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This tutorial is designed to walk you through the basic features of by using the site to answer a series of questions.

Question 1: How does the racial/ethnic make-up of my town compare to my county and state?


For the purposes of this tutorial, you live in Anniston, Alabama.

When first loads, you'll be asked what geography level you're interested in. For a detailed explanation of these terms, please see the Census Geography Documentation.

We are interested in the town of Anniston, which is a place according to the Census Bureau, so we'll click on the "Places" link.

That link brings up a list of states for which data are available.


The Census Bureau is releasing data for each state on a rolling basis starting in mid June. Data for a few states will be released each week until all states are available sometime in August.

We're looking for a place in Alabama, so find the link for Alabama and click it.

You should now see several columns of places in Alabama.


The Census Bureau has several suffixes for "places": town, city and CDP. For details on what these mean, please see :ref:`geography-label`.

The list of places is fairly long; you have two options:

  1. You can scroll through the list looking for Anniston
  2. You can start typing "anniston" (there's no text field to click on, just start typing). As you type, the list will be filtered by what you've typed so far. By the time you get to "ann," Anniston should be the only item left in the list.

Once you find Anniston, click on the link to view the data.

When the data page first loads, a few Census tables will be shown by default. These tables include race, ethnicity, age and housing information. Using the table browser on the left, you can show or hide the tables related to your query.

We're looking for race and ethnicity so uncheck all of the tables except for P5: Hispanic or Latino Origin by Race.

Now that we are viewing the data for Anniston, let's add data for the county and state to our view so we can compare them.

Start by clicking the "Add another geography to compare" button. A small window will appear with a menu that should look familiar.

This time, we want to look up Calhoun County, Alabama, so click on "Counties" and then "Alabama." When you get to the list of counties in Alabama, either begin typing "Calhoun" to filter the list, or scroll through the list to find it. Then click it.

You will be taken back to the data view page, but now there will be a set of data for Anniston as well as the same set of data for Calhoun County, but we still want to add data for the entire state.

This time, instead of using the "Add another geography" button, we can click on the "<tk>" button to automatically add the state data to our view.

With Anniston, Calhoun County and Alabama state data now in our view, we can compare the racial and ethnic make-ups of the town, county and state.

To download the data for further analysis in Excel or another program, click on the "CSV" button.

Question 2: What part of my town has the lowest median age?

[coming soon]

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