Census and Statistics

One of the main ways to locate statistical information is through American FactFinder, the Census Bureau’s website for data retrieval.  The Census Bureau collects information in a variety of surveys and then provides this information to the survey sponsor.  The Bureau of Justice Statistics, The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the National Center for Education Statistics, the National Center for Health Statistics, the National Science Foundation, and the Social Security Administration are among the sponsors for which the Census Bureau collects data.   

United States Census Bureau

From the Census Bureau site you can retrieve quick facts, updates about census releases, and explanations about the data the Census Bureau collects.  

For the latest news releases and statements the U.S. Census Bureau, choose Information For…Media (Newsroom). Choose Facts for Features on the left-side menu of the Newsroom page, to find statistics for upcoming holidays, commemorative celebrations and months. 

For various reports, tables, and clarifying information on how data is collected on different populations, click on the Browse by Topic tab then choose Population and the group you’d like to explore. 

U.S. Census QuickFacts

QuickFacts provides statistics for all states and counties, and for cities and towns with a population of 5,000 or more. This is a good place to look if you need basic information such as total population, homeownership rates, median income, and population changes for a particular area. Select the desired state from the drop down menu in the Quick Facts section in the center of the page. 

Bay Area Census

In order to make Bay Area statistics more accessible, librarians at the MTC (Metropolitan Transportation Commission) library and ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments) created this website specifically for Bay Area data from 1860 to the present.  Similar to the State and County Quick Facts, this site provides data summaries for population, households, racial/ethnic makeup, income and poverty, employment, and transportation for cities, counties, and census tracts and blocks within the San Francisco Bay Area. It also includes links to national census data from as early as 1790. 

Explore Census Data

This is the Census Bureau’s primary website for retrieving recent census data and replaced American FactFinder as of June 2019.  Data from the two recent censuses 2000 and 2010 can be accessed as well as data from the American Community Surveys, which took the place of the long census form and contain detailed information about communities.  The 1-year survey provides annual estimates for geographic areas with populations of 65,000 or more, the 3-year survey provides estimates for geographic areas with populations of 20,000 and more, while the 5-year survey covers geographic areas with populations less than 20,000.  It is important to remember that these surveys provide estimates only.  The tables will give margins of error, which you should factor into your results. 

Searching Census Data by Topic or Place 

An easy way to search is by using a Boolean subject term or keyword in the search box at the top of the page. 

  • For example, to find information about Family Types in Oakland, enter Family Type and Oakland, CA in the search box. (Remember that there are other cities with the name Oakland, so always use the term Oakland, CA.)
  • Or choose an Advanced search, to filter your search by Topic, Geography, Years, Surveys, and Codes. 

To find more information and data from the American Community Surveys: 

  • Select the Surveys/Programs tab from the top and select American Community Surveys from the dropdown menu 
  • Choose Data from the left side menu  
  • Then select Data Tables & Tools from dropdown menu, here you can search data profiles, narrative profiles, subject tables, etc.  
  • Click on “View All Tables and Tools” button to get a description of all tables. 
  • Select Supplemental Tables from the dropdown menu to search the 1-year survey by geography.  
  • Users may choose Summary File Data for archived data from the 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year surveys. 

Historic Census Data

Historic census data from 1790-2010 is contained on this site.  The files are large and take a long time to open so make sure to allow plenty of time when viewing the files.  

Oakland Public Library has the following print copies of census data at the Main Library:

  • 1940-1970: Population and Housing, mainly for California
  • 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940 and 1980, 1990: U.S. State Population and Housing (includes (California) 
  • 2000: Demographic profiles for S.F. Bay Area

The Main Library also has the following information on CD Rom:

  • 1994-2000: Export Information
  • 1986-2006: County Business Patterns

A microfiche collection is available at the Main Library for the 1980 census.    

Mapping America: Census Bureau’s 2006-2009 American Community Survey

This website, hosted by the New York Times, allows for quick searching for 2005-2009 data by city using an interactive map.  Searches can be done at the block level.  You can search by entering an address or zip code in the search box and clicking Go.  Next drag your mouse over the various census tracts for population percentage estimates.  

You can also search by clicking on View More Maps, then choose from the topics on the left.  This allows you to search by Race and Ethnicity, Income, Housing & Families, and Education. 

The data on this site is based on samples so please keep in mind that the results should be viewed as estimates rather than hard facts. 

Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1878-2012

The Statistical Abstract of the United States contains social, political, and economic statistics for the United States.  Most of the data in the Statistical Abstract is national, but there are some tables, such as population, representing data from metropolitan areas. 

Until 2012, The Statistical Abstract was produced by the U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistical Compendium Program and was distributed to depository libraries and available in online format free-of-charge. Due to budget cuts, the Statistical Compendium Program was abolished in 2012. That same year Bernan Press began publishing The Statistical Abstract. Oakland Public Library has print copies from Bernan Press beginning in 2013 but does purchase online access. Online data from 1878-2012 will remain available on the Census Bureau’s website at the URL listed above. 

To search a particular edition scroll down the page, choose the appropriate year to view that publication. 

Find data about the U.S., such as maps and population, demographic, and economic data. This government website is designed to retrieve statistics from more than 100 federal agencies.  

To search by agency: 

  • Choose “Find Data and Statistics from the Government.” You may search by federal government data and statistics by agency When searching the agencies by subject or topic, you will be directed to the agency’s website.
  • Need help finding the U.S. government department or agency you want to search? Click here. Agencies are listed alphabetically.