This is part of a series of posts I’m doing on Census Bureau Demographic Data for Developers based on my experience creating a database of Census Data as part of my summer internship at Patch.com.
“We need Census data!”
-Every sales manager, everywhere
Most people asking for Census data, especially in the technology industry don’t really know the first thing about the US Census Bureau or the data products they release. They know Census data as a rich trove of interesting insights into the populations they currently or could potentially serve and they naively assume the Census Bureau serves this data up on a platter for anyone who’s interested.
Get ready for a shock. It doesn’t.
Crazy, I know.
So how do you extract information from Census data, especially if you’re a developer or database administrator tasked with getting data into a useable format to interact with your existing systems?
During my internship at Patch.com this summer, I got the very same request (from an amazing boss who knew more than most about the Census and its available data). In a series of blog posts, I hope to talk about the various data products available from the Census, downloading, parsing, and databasing Census data for use in technology applications.
In the meantime, check out Elon Azoulay’s great blog post on doing the same thing at Gilt Groupe.
And no offense to 1975. I’m sure it was a great year.