I'm trying to determine the best way to do more complex queries using ACS. It may be that my better answer is PUMS or another method, in which case, please let me know! My current director is leaving, and she's not familiar with the changes in the system. So, I reached out to Census, and they suggested asking here or trying PUMS.
I'm looking for data, especially local data (ACS will sort by place to the cities I'm looking for just fine), but I want to use more nested variables. Looking up places for one or two characteristics works fine, but I feel like I'm just taking shots in the dark at how to use the search to get, for example,
% of total households that are female-led, foreign-born, below the poverty threshold, with children under 5, in (selected cities/places)
(then the same for citizen vs non-citizen, and the same for national averages)
These comparisons are useful for determining need among local populations for our non-profit, but it's difficult to get comparisons this specific or relevant, but we apparently used to. I'm willing to learn PUMS, but after looking at the manual, I want to be sure there isn't a more direct route I'm missing. Thank you for reading - any advice is greatly appreciated.
Thank you for the fast response! I may investigate IPUMS for application with our community needs assessments, as I am going to be the lone researcher for this. I really appreciate knowing the soft "three crosstable" limit, though I wish I weren't just guessing at what crosstables are available.
I don't have separate database or statistics software, but our state happens to have a reference system which interprets ACS data tables, and I use that as often as possible.
Thanks again for the IPUMS suggestion - learning a lot this week.
The problem with PUMS data (as distinct from IPUMS) is that the smallest geography available is the PUMA, which is a statistical area of about 100,000 people -- which may not be as local as you have in mind.
Also, in terms of knowing what you can get from the detailed tables, it's always a work in progress, but we have pretty good coverage of the primary topical areas at https://censusreporter.org/topics/ including lists of tables which link to pages describing the specific columns available. Maybe it would be useful.