Skip Main Navigation Skip To Navigation Content


You are here: Census.govTechTalk › 2010 Census Data Engine
Skip top of page navigation

2010 Census Data Engine

Known Issues

21 December 2012 - It has been reported that Geographic Components do not return data for the PCO tables included on both the US Summary and National File DVD datasets. This has been verified as accurate and a solution has been developed. An updated .demo file has been produced that contains the missing data and will replace the original installed file of the same name.

2010 SF1 US Summary Correction [ZIP]
2010 SF1 National Correction [ZIP]

To correct the installation, download and unzip the appropriate file; US Summary or National. Locate and overwrite the existing file of the same name in its installed location. The default installation location is C:\Program Files\Alteryx\DataProducts\Portfolio\SF1_US or SF1_National. If you installed either dataset to an alternate location, you can use the Windows search to find the file location by searching for all .demo files or by searching for the specific file name

How to Use This DVD



The 2010 Census of Population and Housing data on DVD displays data compiled from the questions asked of all people and about every housing unit. Population items include sex, age, race, Hispanic or Latino origin, household relationship, household type, household size, family type, family size, and group quarters. Housing items include occupancy status, vacancy status, and tenure (whether a housing unit is owner-occupied or renter-occupied).

This DVD contains that data in a compressed and proprietary format intended to work in conjunction with the included 2010 Census Data Engine. Also included on the disc is the Technical Documentation in Adobe® Portable Document Format (PDF). A full listing of the contents of each disc can be found in the README.TXT file located at the root level of each disc.

This document is intended as a guide to the installation and use of the 2010 Census Data Engine. Further assistance can be found within the 2010 Census Data Engine by clicking Help.


The DVD has been designed to automatically display the AutoPlay menu when the disc is placed in a DVD drive. If it does not start automatically, it can be started by running the file AUTOPLAY.EXE from the DVD root directory.

To use the data included on the DVD, you must install the 2010 Census Data Engine AND the Census dataset to your computer. There are two separate installation routines on the DVD; one for the 2010 Census Data Engine and one for the associated Census dataset. Once both items have been successfully installed, the DVD no longer needs to be in the DVD drive for the 2010 Census Data Engine to function. For future 2010 Census data products on DVD that include the 2010 Census Data Engine, only the Census dataset will need to be installed.

Adobe® Acrobat® or Acrobat® Reader® must be installed to view the Technical Documentation PDF. It is recommended that Adobe® Acrobat® 7 or Acrobat® Reader® 7, or later, be installed. The AutoPlay menu checks the computer for this minimum recommended version and will display a notification if no version is present or an earlier version exists. Acrobat® Reader® is available free of charge from Adobe's Website and allows for viewing and printing of PDF documents.

The AutoPlay menu offers the following selections:

AutoPlay menu

Install Census Data Engine
Launches the Alteryx installation application to install the 2010 Census Data Engine and any necessary Windows® components to the computer. The installer can also launch the Alteryx DataInstall application to install the dataset contained on that disc.

Install Census Dataset
Launches the Alteryx DataInstall application allowing datasets to be installed and uninstalled.

View Documentation
Displays the Technical Documentation PDF. Adobe® Acrobat® or Acrobat® Reader® must be installed prior to viewing the PDF documentation.

How To Use This DVD
Opens this document and guides users on how to use the features of the 2010 Census Data Engine.

Browse DVD Contents
Opens a Windows® Explorer view of the DVD contents.

Connect with us:
Links to Census Bureau content on some popular social media Websites.

The links found on the Autoplay menu have Tool Tips associated with them that display a brief reminder of what each link will do.

The same options can be found in the menu bar of the AutoPlay application. This menu bar is also accessible from the keyboard by pressing the ALT key and navigating with the keyboard arrow keys.

For a detailed list of the files included on this DVD, please see the README.TXT file at the root directory of this disc.


Clicking the Install Census Data Engine link from the AutoPlay menu or running the file 2010CENSUSDATAENGINE.EXE from the root directory of the DVD will initiate the installation process. The application installer will check that certain system resources and Microsoft® library files that are required to use the 2010 Census Data Engine are present and up to date. Microsoft® .NET Framework 4 is a required component and will be updated or installed as necessary. Administrative privileges are required to install the 2010 Censu Data Engine; please check with your system administrator to verify the ability to install the application.

