Census Data Workshops at the Libraries

Census Data Workshops at the Libraries
Kathleen Turner
November 1, 2016

This October, the Drexel Libraries continued the series of workshops on finding census data that it began hosting in the spring of 2016. Over the past few weeks, Noemi Mendez, a data dissemination specialist from the U.S. Census Bureau, has visited the Hagerty Library to lead workshops on finding data related to health and poverty for business planning or grant preparation purposes.

Since 1790, the decennial census has counted the population in the United States for the purposes of apportioning seats in the House of Representatives. Over the years, the census has expanded to include surveys of business and industry, and a Census of Governments (conducted every 5 years) that identifies the structure of state and local governments, as well as collecting data on criminal justice, education and libraries.

Data can be obtained from Census.gov for many purposes, and to answer a multitude of questions, such as the value of textile manufacturing in Pennsylvania, the educational attainment of individuals across congressional districts or household income across zip codes in Philadelphia, to name just a few. But the complexity of geographies and types of surveys – and the sheer magnitude of the data available – present a considerable challenge to the researcher.

So it has been a huge benefit for Drexel faculty, staff and students to learn from an expert in U.S. census data exactly how to go about finding the data they need for their research. More than 60 members of the university community – faculty, staff and students from different colleges and administrative offices – have attended the interactive workshops. Future workshops will be scheduled at both the University City and Center City campuses and will also be recorded for the benefit of those who can’t attend in person.

Inquiries about future census data workshops or assistance with finding census data can be addressed to Liaison Librarian Kathleen Turner, khturner@drexel.edu.