How to Find the Number of Eligible ChildrenIn Your Service Area - Fast

--- Updated July 24, 2012


The US Census Department is still the most reliable and up-to-date source of data on the number and characteristics of eligible children and their families in your service area -- short of going door to door yourself. This Guide will help you find the required Community Assessment data under section 1305.3 c 1 and some of the required elements under section 1305.3.c4 of the Community Assessment Protocols.

Data Set: The 2010 Census (10 year diennial census) has valuable information, but the # of children in poverty under the age of five are now only available through the annual American Community Survey The ACS asks more detailed information such as the income, ethnicity, and disability of all members of the surveyed household. While the 10 year census attempts to count every person and every household, the ACS goes to just a sample of households each year through a combination of phone and mail questionnaires. The ACS can estimate the number and percent of families and children in poverty by race, ethnicity, year of age, and other key details at the census tract level.

Topics: The easiest and most reliable way to access census data is to use pre-defined tables found through the Factfinder2 interface. The 10 year census has a smaller range of table topics.

Geographies: These include state, county, county subdivision, place, zipcode, census tract, census block, and Native and Tribal Areas. Different datasets

Year: In addition to the latest 10 year Census and its variations, there are 3 datasets for the ACS, 1 year estimates (for communities or other geographies over 65,000 in population); 3 year average (greater than 20,000) and 5 year averages (less than 20,000 people). Over 5 years, every geographical unit is supposed to be reached. ( Explanation of ACS and other datasets here). To keep things simple, we’ll use the 5-year rolling estimate here.

NOTES: This guide covers the new web site interface installed in 2012. These instructions were created using Chrome, a free browser supported by Google, under the Apple OS X 10.7.4 operating system. The Census Bureau recommends Firefox or MS Explorer. There may variations that result from your operating system and preferred browser, switch browsers (download Firefox free if need be).



NOTE: There are many ways to maneuver through Factfinder2 is like a multi-dimensional labyrinth, there are many choices at every stage. Follow the bread crumbs below! The instructions are for speed and efficiency, but feel free another time to enjoy browsing main site for all the many other information and features, as well as the other byways of Factfinder2!

These steps are the most direct route.

A. Poverty status and Number of Children 5 and under


Step 2: Select Geography

Select County (or whatever geography level you choose. Scroll down to see all)

Select your state’s name

Select your county name, or highlight one or more county names and click “Add.” You can select more than one county at a time. Use “Command – Click” (on Mac) to highlight multiples and then click “Add.”

NOTE: Your selections will be recorded in the upper left corner. You can delete/clear any or all your selections here and below at any time in that box. But, until you do so, previous selections apply—sometimes that results in no table that matches your criteria.

Step 3: TOPICS - Select TOPICS. A window with a list of topics appears. - PEOPLE AGE AND SEX AGE . These are added to Selections in upper left. - CLOSE the Topics window.

A list of tables meeting your selection criteria now remains. click on name of B17001. POVERTY STATUS … BY SEX BY AGE 5-year ACS estimate (make sure it’s 2006-2010, or later)

NOTE: You can go back up and change the Geography to Place, or Zipcode, or Census Tracts at any time. If available, you’ll get another list. Scroll and “Add” those too. You should see a growing list of geographies at the bottom of the page. Each geographic level will generate its own table. [Comparative Geographies is another kind of option for some of the ACS datasets – this option creates tables in which the desired data is in columns side by side.]

Step 4: The table appears. Modify to uncheck any rows or columns you don’t like.

Step 5: Download choose Excel format Download. Wait until File is Built and click Download again.

In Safari, your downloaded file will be in the upper right corner; In Chrome, in the lower left. - Open in your own hard-drive and give it a reasonable name and - Save to the folder you want it in.

NOTES: You can also download the data as a “rich text” RTF (readable by nearly all text or spreadsheet programs, including Google docs and Excel and Word), but the Excel format file is easiest for further calculations and formatting for print. The CSV (2 files) choice is optimal for a download that can easily be read as input data by a GIS mapping application OR be imported into Excel for final prepping for mapping. CSV format produces a file consisting of one row (the top) of variable or column headers, followed by rows of data.

