The Census Bureau has released the "Demographic Profile #2, 3 and 4" data
products for 13 states as of 5/14/02. Data for 16 more states are due out this week, and
the full set and U.S. totals will be available by the first week in June.
This is the FIRST RELEASE of regular, census "long form" data with a limited
amount of journey-to-work data. Data is available ONLY for states, counties, places,
congressional districts, and American Indian reservations. (In this release you won't
get the number of bicycle commuters, but you will get the number of homes with incomplete
plumbing or heated by solar energy!)
Follow the Census Bureau's Press Release Link for more information, at:
MPO folks may be interested in how we've analyzed the new data for the SF Bay Area.
This has been helpful to the media in terms of reporting historical changes in means of
transportation to work, average commute duration, household vehicle ownership, etc. Our
page is at:
Or, go to MTC's census datamart page at: http://www.mtc.ca.gov/datamart/census.htm
and follow the links.
Here is an example of a good article from one of our suburban dailies. Typically they will
balance the factual with vast & overwhelming anecdotal evidence.
My recommendation to MPO/States with upcoming DP 2-3-4 data:
1. Assemble historical data of interest to your organization. Be ready to "drop
in" the new 2000 data when it arrives. Provide these pre-assembled data sets (XLS
workbooks appears to be the spreadsheet of choice) to your media contacts BEFORE the data
is released (before the "embargo" is lifted.) (Typically work with the city desk
of your newspaper. The TV stations will typically follow the lead of the city
2. Know how you're going to analyze the data once it arrives. You can print out the
PDF reports for all of your counties and places (see link below), but you can also
download the CSV files from the Census Burea's FTP site, then analyze the data in SAS,
EXCEL, ArcView or whatever software you can deal with. I would recommend analyzing an
existing data set, say, Nevada's, in setting up your procedures to extract your data.
Be ready to map out the place-level (or county-level if you're a state DOT) data using
your GIS system.
By the way, here is the link to the Census Bureau's PDF version of the profiles pages.
Be sure to bookmark it - - it's the best place to get the PDFs for your counties and
3. Be on hand to discuss the results / trends, with your management, your policy board,
and the media. Definitely the ACS (actually, C2SS) data released this past November allows
you to anticipate some of the new data and trends coming out this month.
4. Sometimes management/policy board/media have troubles with numbers. An example is San
Francisco County, where the transit share is decreasing (from 33.5 to 31.1 percent of the
commute) but the number of transit commuters is increasing (from 128,160 transit commuters
in 1990 to 130,311 transit commuters in 2000.) I haven't seen these yet, but the
uncareful journalist could write: "Transit Commuting in San Francisco is down 2.4
percent between 1990 and 2000" whereas the more accurate depiction is a drop in the
SHARE of commuters taking transit, along with an INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF TRANSIT
COMMUTERS. (This means that the non-transit commuting is increasing faster than the
transit commuting.) The media may also confuse transit commuting (home-to-work and
work-to-home trips) with transit use (all trip purposes, including journey-to-school,
5. Get your public information staff involved in issuing a press release. It will be very
helpful to the media/public to assemble and analyze the data as soon as possible.
One of the interesting trends that I'm picking up is a general stability in
journey-to-work modes shares, 1990 to 2000 - - at the REGIONAL level. We're showing a
slight increase in our work-at-home share (3.4 to 4.0 %, 1990 to 2000) and a slight
increase in transit commute share (9.5 to 9.7 %). We are showing slight decreases in drive
alone (-0.2% from 68.2 to 68.0), carpooling (-0.1, from 13.0 to 12.9) and walking-to-work
(-0.4% from 3.6% to 3.2%).
The majority of the INCREASE in our transit commuting is coming from suburban transit
communities (that is, *not* from San Francisco/ Oakland/ Berkeley). This suburban transit
commuting phenomena is interesting, and it will useful once the full national datasets are
out in early June to try to see if this suburban transit growth is a national pattern or
an isolated metro area pattern. (Very difficult, though, at a national level to
distinguish urban from suburban.)
Hope this helps, and if others have interesting results and trends to share, please post
to this listserv!
Charles L. Purvis, AICP
Senior Transportation Planner/Analyst
Metropolitan Transportation Commission
101 Eighth Street
Oakland, CA 94607-4700
(510) 464-7731 (office)
(510) 464-7848 (fax)
Census WWW: http://census.mtc.ca.gov/