Archives for census data



Who Lived in Your House in 1940?

Here’s a splendid diversion if you’re a data nerd, a history buff, or even just like good detective work: Tell the story of the family that lived in your house in 1940. 

A bit more background.  If you are in the United States, you probably remember participating in the Decennial Census in 2010.  These forms are kept confidential for 72 years—roughly an average American’s life span.  But this same rule means that today (actually, a couple of days ago), the 1940 Census results became public information.  The good folks at the National Archives have scanned all of these census forms, and put them all online. With a bit of work, you should be able to find your house—or if you are in a newer neighborhood, perhaps a neighboring house. Read More »



Hispanic Population Growth Now Driven More by Births, Not Immigration

From a Pew Research Center analysis of the latest Census data:

In the decade from 2000 to 2010, the Mexican-American population grew by 7.2 million as a result of births and 4.2 million as a result of new immigrant arrivals. This is a change from the previous two decades when the number of new immigrants either matched or exceeded the number of births.

The current surge in births among Mexican-Americans is largely attributable to the immigration wave that has brought more than 10 million immigrants to the United States from Mexico since 1970. Between 2006 and 2010 alone, more than half (53%) of all Mexican-American births were to Mexican immigrant parents. As a group, these immigrants are more likely than U.S.-born Americans to be in their prime child-bearing years. They also have much higher fertility.

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Detroit is Dying… Quickly

New Census data shows that Detroit lost a quarter of its population in the last decade, some 273,000 people. That’s the fastest decline in the history of an American city with more than 100,000 people, leaving Detroit smaller than it was in 1920. Read More »



Interstate Migration Has Fallen Less Than You Think

One of the exceptional things about the U.S. is how mobile our workers are. It means that worker shortages in North Dakota won’t last long, as workers will move there from jobless Nevada. There’s been a lot of concern that the housing crisis has halted this important adjustment mechanism. According to the Census Bureau, the number of people moving across state lines has plummeted in recent years. Problem is: It’s just not true. Read More »



Can You Trust Census Data?

Let’s start with the 2000 Decennial Census. Your responses to the Census were used for two purposes. First, the Census Bureau tallied up every response to produce its official population counts. And second, it produced a 1-in-20 sub-sample of these responses, which it made available for analysis by researchers. Just about every economist I know has used this Census sub-sample, as do a fair number of demographers, sociologists, political scientists, and private-sector market researchers. Read More »



Because Elections Are Determined by the Median Voter

The folks at the Census Bureau have just finished compiling the most recent data on income distribution. I’m betting that the following chart will get a lot of political play: Yes, median real household income was lower last year than in 2000. Read More »



Freakonomics in the Times Magazine: Laid-Back Labor

In their May 6, 2007, column for the New York Times Magazine, Dubner and Levitt wonder: Why do Americans spend so much time and money performing menial tasks when they don’t have to? What’s with all the knitting, gardening, and – as the Census Bureau dubs it – “cooking for fun”? Why do we fill our hours with leisure activities that look an awful lot like work? Click here to read the article and here to comment. This blog post supplies additional research material. Read More »