During the application installation, you will be asked to accept the terms of a License Agreement for use of the 2010 Census Data Engine. A text version of this End User License Agreement (EULA) can be found in the root directory of the DVD as the file EULA.RTF. When the 2010 Census Data Engine installation is finished, the installer application will offer to launch the Census Data Installer application that will install the included dataset from that disc. Subsequent discs or products require just the dataset to be installed once the 2010 Census Data Engine is successfully installed.

EULA Acceptance Screen
End User License Agreement acceptance screen
Install Complete Screen
Final Installation Screen

The application installer will create a shortcut on your desktop named "2010 Census Data Engine" with the following icon. 2010 Census Data Engine desktop icon


When the 2010 Census Data Engine installation completes from any disc, the last screen allows the user to launch the DataInstall application and install the dataset contained on that disc. Supsequent dataset installations can be performed independent of the 2010 Census Data Engine installation by following the procedures below. Once the 2010 Census Data Engine has been successfully installed, only new datasets need to be installed prior to use. Whether initiated from the 2010 Census Data Engine installation or through the disc menu Install Census Dataset link, the dataset installation behaves the same.

Alternatively, clicking the Install Census Dataset link from the AutoPlay menu or running the file \INSTALL\DATAINSTALL.EXE from the DVD will launch the DataInstall application. The DataInstall application allows the user to install and uninstall Census datasets and their components. Users will encounter the Uninstall dialog if there are previous Census DVD datasets (Alteryx Demofiles) installed to the computer. The user can choose to keep previous installations or uninstall these datasets. The 2010 Census Data Engine is capable of using both 2010 Census datasets (ver 6.6) and Census 2000 datasets (ver 3.6).

Uninstall Screen
Uninstall screen of the DataInstall application
Installation Selection Screen
Install screen of the DataInstall application

Clicking Next will advance the DataInstall application to the Location screen, shown below, where clicking Finish will both Uninstall and Install any selected datasets. Once the installation begins, the installation activity and progress are shown in the Progress screen.

Install Location Screen
Installation location screen of the DataInstall application

Progress Screen
Install progress screen of the DataInstall application

Summary File 2 & American Indian and Alaska Native Summary File Iteration Installation

Summary File 2 and the American Indian and Alaska Native Summary File are structured differently than Summary File 1. The data tables are repeated (iterated) for various population groups, and are subject to a population threshold of 100 or more people in the geography being tabulated. For the Summary File 2 and the American Indian and Alaska Native Summary File DVD products, each iteration is presented as a unique dataset, identified by its three-digit characteristic iteration code.

The DataInstall application behaves differently for these datasets and allows the user to select individual iterations to install. By default, Iteration 001 - Total Population is selected for installation. Other iterations can be selected by checking the box next to the desired iteration(s). Multiple iterations can be selected and installed at once.

SF2 National Dataset Installation


To begin using the 2010 Census Data Engine, either double-click the application icon 2010 Census Data Engine desktop icon located on your desktop or locate the application in the 2010 Census Data Engine folder in your Windows® Start menu. The 2010 Census Data Engine is comprised of 4 tabs (WORKSPACE | PICK GEOGRAPHY | OUTPUT | VARIABLES) that allow the user to define the components of their query. At a minimum, one geography and one variable (or predefined Quick Table report template) must be selected and an output method has to be defined for the 2010 Census Data Engine to produce a result.

[Back to top]Workspace Tab

The initial screen allows the user to select a dataset and save the workspace for future use. Several key features are listed below and shown in the graphic.

1. Database Selection
All installed Census datasets are displayed here. The 2010 Census Data Engine will always open to the most recently installed dataset or the last opened dataset. Changing the dataset requires the 2010 Census Data Engine to restart.
2. Navigation Buttons
The Next and Back buttons allows the user to change the active tab. Switching between these tabs allows the user to define the geography, output, and variables as necessary to complete a query. The Finish button is used to return the query results.
3. Help Button
Displays the application Help file with expanded content on basic and advanced functions of the 2010 Census Data Engine.
Initial view of the 2010 Census Data Engine
[Back to top]Pick Geography Tab

The Pick Geography tab is where the query geography will be defined. All of the geographies present in the dataset are displayed in nested lists organized by Summary Level. When compiled for use with the 2010 Census Data Engine, the geographies are ordered by their respective Summary Level number and often appear out of context from the intended hierarchical display. Within the File dropdown menu, there is a link to the original Summary Level Sequence Chart that displays the geographies in their intended order. The example in the graphic shows Autugua County, AL as the only selected geography. Using the + and - in the geography list will expand (+) or collapse (-) the listing.

