U.S. Department of Commerce
Link to Census 2000 Gateway

Special Tabulations

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I find out what is already tabulated in standard products?

Will I be able to receive a special tabulation with Census 2000 data at the same level of detail as in 1990?

What are the major content changes from the 1990 census?

Will all special tabulations be posted on the Internet?

Can special tabulations be produced on CD-ROMs and/or DVDs with tabulation software?

How much will my special tabulation cost?

We have paid a substantial amount of money to produce our special tabulation. What is the policy regarding distribution to others?

How long will it take to receive our special tabulation?

How is the priority order of special tabulations determined?

How do I find out what has already been tabulated in special tabulations?

Who do we contact concerning Census 2000 special tabulations?


How do I find out what is already tabulated in standard products?
All Census 2000 standard data products are available through the Internet via the Census 2000 gateway page. Census 2000 data also are located at http://www.factfinder.census.gov/. For assistance using American Factfinder, call our Customer Services Center at (301) 763-INFO.

Will I be able to receive a special tabulation with Census 2000 data at the same level of detail as in 1990?
For most special tabulation requesters, the answer to this is yes, you will be able to get the same level of detail as in 1990. However, much greater computing power is available now than ever before. This allows users the ability to do more with data than ever before, but it also means that we must go to greater lengths to ensure the confidentiality of individual respondents.

Special tabulations must be approved by the Census Bureau’s Disclosure Review Board (DRB). At a minimum, all data cells in special tabulations (excluding derived measures) produced from Census 2000 will be rounded. Additional disclosure avoidance requirements, such as thresholds on universes for small population groups, may apply to your Census 2000 special tabulation. The project manager for your special tabulation will work with you to construct a request that meets the DRB requirements.

What are the major content changes from the 1990 census?
The Census 2000 short form contained only seven questions (name, sex, age, relationship, Hispanic origin, race, and housing tenure) -- making it the shortest short form in 180 years. Similarly, the Census 2000 long form was shorter than its 1990 counterpart (52 questions versus 57 in 1990).

For the first time ever, in Census 2000 people could select more than one racial category to indicate mixed racial heritage. The race question read "What is this person’s race? Mark one or more races to indicate what this person considers himself/herself to be."

In response to Congressional guidance to minimize reporting burden, the Census Bureau included only those 1990 census subjects that had a strong legislative or judicial justification. As a result, five subjects that appeared on the 1990 census long form were dropped: Children Ever Born (fertility), Year Last Worked, Source of Water, Sewage Disposal, and Condominium Status. Marital Status, Units in Structure, Value of Home, Monthly Rent, and Number of Rooms were moved from the short form to the long form for Census 2000 because there were no statutory uses identified for these subjects at the lowest geographic level (census block). Only one new subject, Grandparents as Caregivers, was added to the Census 2000 questionnaire in response to the Welfare Reform Act.

[NOTE: Although Year Last Worked was no longer a separate subject as in the 1990 census, a very abbreviated screener question about work history was included with the questions about industry, occupation, and class of worker in Census 2000. This allowed the Census Bureau to both reduce respondent burden and properly define the "experienced civilian labor force." Additionally, although Condominium Status was no longer a separate question as in the 1990 census, a question on Monthly Condominium fee was asked for respondents who lived in a condominium in Census 2000. If an amount was reported in the question on condominium fee, we use these data to infer that the house or apartment is part of a condominium.]

More content changes

Will all special tabulations be posted on the Internet?
If a sponsor would like us to post their tabulation on the Internet, the Census Bureau project manager should be made aware of this so that it can be factored into their cost estimate. Alternately, the sponsor could post the special tabulation on its own web site. The Census Bureau will not automatically post special tabulations on the Internet, and, in fact, may decline to post them on our Internet site.

Can special tabulations be produced on CD-ROMs and/or DVDs with tabulation software?
Special tabulations can be produced on CD-ROMs and DVDs with tabulation software or in spreadsheet format (for example, Excel). If a sponsor is interested in this, the Census Bureau project manager should be made aware so that it can be factored into the cost and timing estimate.

How much will my special tabulation cost?
The actual cost will depend on the complexity and scope of your request. The cost of custom special tabulations can range from $1,000 (the minimum) to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

We have paid a substantial amount of money to produce our special tabulation. What is the policy regarding distribution to others?
By law, there are no proprietary rights associated with special tabulations. The Census Bureau maintains a publicly available list of all custom tabulations that includes the names of the requesters and a brief description of the products. Once produced, custom tabulations will be available upon request for the cost of reproduction.

How long will it take to receive our special tabulation?
The timing of delivery depends on the level of complexity of the special tabulation. Special tabulations must be scheduled so that they do not interfere with the requirements of the Census Bureau work authorized by direct appropriations or with our existing work load. If possible, we will strive to meet your timing requirements. We will continue to provide special tabulations from Census 2000 throughout the decade, and beyond, as the needs arise.

How is the priority order of special tabulations determined?
The order is determined by a number of factors, including the complexity of the request, and the resources available at the time of the request.

How do I find out what has already been tabulated in special tabulations?
The special tabulations coordinator can answer questions regarding Census 2000 special tabulations already released or still in preparation. Selected special tabulations are available online.

Who do we contact concerning Census 2000 Special Tabulations?
The coordinators for Census 2000 special tabulations are Leanna Mellott and Rachel Marks. Their phone number is 301-763-2429. You can also send e-mail to pop.census.2000.special.tabs@census.gov