS estimates
  28. 28. Click the “Customize Table” button in the upper right
  29. 29. Select “Geographies”
  30. 30. Select “Nation” and “United States”
  31. 31. Next click the “Show geographic components” slider
  32. 32. Click the magnifying glass in the geographic components section
  33. 33. Search for “rural” to narrow the list of geographic options
  34. 34. Select “United States -- Rural”
  35. 35. Similarly, you could switch to State, show geographic components, search for “Colorado” and add geographies
  36. 36. The choices you’ve added appear at the bottom of the screen:
  37. 37. Click the “Close” button in the lower right to go to your updated table
  38. 38. For large tables, use “Hide” to view only the data you need
  39. 39. For example, showing only the percent veterans for each geography
  40. 40. To compare metropolitan, micropolitan (large rural), not metro/micro (small rural), select these
  41. 41. Troubleshooting data.census.gov is a complex and relatively new product. Updates may change how it behaves. It may also behave differently with different browsers. Some tips for common issues: • If your browser has difficulty loading a table, consider selecting fewer geographies at a time. • If your search fails, as a last resort you can click the U.S. Census logo in the upper left to return to the main search page. • Try a different browser if you aren’t getting the results you expect.
  42. 42. U.S. Census resources Guidance for Data Users https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/guidance.html Handbooks for Data Users https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/guidance/handbooks.html • Understanding and Using American Community Survey Data: What All Data Users Need to Know https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2018/acs/ acs_general_handbook_2018.pdf • Understanding and Using American Community Survey Data: What Users of Data for Rural Areas Need to Know https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2019/acs/ ACS_rural_handbook_2019.pdf
  43. 43. For more information on rural data: The Rural Health Information Hub guide Finding Statistics and Data Related to Rural Health https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/ topics/statistics-and-data ruralhealthinfo.org

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