API change for 2017 5 year data for tracts?

It seems that my API calls for tract-level data are not working for the 2017 5 year data, yet the same call for the 2016 5-year tract-level data work!  I am successfully getting data for my calls for state and county for 2017 5 year data, just having a problem with tract-level.  Here's what I'm doing to get median age data for all tracts in AL, for example:


error: unknown/unsupported geography hierarchy



gets data successfully


What's going on?

  • My understanding is that there's a systemwide (intermittent) API issue today (or so says @uscensusbureau twitter twitter.com/.../1070692966212227072) But I don't know if that's what's causing the specific problem you're seeing?
  • Update from my email correspondence with Census:

    If you look in the geographies section of the dataset you will find that state > tract is not a valid geography. Your query is being automatically corrected to the correct state > county > tract geography for the 2016 dataset but not for the 2017 dataset. To see the list of supported geographies you can look at the geography page of the dataset.


    This may be due to a difference where the county wildcard variable is not allowed in the 2017 dataset while not being the bottommost hierarchy.

    You can see in the 2016 examples link that it contains that middle example where wildcards are allowed in the county variable while the 2017 examples link does not contain that middle example for state > county > tract.


    I will contact our developers/survey providers about this discrepancy. In the meantime if you want tract level data from the 2017 ACS 5 year you will have to use the format provided in the example link and go county by county.