Older Census data

It is remarkably difficult to get digitized Census data files at the tract level from before 2000.
County-level data is available at the Census Publications Library, in PDF format; and you can also get County Subdivision data from these records back to at least 1960. I have compiled tables of whole-county data for selected California Counties back to 1960. In each case there are some shortcomings:
1990 California Counties data includes categories close to the groupings used in the 2010 Census.
However, Asian and Asian Pacific Islander data is not separated. Please read the notes at the top of the document.
1980 California Counties data: see the bottom of this page.
1970 California Counties data: not only are Asians and Pacific Islanders treated as a single category, but Hispanics are not differentiated at all. People of Spanish origin are counted at the County level, but that count overlaps with race counts.
1960 California Counties data: Asians and APIs are aggregated together, and there is no mention of Hispanic/Latino at all.

For the 1990 Census, Public Law 94 (electoral redistricting) funded the digitization of tract level data by race. This is the link to the 1990 Census Data.

In class I showed how to get this data:
1) “scrape” the data displayed in table format on the Census website,
2) paste it into a word-processor, which should recognize that it is a table;
3) select the whole table in your word document, and copy it;
4) paste the data into a spreadsheet.
For some reason, it is hard to copy the data straight off a webpage and paste it directly into a spreadsheet. I suspect the problem is that word-processors have tolerant, heterodox import-functions, whereas spreadsheets are much more strict.

1980 Census Data

Chris Bettinger pointed me toward historic California Census data, and I  downloaded a 100 MB archive to discover that the data is just PDF-scans–essentially photocopies of the original books in non-readable image-scan format. Furthermore, the table-structure is utterly different from more recent Census data. So I took most of today to restructure the data into a format similar to the 2010 Census:

County TotPop Wht
(non- Lat)
Blk
(non- Lat)
Latino AIAN Asian NHPI Other
Alameda 1105379 675338 200950 129962 7252 81442 4457 5978
Contra Costa 656380 503978 59498 55820 3811 29534 577 3162
Humboldt 108514 97233 530 3736 5694 0 0 1321
Kern 403089 281132 20779 87026 5981 6229 0 1942
Lake 36366 33071 348 1882 799 0 0 266
Los Angeles 7477503 3953603 926360 2066103 47731 417209 17641 48856
Marin 222568 199675 5375 9204 742 4399 0 3173
Mendocino 66738 59740 334 3688 2364 0 0 612
Monterey 290444 173456 18425 75129 2889 17621 1402 1522
Napa 99199 86373 866 8636 715 1523 0 1086
Orange 1932709 1510698 24411 286339 12782 81674 5219 11586
Riverside 663166 490144 30088 124417 7140 7359 425 3593
Sacramento 783381 599830 57883 74141 8669 37892 1158 3808
San Bernardino 895016 653303 46615 165863 9967 13559 749 4960
San Diego 1861846 1374649 102165 275177 14355 72600 6997 15903
San Francisco 678974 355161 84857 83373 3358 144454 2693 5078
San Joaquin 347342 237233 18444 66565 3419 19200 0 2481
San Luis Obispo 155435 132809 2649 14792 1726 2650 0 80
San Mateo 587329 415984 34730 73339 2383 53353 2593 4947
Santa Barbara 298694 223397 7554 55356 2654 7516 0 2217
SantaClara 1295071 913154 42237 226611 8312 90068 4208 10481
SantaCruz 188141 151715 1396 27648 1465 4329 0 1588
Solano 235203 163371 27372 24773 1947 15010 1943 787
Sonoma 299681 266205 3370 20824 3435 3414 0 2433
Stanislaus 265900 213165 3035 39889 3167 3340 0 3304
Ventura 529174 383064 10832 113192 4825 14927 417 1917
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, 1980 Decennial Census, California.
Source for Total and Latino: Table 44: “General Characteristics for Counties and County Subdivisions: 1980.”
Source for non-Latino White & Black: Table 51, “General Characteristics of Persons by Type Spanish Origin for Counties.”
Source for AIAN, Asian, and NHPI: Table 50: “General Characteristics, Selected Racial Groups for Counties: 1980.”
NOTE 1: American Indian and Aleut are added together to comprise AIAN.
NOTE 2: East-, Southeast-, and South Asian groups added together to comprise Asian.
NOTE 3: Hawaiian, Guamanian, and Samoan added together to comprise NHPI.

You can scrape the data (or hand-copy it) off this page, or download a CSV version posted here.

 


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