seeking help - downloading ACS data & maintaining all geographies in tact

Hi all!

I am trying to download the S0103 file from the ACS - to study the 65+ population at the ZCTA level. Whenever I download the file, I only get ~900 variables (when I should get ~33K) regardless of whether I open with R or with Excel. I tried setting the geography to counties, to see if the number of rows was just to unwieldy, and that data download was also truncated (providing only ~1100 rows, vs. the expected ~3K). 

Thanks for the help!

  • Hi Hannah,

    This may be due to the Census Bureau's data suppression rules for Subject Tables. Here is some text from their ACS Data Suppression document (

    "Subject tables featuring specific population groups and iterated Selected Population Profiles (SPPs) that are generated directly from microdata are filtered in a similar matter to detailed tables, except that filtering is applied to the sub-population groups as opposed to the whole tables. However, if one half or more of the lines in a SPP for a geography are filtered out, the whole table is filtered out for that geography."

    If there are specific estimates that you need for the 65+ population, you may be able to access them from other tables.


  • In reply to Mark Mather:

    Thanks Mark - When I read this data, it says that the data suppression does not apply to the 5 year estimates. Can you clarify what might be happening here? What other tables might be useful?
  • In reply to Hannah:

    This is generally true but there are "special rules for the Selected Population Profiles" and it looks like they are applying these rules to this subject table: "There must be at least 65,000 people (for 1-year) and 7,000 people (for 5-year) in the specific population subgroup." (In this case I think there needs to be at least 7,000 people ages 65+ in the ZCTA.)
    I haven't done much digging into other potential tables but pulled up one Detailed Table that looked like it included the full set of ZCTAs: B09020: RELATIONSHIP BY HOUSEHOLD TYPE (INCLUDING LIVING ALONE) FOR THE POPULATION 65 YEARS AND OVER. So there may some Detailed ('B' or 'C') Tables that have the data you need.
  • In reply to Mark Mather:

    Interesting. Ok - thank you so much for the prompt replies!