Using American FactFinder: Downloading Data

This guide provides information on using American FactFinder to find, retrieve and map Census data. It includes information on the various types of data available through American FactFinder based on surveys done by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Downloading Data from American FactFinder

After viewing a table to ensure that it shows the needed information, data can be downloaded by clicking on the word Download at the top of the results.

1. Use the Database-compatible formats (.csv) option to download the data for use with GIS.

2. Check the box labeled Include descriptive data element names, so that information about the data in each column of the table will be known.

3. Click OK. Repeat the entire process to download data for multiple tables if needed.

4. Once the data has been downloaded, save it. Then open the data in Excel. Edit the column headings and GEO.id2 field (number with no decimal places) so that the data can be used with GIS software. (See the article from the Spring, 2012 issue of ArcUser on using Excel Files in ArcGIS for more information using Excel data in ArcGIS.) Once all changes have been made, save the data as a text file. (If you are working with data for one of the states that have a FIPS code that starts with 0, converting Geo.id2 to a number will alter the FIPS code, forcing the system to drop the initial zero.)

Price, Mike. 2012. Importing Data from Excel Spreadsheets: Dos, don'ts, and updated procedures for ArcGIS 10. ArcUser, Spring, 2012, p. 50-55.