tidycensus

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tidycensus is an R package that allows users to interface with the US Census Bureau’s decennial Census and five-year American Community APIs and return tidyverse-ready data frames, optionally with simple feature geometry included. Install from CRAN with the following command:

install.packages("tidycensus")

In version 0.4.6:

# Requires the installation of the GitHub version and ggplot2
# library(devtools)
# install_github("tidyverse/ggplot2")

library(tidycensus)
library(tidyverse)
library(viridis)

us_county_income <- get_acs(geography = "county", variables = "B19013_001", 
                            shift_geo = TRUE, geometry = TRUE)

ggplot(us_county_income) + 
  geom_sf(aes(fill = estimate), color = NA) + 
  coord_sf(datum = NA) + 
  theme_minimal() + 
  scale_fill_viridis()
income_plot
income_plot

In version 0.4:

racevars <- c(White = "P0050003", 
              Black = "P0050004", 
              Asian = "P0050006", 
              Hispanic = "P0040003")

harris <- get_decennial(geography = "tract", variables = racevars, 
                  state = "TX", county = "Harris County", geometry = TRUE,
                  summary_var = "P0010001") 

head(harris)

## Simple feature collection with 6 features and 5 fields
## geometry type:  MULTIPOLYGON
## dimension:      XY
## bbox:           xmin: -95.37457 ymin: 29.74486 xmax: -95.32409 ymax: 29.80907
## epsg (SRID):    4269
## proj4string:    +proj=longlat +datum=NAD83 +no_defs
## # A tibble: 6 x 6
##         GEOID              NAME variable value summary_value
##         <chr>             <chr>    <chr> <dbl>         <dbl>
## 1 48201100000 Census Tract 1000    White  2082          4690
## 2 48201100000 Census Tract 1000    Black  1047          4690
## 3 48201100000 Census Tract 1000    Asian   134          4690
## 4 48201100000 Census Tract 1000 Hispanic  1070          4690
## 5 48201210900 Census Tract 2109    White    35          1620
## 6 48201210900 Census Tract 2109    Black  1195          1620
## # ... with 1 more variables: geometry <S3: sfc_MULTIPOLYGON>

In version 0.3.1:

New in version 0.3:

library(tidycensus)

df <- get_acs(geography = "state", table = "B01001", survey = "acs1", year = 2016)

The table parameter fetches a variable list from the Census Bureau website to perform table lookup. To cache the variable list on your computer for faster use of the table parameter in the future, set cache_table = TRUE the first time you fetch a table for a particular dataset.

Why tidycensus?

My work heavily involves the use of data from the US Census Bureau, and like many R users, I do most of my work within the tidyverse. Beyond this, the sf package now allows R users to work with spatial data in an integrated way with tidyverse tools, and updates to the tigris package provide access to Census boundary data as sf objects. Recently, I’ve found myself writing the same routines over and over to get Census data ready for use with tidyverse packages and sf. This motivated me to wrap these functions in a package and open-source in case other R users find them useful.

tidycensus is designed to help R users get Census data that is pre-prepared for exploration within the tidyverse, and optionally spatially with sf. To learn more about how the package works, I encourage you to read the following articles:

Future development

To keep up with on-going development of tidycensus and get even more examples of how to use the package, subscribe to my email list by clicking here (no spam, I promise!). You’ll also get updates on the development of my upcoming book with CRC Press, Analyzing the US Census with R.

You can also follow my blog at https://walkerke.github.io.

My development focus is on making the current datasets as accessible as possible; if you need other approaches or datasets, I recommend the censusapi and acs packages.

If you find this project useful, you can support package development in the following ways:

Note: This product uses the Census Bureau Data API but is not endorsed or certified by the Census Bureau.