Other Useful Eligiblility Files: Table B09001 provides numbers for groups of children <3, 3 and 4, and 5 years of age to get a better sense of the proportion of children by age cohort. Choose QT-P2 from the Census SF1 or SF2 to see # of people by single years of age (1, 2, 3, etc.). Make sure the margin of error isn’t too high. B05010 shows Poverty by Nativity (citizenship status) and type of family (this isn’t a simple count of children, but rather # of families with related children under 18).

TRY THIS EVEN SPEEDIER OPTION: Start at www.census.govData (upper center) - American Factfinder - Quick Tables. Enter B17001 (topic) and enter a single county or city name. Click on the name portion of the table B17001 Poverty Status…By Sex by Age 2010 ACS 5 year-estimate

Proceed as above: the table will show up modify OR Download Excel format (when file has been built) Download (again).

OPTIONAL – go back to Search and Rest the Topic. Do a search for disabilities by age and repeat appropriate steps above.

OPTIONAL – go back and change only the Geography to Census Tracts level.

Use the TRANSPOSE ROWS AND COLUMNS feature und MODIFY TABLE edit to bring the file into a standard mapping software input. Download as a CSV file, and Open in in Excel. Often you can do make changes and formatting (including transpose) as or more easily in MS Excel, depending on your proficiency.

NOTE: Generally we can ignore Margin of Error and delete those Columns for CA purposes. - When you download, name or later edit the file to retain the name of the original data source: table name, dataset and years.

EXERCISE 2: Download Data Profiles on all or subgeographies of your Service Area.

Step 1: Start - Factfinder Home ( Clear all your selections if any remain.

Step 2: Use the Quick Start feature - enter a city or county or tribal area

Step 3: enter “profile” in the topics/narrow search box. – Data Profile

Step 4. Select any or all of these tables: DP02, DP03, or DP05. -- the 1 year or 5 year estimates. These contain useful information about families, ethnicity, and population for the entire service area.

Step 5: Click on Table Name. MODIFY to eliminate parts of the table you don’t need.

Step 6: DOWNLOAD (top right) Select one of the top set of print option, by what you are most comfortable working in Excel, or Rich Text Format (.rtf) for a text processor such as MS Word. .

You have plenty of other profile options to explore – ENJOY!

NOTE: the ACS surveys are often posted in September for the preceding year.

Look for the 2011 ACS survey soon, followed by the 5 year updates


Although the Census has been diligent in reaching the homeless and undocumented immigrants, your county may also have had a problem with undercounting. This can happen in very rural, or very urban with many homeless people, or in areas with immigrants speaking languages not identified by the Census. The Census now analyzes how off the mark it has might be, at the county level. If your Service Area shows a high undercount you may want to adjust your figures, by providing a range.

GETTING HELP: Believe it or not, you can call or email the Census staff and they will help you personally with your questions!! Try it if you get stuck or just want some help.

MAPPING -- can generate certain standard maps by county and state. The quality of the base map is less than wiki-maps or google maps. You can download tables in a CSV (comma delimited format) or you’re your Excel files easily so that they are compatible with mapping software, such as BizMaps, MapInfo, or ArcInfo, ArcView, or other platforms from ESRI.

If your service area is in California, check out www.HEALTHYCITY.ORG - a free interactive site for generating many useful maps and charts for California communities based on census data, including information you upload yourself.

You can also generate maps of 211 registered service providers, or create your own.

Check to see if your region has its own free public service mapping site for the 2010 census and ACS. The New York Times has online sites based on the 2005-2010 ACS and 2010 Census data. Browse population growth and decline, changes in racial and ethnic concentrations and patterns of housing development by census tract at or look at every tract and every block with the

-- Mapping America —CensusBureau 2005-9 American Community... site. - This site has some free maps, but not anything related to children in poverty. You can subscribe for several thousand dollars a year and have access to a wide array of other types of data, maps, and gain the ability to create your own maps as well.

MORE HELP – the Center for Community Futures and other technical assistance providers can help you.

Good luck and keep in touch!

For consultations & referrals, call 510/549-8790 or