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What is a Census Tract?
A census tract is a small statistical subdivision of a county. Census tract data allows a user to find population and housing statistics about a specific part of an urban area. This is particularly important when you want information about part of a city. A single community may be composed of several census tracts.

(Another definition)
A small, relatively permanent statistical subdivision of a county delineated by a local committee of census data users for the purpose of presenting data. Census tract boundaries normally follow visible features, but may follow governmental unit boundaries and other non-visible features in some instances; they always nest within counties. Designed to be relatively homogeneous units with respect to population characteristics, economic status, and living conditions at the time of establishment, census tracts average about 4,000 inhabitants. They may be split by any sub-county geographic entity.

Block group (BG)
A subdivision of a census tract (or, prior to 2000, a block numbering area), a block group is the smallest geographic unit for which the Census Bureau tabulates sample data. A block group consists of all the blocks within a census tract with the same beginning number.

Example: block group 3 consists of all blocks within a 2000 census tract numbering from 3000 to 3999. In 1990, block group 3 consisted of all blocks numbered from 301 to 399Z.

Block
A subdivision of a census tract (or, prior to 2000, a block numbering area), a block is the smallest geographic unit for which the Census Bureau tabulates 100-percent data. Many blocks correspond to individual city blocks bounded by streets, but blocks – especially in rural areas – may include many square miles and may have some boundaries that are not streets. The Census Bureau established blocks covering the entire nation for the first time in 1990. Previous censuses back to 1940 had blocks established only for part of the nation. Over 8 million blocks are identified for Census 2000.

 

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Databases

American FactFinder

American FactFinder is a search engine that provides access to the population, housing and economic data collected by the Census Bureau. American FactFinder can be used to retrieve data from the 1990 and 2000 Census, Population Estimates, Economic Census and Surveys and American Community Survey (ACS). Some of the data from these programs will not be available for rural communities.

[More details]
Enter a street address to find Census 2000 data for tracts and blocks. You can create "Custom Tables" of data through the Custom Tables feature. This allows you to compare two or more geographic areas (such as comparing a city to a tract or a city to a state).

Websites

Census Tracts Relationship Files

Census tracts relationship files

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Community Information by Zip Code

community information by zip code

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Beth
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