How to get Census Data by Zipcode

The 2010 US Census has loads of useful data – it can be used for research, market targeting, or even for your business. Information such as population, incomes, land area, race, age, sex, language, housing, and other vital demographics are extremely useful. Data organized by city is too difficult to match up, and by state is not granular enough – but zip code is something everyone can relate to. Unfortunately when you first arrive to the Census Website you can easily get lost.

Here’s how you can get the data you want. Start at the American Fact Finder. First you pick which data you want. Choose the “Topics” button on the left hand side. You’ll see a wealth of categories (People, Housing, Business and Industry, Year, Product Type, Program, Dataset). Drill down into the category you want and choose the piece of data you’re looking for (For example: ‘People: Age & Sex: Age of Householder’).

Then you need to choose how you want it broken down by area. Click the “Geographies” button on the left. To get things separated by zip code, select the ‘5-digit ZIP Code Tabulation Area’. You can limit it by state, or instead choose ‘All  5-digit ZIP Code Tabulation Areas Within United States’.

american fact finder

Now you’ll see a table in the main part of the page which will show you which datasets you can pull this information from. If you want your data to be from the 2010 Census (which is more accurate than the ACS surveys), make sure you choose one from either the “2010 SF1 100% Data” or “2010 SF2 100% Data” (SF1 and SF2 means the Summary File, all population responses, not a portion of the people).

The last step is to choose the file you want, then choose to download it. You’ll notice that it’ll come in weird formats, and it may take you a while to find the exact file you’re looking for. That’s why I have aggregated the most common fields for you by zip in database files ready for MySQL, Excel, Access, Oracle, CSV, and more. Check out this 2010 US Census Demographics Database by Zipcode

It took me a while to learn all the data, but once you get the hang of it it’s pretty useful. Good luck!

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