Let's say that we are looking to find Census data that reflectss how many Vietnamese people settled in the Puget Sound region following the Vietnam War (1959-1975). We would want to start by defining the chronological and geographical scope that we're interested in:
Now, we're ready to use one of the Census tools linked to above. Since we're interested in historical data dating back before 2000, we'll want to use Social Explorer.
Remember that it may be helpful to put the Census data that you find into context by comparing the growth of a particular group to the growth of the population as a whole. For example, the Seattle Vietnamese population grew from 2,601 (in 1980) to 13,252 (in 2010) -- a growth rate of over 400%! In comparision, Seattle's population over that same time period only grew by 23%. Nationwide, the Vietnamese population grew from 261,729 (in 1980) to 1,548,449 (in 2010) -- a growth rate of nearly 500%!
Note: if you can't find the historic census data that you're interested in on Social Explorer, you may be able to find the data that you're looking for in our print Census volumes at the Suzzallo Library. Not everything is online! Contact Kian Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Social Explorer provides this model for citing using the Chicago format:
Data source. Title of table, dates. Prepared by Social Explorer. permalink URL (date accessed).
U.S. Census Bureau. Population Density, 1960. Prepared by Social Explorer. (accessed Jul 27 13:58:03 EST 2010).
Title of map, dates. Social Explorer, permalink URL (based on data from <identify data source>; date accessed).
Population Density, 1960. Social Explorer, (based on data from U.S. Census Bureau; accessed Jul 27 17:16:03 EST 2010).
The census is a decennial (every 10 year) count of all people and households in the country. Information gathered during the census can include race, income, education level and more for a state, city and down to a census tract level (an area composed of approximately 1200 to 8000 people).
Keep in mind
Printed copies of the statistical census volumes are housed in the Government Publications Section on the ground floor of Suzzallo Library.
How to use census information
For more information on using census data see: Making Sense of Numbers, Census Data, Measuring America: The Decennial Censuses from 1790 to 2000 & How to Use the Census Bureau's American Community Survey Like a Pro.