American Community Survey on AFF

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American FactFinder Topics menu Filter Options are in these menus
American Factfinder Selection Menus

  • The first step is selecting the Program and then Dataset you want.  These choices are options in the Topics Menu. 
  • First choose Program and then either American Community Survey or EEO Tabulation. 
  • Next filter by Year (optional) and Dataset; for help with selecting a dataset refer to the When to use page.

  • The "Search Results" display will appear either 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

After selecting the dataset the next step can be either making your Geographies selection or data Table selection. In this guide the Table Selection is listed first because some tables are geography-based.


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

  • The choices you make in the Table Section process will reduce the number of tables in the Search Results display.
  • Whether using a filter or a search, the tables left in the list will satisfy every choice you make.
  • Start with the filters in the Topics menu and then, if necessary, use the Search feature.
  • 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 list of tables in the Search Results window reflects your choice of ACS dataset.
      • Use the choices under the "People" and "Housing" menus to select characteristics that interest you.
      • Selecting multiple characteristics can shorten the list of tables; for example selecting"education" then "age" will list only tables with both characteristics.
      • The "Race & Ethnicity" filter listed under People will 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.
      • ID numbers assigned to a table indicate its scope (ID is a column on the list of tables).
      • Data Profiles and Quick Tables (DP)
        • Profiles are specific to either demographic, housing, social, or economic characteristics and each lists all key measures with little analysis of any one measure.
        • Cover only the time span for the survey you selected.
        • Total population counts for basic race and Hispanic origin groups are included.
        • Total population counts are listed for only a few of the other population subgroups.
      • Detailed Tables  (B, C)
        • These topic-specific tables give the full analysis of a characteristic.
        • The B tables give the most complete analysis.
        • The C tables repeat data from a B table but with less detail.
        • Some detailed tables repeat for each basic race group and for Hispanics thus providing an analysis of those populations; for example table B01001 has estimates for all persons while tables B01001A through B01001I reporting the same data for different population subgroups.
      • Subject Table (S)
        • These are tables on popular topics.
        • After selecting this filter shorten the list to tables on a particular topic by using either filters in the People or Housing menus or by searching your topic.
      • Geographic Comparison (GCT-H)
        • These are topic-specific tables that make comparisons, using percentages, averages or other derived measures, at specified geographic level within a broader coverage area. 
        • Choosing this filter will bring up a new filter where you can select the coverage area (the "parent") and the reporting level (the "child').
        • Note.  Count-based geographic comparisons across a specific level of geography, can be obtained using the Geographies filter together with any other product type except Selected Population Profiles or Ranking Tables.
      • Comparisons Profiles (CP) - available only in the 1 year estimates
        • The tables are set up for broad coverage of either social, economic, demographic, or housing characteristics
        • Includes data from the most recent 5 years of 1 year estimates.
      • Ranking Tables (R) - available only in the 1 year estimates
        • These tables rank states based on a specific topic.
        • Select the topic by browsing the list of tables or using the People or Housing filters.
        • The geographic coverage is preset so no Geographies filtering is needed.
      • Selected Population Profile - available only in the 1 and 3 year estimates
        • A lengthy table with many person and household characteristics.
        • Analyzes all persons but can also be used together with the Race and Ethnic Groups filter to produce estimates specific to a population subgroup.
        • Broader data for race and ethnic groups are available in the ACS 5 year estimates datasets: Selected Population Tables and American Indian and Alaska Native Tables. 
  • Using the Race and Ethnic Groups Filter
    • This filter defines subgroups of the population based on race and Hispanic Origin (both basic and detailed), ancestry, or, only in the 1 and 3 year estimates datasets, place of birth; refer to Sources for Data on Ethnicity for definitions.
    • This filter can be used only with the following combination of dataset-tables:
      the Selected Population Profile tables found in the 1 year and 3 estimates datasets
      any of the tables in the 5 year estimates Selected Population Tables dataset or the American Indian and Alaska Native Tables dataset.
    • Selecting the Race and Ethnic Groups filter from the left menu brings up the Race and Ethnic Groups overlay window.
    • If no choices are listed within this overlay window then:
      one of your previous selections is for a product or geography for which Race and Ethnic Groups are not available
      a note will display saying data has been suppressed because of low counts.
    • 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.
    • For population groups based on race (detailed or basic), a detailed Hispanic origin, ancestry, or country of birth search the name the group.
    • Names for basic race and Hispanic Origin groups can also be found under the "Basic Race" menu.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • WARNINGData suppression may occur, particularly when working with the 1 year and 3 year estimates datasets or with the smaller levels of geography in the 5 year datasets.
  • Using the Search Box
    • Works best after having applied either a housing or people filter and a product type filter.
    • After some filtering, searching is a quick way to shorten the list of tables to just Hispanics, a specific basic race or to an additional subject.
    • An example is obtaining data about wealthy households.
      - Filter People --> Income & Earnings --> Households
      - Filter Product --> Detailed Tables
      - then do a search for a characteristic like basic race, Hispanic, age and/or for a related topic
        like mortgage, poverty, education.
  • 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.


Use this menu only if you have selected the EEO Tabulation which is listed under both the Program and Datasets in the Topics menu.  Selecting it will open an overlay window.

Within the overlay window a list of occupations at the 2-digit occupation code level dislpays.  Clicking on one will show the more detailed occupations by 4-digit code. 

  • Make selections from the list of available occupations 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.

The Zip file will contain:

  • a README.txt file that describes the naming conventions used in it data and documentation file;
  • a second .txt that has a description of the subject content of the data table;
  • a metadata.csv file that contains a description of each data element: the unique id assigned to the characteristics, the data type (estimate, MOE, percent), and full description for the data;
  • a data file with .csv extension.
    • if you accepted the default “Data and annotations in a single file” the data will be in the file ending with with _ann.csv;
    • if you chose the option to download “Data and annotations in a separate file” it will be in the .csv file identified only with the file name and table number.
    If you chose the second option, to download “Data and annotations in a separate file,” there will be another file ending with _ann.csv that will contain only two rows: the unique header id and the second row a description of the data (estimate, MOE, percent).