Decennial Census Summary Files on AFF

Open  American FactFinder  in a new window 


American FactFinder Topics menu Filter Options are in these menus
American Factfinder Selection Menus
  • From the Topics Menu choose Program.
  • Then from the list of Programs choose Decennial Census. 
  • Now from the Topics menus select Year (2000 or 2010) and finally Dataset, that is select one of the Summary Files.
  • Understanding what is in each dataset (Summary File) is important when choosing a Dataset. 
  • Refer to either the Census 2010 or Census 2000 page for more information about the content each Summary File.

  • The "Search Results" display will appear when you make your first choice from the options within the Topics filter menu.
  • The Search Results window lists all tables that are available.
  • Filters you apply or searches you do will reduce the number of tables in the Search Results window.
  • All your choices will appear in the "Your Selections" box in the upper left above the filter choices.
  • Selections can be deleted at any time.

The next step can be either making your Geography selection or, from within the Topics menu, making your Table the selection.  Because some tables have a geographic component, the Table Selection is presented first.


There is little advantage to selecting multiple tables as viewing and downloading are done one table at a time.

  • Filtering or searching by more than one topic will leave tables that satisfy every selection you have made.
  • To preview a table layout, click on the information icon (the small i to the right of each table name).
  • To compare the layout of two tables, click on the box to the left of each one and then click on the Compare button that is above the list of tables.
  • Using  the Topics Filters
    • Filter by People or Housing characteristics
      • The entries under the "People" and "Housing" menus represent subject groupings for data characteristics.
      • The entries reflect the particular summary file you have chosen.
      • If the characteristic you select leaves many tables in the list, other filter types can shorten the list.
      • The “Origins” and “Race & Ethnicity” filters allow you to filter by a specific population subgroup BUT only for what are defined as “basic” race and Hispanic origin groups. 
      • For a definition of "basic" and other population subgroups refer to the guide Sources for Data on Ethnicity.
      • Information on other population groups can be obtained using the Product Type filters and/or by searching as described below.
    • Filter by Product Type
      • The same data characteristics can appear in tables that differ only by the scope of what the table contains. Tables are assigned a product type ID based on their scope (IDs are a column heading on the list of tables)
      • The letters H and P following an ID identify tables that are specific either to housing or population characteristics. An addition of CT means data are available only for tracts or geographies larger than tracts.
      • Quick Tables (QT-H, QT-P);
        • Topic-specific quick tables present the most frequently requested details on a topic.
        • Quick tables that focus on race and Hispanic Origin include totals for basic race and Hispanic groups and some limited reporting for detailed race and Hispanic Groups.
      • Detailed Tables  (H, P, HCT, PCT)
        • These tables report specifics about a particular characteristic.
        • Some detailed tables will cross analyze two topics.
        • Detailed tables often repeat for each basic race and for Hispanics groups but not in SF2 or SF4 where specifying any population subgroup is done using the Race and Ethnic Groups filter.
      • Data Profiles (DP)
        • Data Profiles can be either general in coverage or specific to demographic, social, economic or housing characteristics.
        • Each table includes data on many indicators but with less detail on each than is found in Quick Tables or Detailed Tables.
        • In the 2010 SF1 there are no DPs rather the Demographic Profile file is a separate dataset, the Demographic Profile Summary File.
      • Geographic Comparison (GCT-H,  GCT-P)
        • These are Quick Tables where data are reported for all locations at the same level of geography that are within a large geographic coverage area. 
        • Choosing this filter will bring up a new filter where you can select the coverage area (the "parent") and then reporting level (the "child').
        • For example, if you choose "state" as a "parent," the child menu will list the geographies at the next level down (county, place, school district, etc.). 
        • Once your parent-child choices are set, use the Geographies filter to limit coverage to specific parent geographies. Example: parent-county, child-tract, then in Geographies menu - New York.
        • The geographies that appear in any menu will depend on what other choices you have made including dataset.
        • Leave your topical choices: people and housing, until last to ensure that you see all tables that meet you geographic criteria
      • Ranking Tables (available only for 2000 SF1)
        • Ranking tables report counts for total population, housing units, land area, and population density.
        • Tables only for preset geographic levels can be retrieved across the nation or within states that you select.
  • Using the Search Box
    • Works best when you are familiar with the terminology used for data characteristics.
    • The search box is NOT the best way to find tables based on race or Hispanic origin.
    • To obtain counts on population groups defined by basic race or the word Hispanic, use Race & Ethnicity Filters found in the People menu.
    • Total population counts for Detailed race and detailed Hispanic Origin groups are listed in a few tables and can be found by searching for one of these groups (e.g. korean, Mexican) refer to Sources for Data on Ethnicity for a complete list of these groups.
  • Using Race and Ethnic Groups
    • This filter is the feature designed specifically for getting data that analyzes population subgroups as defined on page Sources for Data on Ethnicity.
    • Finding data for a particular population subgroup depends on what dataset you chose and on whether the count for your group is large enough at the level of geography you selected.
    • To use this filter you must have selected from the Dataset menu either Summary File 2 or Summary File 4 (2000 only).
    • The tables in these files do not reference any population subgroups.
    • Use the Race and Ethnic Groups filter, which will open in an overlay window, to choose the population subgroups you want.
    • Searches or selections you make in the Race and Ethnic Groups overlay window do not impact your selections in the main AFF window until you finalize them.
    • Under Race and Ethnic Group, the Hispanic or Latino filter works well when looking for data on not Hispanic or Latino in combination with a race.
    • Under the Basic Race Category, the Race Combination filter is the best way of choosing race counts that are either alone or in combination.
    • For a race group (detailed or basic), a detailed Hispanic origin, or any other population subgroup listed in Sources for Data on Ethnicity search the name of the group.
    • To select a group click on the check box to the left of the entry.
    • To finalize a selection use the Add button found above the list of choices.
    • You can choose more than one group and finalize them all at once or select and finalize choices one at a time (clear the population groups filter after adding to begin a new selection.)
    • When your last selection has been made close the overlay window to return to the main AFF screen.
  • Combinations of Filters/Search (an example)
    • Use the People or Housing filter menus to choose your topic.
    • You can add a second characteristic like age using a search.
    • Then pick the type of table you want using the Product Type filter.
    • Except when using SF2 or SF4, for data by basic race or Hispanic Origin, use the search box to look for a basic race category or the word "hispanic."  
    • With Summary File 2 (SF2) and 4 (SF4) use the Race and Ethnic Groups filter type to find tables based on basic or detailed race or Hispanic Origin subpopulations.
  • Finalizing your selection
    • Check the box to left the table ID for the table that you want.
    • You can select more than one table but viewing and downloading may be easier handling one table at a time.


