New Census goodies!

8 Mar

Oooooh! Just when I thought the Census had done all it could for me with my dear friend American Fact Finder, I discover a whole new layer. There is this lucious thing called the Statistical Abstract of the United States that brings a

So many flavors of data! Yum, yum!

whole new dimension to being a Data Wonk.

Sadly, just because I just discovered this gem, doesn’t mean it’s new. Nay, nay, the Statistical Abstract, the “authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political and economic organization of the United States” has been published since 1878.

So what’s in this thing? A lot. And like the sales rack at SteinMart, some of it is relevant, some not. But take a look at the blue navigation bar on the left of the screen. Click on “Health and Nutrition” and then “Health Care Utilization.”  Now Select the first PDF, “Percent Distribution of Number of Visits to Health Care Professionals, by Selected Characteristics.”

Okay, so if I am writing a grant about health care and need some data on who does or does not see a doctor regularly, TA DA! there I have it! Take a look at which population had the highest percentage of people who had no visits to the doctor. Even over time, I can see that Latinos of Mexican origin are the most medically underserved population in the US. Not good for those folks, clearly, but useful information for me.

Also, please note the last data set, “Use of Mammography For Women 40 Years Old and Over by Patient Characteristics.” I have written breast health grants in the past, and now I know where to go for general characteristics about who typically does or does not access a mammogram. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Keep in mind, most of this information will be national data, and you should always strive to use local data when possible. However, this data is still incredibly useful when generally describing a population, and if you do have comparable local data, you can use this national information as a benchmark to show how much more dire things are in your community. I did notice that some of the data sets have information by region or county, so it’s just a matter of browsing.

Happy hunting!

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One Response to “New Census goodies!”

  1. Becca March 8, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    We use a lot of census data in my branch at CDC, so someone from the census came and talked to us awhile back, told us all about the various census products. So cool. 🙂

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