Pick Geography tab of the 2010 Census Data Engine

To select a geography or multiple geographies, click the mouse on the checkbox. To clear a selection, click on the checkbox again. A greyed checkbox indicates that a lower geographic area has been selected.

Unchecked box Geography not selected
Partially checked box Parent geography selected or lower geographies selected
Fully checked box Geography selected

There are several advanced functions available from the File button, including Add Radius and Filter Selection, which are discussed in the Advanced Features section of this document.

[Back to top]Output Tab

The Output tab is where the format, style, and options of the output will be defined. There are 2 types of output; File and Report, described below.

File Output

File output indicates a file generated for use by another application or process. Formats include comma-separated, Microsoft® Excel and Access, dBASE, ESRI Shapefile, and HTML. GIS output of polygon data is limited to State, County, Census Tract, and Block Group geographies. Due to base level geographies in the dataset structure, polygon extraction is not supported in the National file dataset.

Click the "Save As" button to define the file name and type of the output. Microsoft® Excel and Access will also ask for a Table name when saving the output. This will name the individual table or worksheet that contains the data.

A description file including the geography name, key value, and text descriptions of the selected variables is also produced and will be saved with the same name as the output file and in the same location.

Output file options

Report Output

Report output indicates a print-ready display of the query results, either from user-defined variables and geography in one of the Blank Reports, or from one of the included predefined Quick Table reports.

Select a file type for display from the "Create Output File" option then select either a predefined Quick Table or one of the Blank Reports from the "Report Template File" listbox.

A Quick Table does not require the selection of variables as the report has already been defined with specific variables and formulas necessary to produce that Quick Table report. The Blank Reports are XML defined reports that are ready to accept the user defined output.

The Comparison and Summary Blank Reports behave differently. The Comparison Report will display up to 64 geographies in a side-by-side comparison of like variables. The Summary Report will display individual geographies as separate reports. Extracts greater than 64 geographies are best suited for File Output in either a spreadsheet, database or comma-delimited format.

Report file options

When checked, the "Create Output as Summary" option will total the values of more than one geography and display the results as a single value per variable selected while listing all of the selected geographies. This is useful for aggregating data from select component geographies where a defined total does not exist in the dataset.

There is also a Rank report available in the Report Template File listbox. This Report allows the user to perform a simple ranking on a single variable for the selected geographies. More information can be found in the Advanced Features section of this document.

[Back to top]Variables Tab

The Variables tab is where the user can select individual data variables, entire variable tables, or a combination of variables across multiple tables. Just like the Select Geographic Area listing, the Input Variables are nested and use the same method of expending and collapsing the view by clicking either the + or - next to a variable. Selection is similar to picking geography; click the variable or a table of variables to highlight it (1) then click "Select" (2) to display the variables in the Output Variable list (3).

Variables tab showing selection of data variables

To clear the variables from the Output Varaibles list, simply click on the unwanted variable and click the Delete button (4). Entire groups of variables can be deleted by selecting the table name and clicking the Delete button (4). Also, clicking the Delete button with no variable selected will remove the entire list of Variables from the Output Variables list (3).

[Back to top]BASIC EXAMPLE

This example will show how to use the 2010 Census Data Engine to display the number of Hispanic respondents and the component races identified for various geographic areas within a state from the 2010 Census Summary File 1 data. Both file and report output will be illustrated along with the use of a predefined Quick Table.

To begin, identify the proper table within the 2010 Census Summary File 1 data by referring to the Technical Documentation (in this example, PCT11 - Hispanic or Latino by Specific Origin will be the source). The Technical Documentation can be found in the directory \TechDoc from the root of the DVD.

Step 1 - Selecting the database
Open the 2010 Census Data Engine and verify or change the Current Database (1) to 2010 Census SF1 United States Summary. Previous and future databases will also be listed here.

