Hi, all

If you are frustrated by getting the ACS 5-year block group level data via Census Bureau ftpsite or DataFerrett, ACS Alchemist may be a good alternative.  

I just tested ACS Achemist that was developed by Azavea & Temple University and I think it's easy to use.  But keep in mind that only ACS 2005-2009 and ACS 2006-2010 data are available in the ACS Alchemist.  If you are looking for 1-year or 3-year data, you still need Census Bureau data access tools including American Fact finder and DataFerrett.

ACS Achemist is an open source tool that enables the extraction of ACS 2005-2009 and ACS 2006-2010 data  on different level of geographic aggregation, i.e., counties, county sub-division, tracts, blockgroups, etc.  .  The user interface is very straightforward and is a simple step-by-step process.  The thing I like most is that output is saved as the shapefile and you can process your data in the GIS.  The think I like least is that uses will have to create a variable file to define which data they want to get.  The sample of a variable file can be find in the readme document which is included in the software installation package, but I attached one here for your convenience.

Here is the link to the ACS Alchemist home page:


Here is the link to download the software package:


Liang Long
Cambridge Systematics, Inc.
4800 Hampden Lane
Suite 800
Bethesda, MD 20814
tel  301 347 9141
fax 301 347 0101
FHWA 202-366-6971
e-mail  llong@camsys.com