In the left menu click on Geographies and an overlay window will appear.

The choices in this window will shorten the list of geographies available for selection.

Filtering or searching by more than one topic will leave geographies that satisfy every selection you have made.

The selections you make in the Geographies overlay window do not impact your selections in the main AFF window until you finalize them.

The list of available geographies will reflect any selections you have already made in the main AFF window.

Shorten the list of available geographies by using one of the following tabs
                 LIST,     NAME,    ADDRESS,  or   MAP.
-List has a menu of the most common larger geographies; choose a geography and select names
-Address produces a list of all geographies that contain the address that you search.
-Map has a map display of geographies you select from menus.
-Name allows for filtering by geographic type, searching by name or combining these techniques.
  Use Name to get many areas or when working with geographies that are numbered rather than named.

Using the Name Tab

  • Using Filter Options (on the left edge of the overlay window)
    • Particularly useful if you are looking for areas that are numbered like tracts.
    • In choosing filters you start by specifying the level you want for your data and then specifying the coverage area, e.g. tracts data within a county.
    • Use the Geographic Type filter to choose the level of geography you want.
    • If your geographic level does not show then look in the Summary Level filter.
    • After the first choice, filters for specifying the coverage areas are displayed.
    • If you are picking a relatively small reporting area, for example tracts, it is best start filtering at a high level, say Within State and then make a second selection for a smaller coverage area.
    • Geographic tables are presented for specific locations (e.g. Williamsville Village or tract 2 in the Bronx) or for groups of geographies (e.g. all tracts in the Bronx).  You can use the radio buttons just below the Geography Filter options to select between these types of tables.
  • Using the Search box
    • Enter the name of the location and be as specific as you can; for example to find the town of Amherst search Amherst NY rather just Amherst.
    • Take advantage of the auto complete feature.
    • The name you search can be for either the specific location you want or, the name of a coverage but for a coverage are use only when you want all geographies within that area.

Finalize your selections

  • Make selections from the list of available locations by checking the box to left of any location you want to choose.
  • To finalize a selection use the Add button found above the list of choices.  You can do this at one time for all your choices or one at a time.
  • When your last selection has been made close the Geographies overlay window to return to the main AFF screen.



  • Above the list of tables is an option to View.
  • You must choose this option if you want presentation-ready formats in either PDF or Excel.
  • Choosing View will advance you to a window where the data table is displayed.
  • If you selected more than one table you must View them one after the other.
  • If you have selected many geographies in the View Window they may be displayed one location at a time using a pull-down menu.
  • In the View Window clicking on the Modify Table option activates Table Tool which you can use to customize the display. Note. Modifications are only applied to "Presentation-ready formats." 

Modifying Tables

  • In the View Window clicking on the Modify Table option activates Table Tool menu which you can use to customize the display.
  • For specifics use the Table Tools help (click on the white on blue ? within the Table Tool Menu). 
  • The tools may include the ability to transpose row and columns, hide rows and columns, filter rows, filter column dimensions, and reorder columns; some are available only in selected data products. 
  • Particularly useful is the ability to transpose and, for ACS data, to filter by Dimension Column; that is, when a row characteristic has many dimensions, say estimate and MOE total or total, total male and total female, select one for download and display.

Downloading "Presentation-ready Formats

  • From the View page, clicking on the Download option gives you choices for presentation-ready formats.
  • If the number of geographic areas you have selected is large enough so that they are viewed via a pull-down menu then you may have to download the display-ready formats one location at a time.
  • Otherwise all your geographies will appear in one table even if they don't all appear in the web display.
  • Note.  If you choose Excel format the spreadsheet the formatting may contain features like merged cells that make changing the layout difficult. 

Downloading "Database-compatible" formats"

  • Choose this option if you
    • want multiple geographies in one table;
    • from the Search results window have chosen more than one table (each table would be a separate file within a zipped file);
    • have selected a number of geographic areas;
    • need to have FIPS codes that can uniquely identify each location in your table.
  • When you select the Download option on the Search page, the default is a database-compatible .csv format with the data and annotations is a single file.
  • If you navigate to the View page and then select the Download option the options for database-compatible  formats are offered together with presentation-ready formats..
  • The output is a zipped file containing a data file in comma delimited (.csv) format plus explanatory files.
  • On selecting this download method, the "Download Progress" window appears.
  • When the creation of the Zip file shows as complete, click on  "download" to activate the standard operating system download.
  • The Zip file will contain two files with an .csv extension. The one without the _ann suffix in the file name is the data file. 
  • The header rows in the data file will likely need to be modified before the data can be used with application software.