Identifying and changing the Current Database

Click Next or select the Pick Geography tab to continue

Step 2 - Selecting Geography
In this example, all of the counties in Delaware have been selected (1). Additional geographic areas can also be selected from outside the original geography.

Selecting geography

Click Next or select the Output tab to continue

Step 3 - Defining Output
Defining the output first starts with choosing either File or Report (1) from the Output Mode section on the Output tab. By default, the Output Mode is set to Report. The method to specify the output varies here, so both methods will be shown side by side.

File Output

Click the Save As (2) button to define a File name, Save as Type and folder location using a standard Windows® Save As dialog. Numerous file types are available from the Windows® Save As dialog. This example shows a comma-separated value file (.CSV) named Delaware Hispanic.csv defined as the target output file.

Output file options

Report Output

Select a Blank Report from the Report Template File list (2) and define the Output File as Temporary HTML File (3). Other options exist, but HTML is the preferred output method when using a Report Template File. A Report Title is not necessary, but can be included by adding text to the Report Title field.

Report file options

Click Next or select the Variables tab to continue

Step 4 - Defining Variables
Navigate to find the desired data table, in this case PCT11 - Hispanic or Latino by Specific Origin. To select the entire data table, highlight the Table name by clicking on it (1), then click on the Select button (2) to add the selected data variables to the Output Variables list (3).

Selecting Variables

Step 5 - Finish and Display
Once a geography, output, and at least one variable have been selected, click the Finish button (1) on any tab to run the query and return results.

Click Finish to produce results

After the 2010 Census Data Engine has compiled the results, the Processing Finished... dialog appears and allows the user to display the results either with that computer's default application for the file type or a user-specified application. Click OK (1) to display the results.

Select application to view output

Comparing Outputs
Shown side by side below are both the File output and the Report output for the same query. The Report Output is an example of a Comparison Report.

File Output

File output example

Report Output

Report output example

Using The Quick Tables
Several predefined Quick Tables have been developed based on standard Census Bureau formats for the 2010 Census. These will be listed in the Report Template File listbox on the Output tab. A comparable Quick Table to the PCT table used for the previous example is QT-P10 Hispanic or Latino by Type, which includes many of the same variables as the original query, plus an additional column listing the specific type as a percentage of the total Hispanic or Latino population of that geography. Simply select the Quick Table from the Report Template File listbox on the Output tab, choose a File type, and click Finish to display the results.

Quick Table report output example

The Quick Table output shown above is an example of a Summary Report. Notice that the selected geographies are listed in a separate frame and can be viewed individually.


The 2010 Census Data Engine is capable of filtering geography through variable constraints, creating new custom variables, referred to as Virtual Variables, and displaying results in a radius from a geographic point. The 2010 Census Data Engine will save these user-defined geographies and variables for later use. A blank Rank Report is also available for use and will sort the selected geographies in descending order by the user selected Ranking variable.

[Back to top]Geographic Filtering

Using the Create Filter Formula dialog allows for all levels of geography, where data is present, to be filtered to meet specific criteria. This can be geographic areas with more than a certain number of houses, geographic areas within a defined population range, geographic areas with specific race combinations, and so on. Mathematical and Boolean logic operators are available for variable comparisons. Statistical and other comparison functions are available in the Functions tab of the Create Filter Formula dialog, but most are generally not supported by Census datasets.

Example of the geographic filtering dialog

To use the Geographic Filter, choose one or more geographies from the Select Geographic Area list on the Pick Geography tab, then choose "Filter Selection" from the File menu on the Pick Geography tab. To create a formula, highlight a variable to Insert in the Formula builder, select an Operator to Insert then type a value to complete the formula comparison. Variables can also be compared to one another. Be sure to use parentheses to enclose separate logical comparisons in complex equations.

[Back to top]Virtual Variables

Virtual Variables are user-defined variables that will be saved as Temporary Variables in the Input Variables list on the Variables tab. The Create Formula dialog works the same as the Create Filter Formula dialog in building the formula. In the example below, a formula is being created to state the number of Mexican respondents as a percentage of the total population. Once this formula is created and saved, it can be used with any geographic area.

