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Census data is available through the various Summary Tape File (STF) series on CDROM. Each series differs by the information contained and by available geographic
STF 1 contains information collected from the entire population while STF 3 is based on
a sample.
The Technical Documentation for each of the STF series contains definitions of Census
terms and tables showing the menu structure of the information. Refer to those sources
to find what data is available.
How to Search
The Census of Population and Housing is searched through a series of windows leading
to the data. Highlight the desired choice using the up and down arrow keys and select it
by pressing <Enter>. To backtrack, press the Escape key, <Esc>. A menu of options is
available on the bottom line of each screen.
1. Using the up and down arrow keys, select a state and press <Enter>
2. Select a geographic summary level the same way
Some of the entries may be hidden below the screen. Use either the
down arrow key, or the Page Down key to see all the entries.
When searching for data for a city, e.g., Tempe, Mesa, etc., select "Place
When searching for data for Census Tracts select "Census tract/block
numbering areas (Totals)."
3. Select smaller geographic levels as the windows appear.
Typing the first letter of a word moves the cursor to that letter.
For Census Tracts, press F1, then enter your tract number. Press
<Enter> if the number is less than 7 characters.
STF 3B allows retrieval by a known Zip Code or from a list of either place
names or Zip Codes. For a single area, type the Zip Code <Enter> at the
prompt. For the lists, press <Enter> at the prompt and type the first
number for the Zip Code list, or the first letter for place names.
4. Select the desired data using the arrow keys <Enter>
The General Profile is a 2 or 3 page overview of the data. More detailed
information appears in the tables listed after the Profile.
Make sure to check the "Universe" which appears on the top of the
selection list. The Universe is the table's population segment.
On STF 3A and 3B, press K for a Keyword search to narrow the search to
information on only that subject.
The Census Bureau does not classify "Hispanic origin" as a racial
characteristic. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race. Thus, you
will double count Hispanics if you add that number to the other races for
an area.
5. Press B for Browse to see the same number for other areas.
If present, press G for the Glossary, which includes the Census
On STF 1C, pressing G for GeoComp retrieves data for other geographic
summary levels.
Print - Complete Table
This option will print out a complete copy of the table as it appears on the screen. Using
the arrow keys:
1. Select Complete table for this area <Enter>
2. Select Print table to printer <Enter>
3. If directed, press any key to start the printer
If directed, press any key to return to the table
Save to Disk - Complete Table
1. Steps 1 & 2 are the same as above.
3. Type the name of the file.
Print - Single Items
Similar to the browse feature, this option will print a single data item. The areas
downloaded depend on the geographic unit selected, i.e., and counties to counties,
tracts to tracts.
1. Select Single item for several areas <Enter>
2. Select the item you want using the arrow keys and press <Enter>
3. Select Print item to printer <Enter>
4. If directed, press any key to start the printer
Save to Disk - Single Items
1. Steps 1 & 2 are the same as above.
3. Type the name of the file
Geographic Definitions
Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA): Before the 1990 Census these were known as
Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas (SMSA). They have a large population nucleus
and nearby communities which have a high degree of economic and social integration.
MSAs include the city; it’s urbanized area, and the remainder of the county or counties
in which it is located.
Urbanized Area (UA): A central city (or cities) and surrounding closely settled,
contiguous territory that has a population of a least 50,000.
Central City: The largest city, or one of the largest cities, in a Metropolitan Statistical
Area or Urbanized Area.
Place: These can either be incorporated areas, i.e., Tempe, Tucson, or an
unincorporated "Census Designated Place."
Census Designated Place (CDP): A densely settled concentration of population that is
identifiable by name, but is not legally incorporated.
Minor Civil Division (MCD): Primary political or administrative divisions of a nonmetropolitan county such as election districts, towns, or townships.
Census County Division (CCD): Non-metropolitan county subdivisions for states
without legally established Minor Civil Divisions.
Census Tract: A relatively small division of a Metropolitan Statistical Area. Tracts are
designed to be relatively homogeneous for population characteristics, economic status,
etc, and average 4,000 inhabitants.
Block Numbering Area (BNA): Serving the same function as Census Tracts, BNAs are
statistical subdivisions of non-metropolitan counties where tracts are not established.
Block Group: A combination of Census blocks comprising a subdivision of a census
Block: An area bounded on all sides by features such as streets or non-visible
boundaries such as city limits. A block is the smallest geographic tabulation area in the
On the next page are the STF variables that are available to select.
STF 1a
Population Variables
Persons, sex, age, household by type, group quarters, race, urban and rural, detailed
race, Hispanic origin, Hispanic origin by race
Geographic Areas
place (totals)
county (parts)
consolidated city (totals)
county (totals)
census tract/blocks (totals)
block groups (totals)
county subdivisions (totals)
place (parts)
census tract/blocks (parts)
block groups (parts)
American Indian reservation, etc.
congressional district (totals)
STF 1c
Population Variables
Same as 1 A and in addition, occupancy and tenure, units in structure, value, contract
Geographic Areas
United States
county subdivision (10,000 +)
county subdivision (100,000 and in an MSA/CMSA)
place (10,000 +)
American Indian reservation
tribal jurisdiction statistical area
tribal designation statistical area
Alaska native village
county subdivision
place (10,000 +)
consolidated city (10,000 +)
American Indian area
American Indian reservation
Alaska native regional corporation
STF 3a
Population Variables
2300 cells, 39 different characteristics, such as age, sex, race, marital status, ancestry,
employment status, house-hold income, poverty, telephone, gross rent, owner costs,
value, plumbing
Geographic Areas
block numbering areas
block groups
STF 3b
Population Variables
General profiles, persons, families, house-holds, sex, race, Hispanic origin
Geographic Areas
5 digit zip codes
STF 3c
Population Variables
Social characteristics, labor force, income and poverty, housing characteristics,
persons, families, sex, race
Geographic Areas
non-urban and urban
STF 3d
Population Variables
Same as 3 C
Geographic Areas
congressional district
county subdivision
place (10,000 +)
consolidated city (10,000 +)
American Indian area
American Indian reservation
Alaska native regional corporation
Victoria Packard,
Texas A&M at Kingsville
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