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Summer 2022 update: This site is shutting down, as many better options now exist to browse decennial census data. We recommend checking out or

A nationwide census browser for 2000 and 2010 census data.


You will need Python 2.7, the PostGIS stack, virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper. Mac Installation instructions at:

Other required software:

  • mongodb
  • wget
  • mdbtools.

On a Mac you can get these with Brew::

brew install mongodb
brew install wget
brew install mdbtools

Bootstrapping the webapp

To get the web application running::

cd censusweb
mkvirtualenv --no-site-packages censusweb
pip install -r requirements.txt
python runserver

Configuring the webapp

By default the webapp is going to use the data published to the IRE test site, which may not be accessible to you. To use your own data open censusweb/config/ and modify the following line::

API_URL = '' 

See the next section to learn how to deploy data to your custom S3 bucket.

Loading data

Once you've setup the webapp you will have the requirements needed to load data. If you want to load embargoed data you will need to define environment variables for your username and password::

You will also need to have defined your Amazon Web Services credentials so that you can upload the rendered data files to S3::

export AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID="foo"

You will also need to modify the load configuration to point at the same S3 bucket you configured for the webapp. Open dataprocessing/ and modify the following lines::

    'staging': 'census-test',
    'production': '',

To load SF1 data for Hawaii make sure you have Mongo running and then execute the following commands::

cd dataprocessing
./ Hawaii staging


This application was a project of Investigative Reporters and Editors <>_ / National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting <>. Funding was generously provided by The Reynolds Journalism Institute <>.

The following journalists and nerds contributed to this project:

  • Jeremy Ashkenas (New York Times)
  • Brian Boyer (Chicago Tribune)
  • Joe Germuska (Chicago Tribune)
  • Christopher Groskopf (Chicago Tribune)
  • Mark Horvit (IRE)
  • Ryan Mark (Chicago Tribune)
  • Curt Merrill (CNN)
  • Paul Overberg (USA Today)
  • Ted Peterson (IRE)
  • Aron Pilhofer (New York Times)
  • Mike Tigas (Spokesman-Review)
  • Matt Waite (University of Nebraska)


This software is licensed under the permissive MIT license. See COPYING for details.