Example of the Virtual Variable builder dialog
Virtual Variables properties and naming dialog

When saving the formula, a name should be given to it and the Units should be verified. In the above example, the data to be displayed as a result of the formula is intended to be a percentage, so the Units should be changed to Percent to properly express the value.

[Back to top]Radius Function

Data can be displayed as a defined radius or ring from Latitude and Longitude coordinates. The Census datasets include the center point Latitude and Longitude as part of the Geographic Identifiers of every defined geographic area and can be used to define a center point for a radius display. To obtain the Latitude and Longitude for a given geography, simply select the geography, choose an output method, and select the Internal Point (Latitude) and Internal Point (Longitude) variables from the Geographic Identifiers. You can then cut and paste the Latitude and Longitude into the application dialog when necessary.

From the Pick Geography tab, select "Add Radius" from the File menu to display the Create a point... dialog. Addresses are not supported in the Census datasets, so choose "From Coordinates" and enter a Latitude and Longitude for the area. Enter the coordinates, bearing in mind that the United States lie west of the prime meridian and require a negative longitude (-) to denote its correct location. Being that the United States is in the northern hemisphere, a positive Latitude number is correct.

Create a point... radius dialog
Radius point information

The default radii defined by the 2010 Census Data Engine are for 1, 3, and 5 miles from the defined point. These can be changed to display a smaller or larger radius, or a greater number of radii. Rings, or doughnuts, can also be defined and used in conjunction with defined radii. The convention for this (1-3, 3-5) denotes 2 rings; the first begins with the radius 1 mile from the center point and includes everything out to 3 miles from the center point. The second defines the doughnut as beginning at 3 miles from the center point and including everything out to 5 miles from the center point.

The coordinates are used as the Point Name of the defined radius and can be changed to a descriptive name before saving. The Units of the radius can also be changed to kilometers. Saved Radius definitions can be found listed in the Custom folder in the Select Geographic Ares list on the Pick Geography tab.

[Back to top]Rank Reports

A blank Rank Report has been included in the Report Template File listbox on the Output tab and is useful for a simple ranked comparison report. To use the blank Rank Report, select more than one geography from the Pick Geography and choose the blank Rank Report from the Report Template File listbox on the Output tab. Selecting the Rank Report before choosing variables is important as the report template file includes code to notify the 2010 Census Data Engine that a rank report will be generated and will allow the user to select the ranking variable.

Select the variables as before, by clicking on individual variables or entire tables of variables and clicking Select to include the variables in the Output Variables list. By default, the first variable to be selected will be defined as the Ranking variable, indicated with the Ranking Variable icon Ranking Variable indicator. Changing the ranking variable is as simple as double-clicking a different variable.

Selecting variables for a Rank Report

Once the appropriate Ranking variable is selected, click Finish to display the results. A Rank Report will display the selected variables in columns as a comparison and will order the geographies based on the Ranking Variable from highest to lowest. The Ranking Variable will be the first column of data and the results will be in Bold font. The Rank column next to the geographic area Name column indicates the order of the geographic areas based on the selected Ranking Variable from the highest value to lowest value.

Example of rank report output


Technical Support for this disc product is available in several formats. The phone numbers listed below are intended to route your support call to the appropriate contact. Questions concerning the data methodology, data collection procedures, and general information about Census summary file data should contact the Data User Branch. 2010 Census Data Engine use questions and general errors with the installed application, reports, and DVD content should contact the IT Support & Electronic Products Branch.

The URL's listed below contain information regarding the use of the 2010 Census Data Engine with the 2010 Census summary data and contain solutions to common problems.

Question & Answer Center
2010 Census Summary File 1 Technical Documentation [PDF]

Data Support and Content Questions
Data User Branch, CLMSO
(301) 763-INFO
Barbara LaFleur
(301) 763-4022
Application Use and Errors
IT Support & Electronic Products Branch, ACSD
(301) 763-7710

[PDF] or PDF denotes a file in Adobe’s Portable Document Format. To view the file, you will need the Adobe® Reader® Off Site available free from Adobe. This symbol Off Site indicates a link to a non-government web site. Our linking to these sites does not constitute an endorsement of any products, services or the information found on them. Once you link to another site you are subject to the policies of the new site.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Administrative and Customer Services Division | (301) 763-7710 |  Last Revised: November 07, 2013