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ECON 345: Urban Economics: Census & Business Data/Mapping

Prof. Becker

Decennial Census and Mapping Interfaces

NOTE:For more information, please see our library guide to the U.S. Census, especially the Product Comparison table.

  • SimplyAnalytics
    A web-based mapping application that lets users quickly create thematic maps and reports using  demographic, business, and marketing data. SimplyAnalytics provides a convenient interface for accessing both recent historical and marketing data on Durham and the larger Triangle area. Census data, including historical Census data back to 1980, is all aggregated into 2010 census boundaries (e.g., 2010 Tracts rather than the tracts in force at the earlier dates).
  • Social Explorer
    Make maps online and download tabular. Data are available from 1790 through the present at a variety of geographic levels (Census Tracts and Block Groups for recent years).
  • National Historic GIS (NHGIS)
    The National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS) incorporates all available aggregate census information for the United States between 1790 and the present. They're beginning to include data in standardized boundaries (e.g., 2000 data in 2010 boundaries). Users can download tabular data for use in spreadsheet or statistical software and/or geographic boundary files for use in GIS software.
  • ICPSR
    Raw ​census statistics for states and counties from 1790 to 1970 are in ICPSR study #0003 (Duke users only)

National Statistical Agencies

To get sub-national data in other countries, it's usually best to start with one of the national statistical agencies.

Business Locations

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

NOTE:For more information on GIS software and data, please see our library guides on ArcGIS, QGIS, ArcGIS Online, and GIS Data Sources.

  • National Historic GIS (NHGIS)
    The National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS) incorporates all available aggregate census information for the United States between 1790 and 2010. Users can download tabular data for use in spreadsheet or statistical software and/or geographic boundary files for use in GIS software.
  • Durham GIS Layers
    A collection of digital maps and data provided by the Durham GIS Services Department, including detailed data and maps of administrative, educational, health, highway, and tax features.  Parcel layers provide assessed values of Durham properties over time. Experience with using geographic information systems (GIS) software and with database files is helpful. (Duke users only.)
  • Durham Open Data Portal 
    Free data from the County and City of Durham, including current versions of our Durham GIS Layers collection.
  • Local GIS Data
    Links to more spatial data for the Triangle area and for North Carolina.
  • Census Bureau TIGER Products (Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing)
    Download boundary files (polygons), as well as line and point features, for use in GIS software. These are the geographic files; you can join these with demographic and socioeconomic data that you obtain elsewhere.