32 Optometrists Without Indoor Plumbing And Other Facts You Can Find In Census Data


MapD created an interactive dashboard visualizing ACS data.

As the Census Bureau gears up for the 2020 survey, government leadership and tech companies alike are thinking of new ways to present demographic data.

Census' chief customer experience officer is looking internationally for templates: for instance, a nongovernmental organization in the Netherlands, called Statistics Netherlands, visualizes national census data similar to the way USA Today might, making it more digestible for casual viewers, Michele Bartram told an audience earlier this month at an Adobe Government symposium produced by the events division of Government Executive Media Group, Nextgov's parent company.

One startup is taking a different approach. MapD created a dashboard that lets you dig into data from the American Community Survey, administered yearly by the Census Bureau. It pulls from ACS' Public Use Microdata Sample files, which Census describes as untabulated records about individuals and housing units; it also relies on the roughly 3.1 million records to approximate trends among 320 million or so U.S. residents. Viewers can select various filters including specific states, occupations, languages and level of internet access, among others. 

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Here are a few facts Nextgov gathered from the platform's approximations, focusing on the period between Jan. 1, 2015, and Jan. 1, 2016:

About 14 percent of Americans don't have internet access at home.

Of the about 321 million people in the U.S, more than 44 million people didn't have internet access at all in their houses, apartments or mobile homes. More than half of these were women—about 23 million, compared to 21 million men. Of those, 659 were atmospheric and space scientists, and 491 were astronomers or physicists.

Americans really do love cars.

More than 3 million people had more than six automobiles, vans and trucks available to them, either personally owned or available at their house or work. A large chunk of those with fleets lived in California: about 631,000, compared to just a few thousand in smaller states, like Maine, which has about 9,000. Men were more likely to have access to six or more cars: about 1.7 million males and 1.4 million females.

Francophones love Florida. 

Florida had the highest number of French speakers, with about 559,000. Despite having almost double Florida’s total population, California had only about 138,000. There were about 2.1 million French speakers in the U.S. in total. Most French speakers in the United States were black; about 1.18 million, compared to 817,000 white French speakers.

Plumbing is a choice.

There were about 32 optometrists in the United States living without complete indoor plumbing.

1922 was a big year for babies.

At about 957,000, there were more 94-year-olds than there were 93- or 95-year-olds, about 360,000 and 227,000, respectively. Florida and California had the highest number of 94-year-olds, with about 211,000 of those living in the Golden State and 120,000 in Florida. Given that female life expectancy exceeds male, it's unsurprising that 94-year-olds skewed heavily female: 682,000 females vs. 274,000 males. The vast majority of them were widowed.

Don't make assumptions based on jobs.

As of 2016, travel agents still existed. There were about 93,261 across the U.S., and about 74,000 of them were female. Most were in California, Florida, Illinois and New York. More of them had two cars available to them than had just one—about 40,000 of them have two, compared to about 26,000 with only one.

Telemarketers skewed female. Across the country, there were about 88,000 female telemarketers, compared to about 52,000 male.

About 21 highway maintenance workers and 43 food servers/restaurant workers had doctoral degrees.