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Guide to the ACS API Updates to Character and Numeric Data Variables

Component ID: #ti18699654

The American Community Survey (ACS) Detailed Tables and Data Profile estimates in the Census API are being converted to be consistent in the treatment of character and numeric data.  Existingly, Detailed Tables only have numeric values and are missing the character values in the API, while Data Profiles have character values in place of numeric values, where applicable.  In the new format, ACS will will have both numeric and character data in the API in a consistent format for all data products.

Existing Format Data in API
Data Product Format of data in API
Detailed Table Numeric data
Data Profile Character data

In order to make the data consistant with other surveys and datasets, ACS will be adding in special variables just for character data and moving the numeric data to the existing variables. The new character variables will have the same name as existing numeric variables but with  an “A” on the end.

Note:  The character data is only present in the API if character data exist and should always be used for display purposes in place of numeric data.

Example of New Format of Data Profile (DP02) in API
Characteristics DP02_0001E DP02_0001EA
Format Numeric Character
New/Existing Existing New

Component ID: #ti1933051292

Data Profile example using My Congressional Districts

Below is an example using My Congressional Districts which sources Data Profiles that will be changing in the new by moving the existing character data into the new API variables that end with an “A”.

Existing API example using ACS data profile - My Congressional District

Component ID: #ti1159706646

Existing example
SEX AND AGE Estimates Margin of Error
Total population DP05_0001E DP05_0001M
Male DP05_0002E DP05_0002M
Female DP05_0003E DP05_0003M
Existing example API call and results for selected variables for Wyoming Congressional District (At Large)

call

https://api.census.gov/data/2015/acs1/profile?get=DP05_0001E,DP05_0002E,DP05_0003E,DP05_0001M,DP05_0002M,DP05_0003M&for=congressional+district:00&in=state:56

results

[["DP05_0001E","DP05_0002E","DP05_0003E","DP05_0001M","DP05_0002M","DP05_0003M","state","congressional district"],
["586107","295102","291005","*****","2375","2375","56","00"]]


New changes in API example using ACS data profile - My Congressional District

Component ID: #ti1682880272

New example sourcing document
SEX AND AGE Estimates Margin of Error
Total population DP05_0001E
(DP05_0001EA)
DP05_0001M
(DP05_0001MA)
Male DP05_0002E
(DP05_0002EA)
DP05_0002M
(DP05_0002MA)
Female DP05_0003E
(DP05_0003EA)
DP05_0003M
(DP05_0003MA)

New example API call and results for selected variables for Wyoming Congressional District (At Large)

call

https://api.census.gov/data/2015/acs/acs1/profile?get=DP05_0001E,DP05_0002E,DP05_0003E,DP05_0001M,DP05_0002M,DP05_0003M&for=congressional+district:00&in=state:56

results

[["DP05_0001E","DP05_0002E","DP05_0003E","DP05_0001M","DP05_0002M","DP05_0003M","state","congressional district"],
["586107","295102","291005","-555555555","2375","2375","56","00"]]


New example API annotation calls and annotation results for selected variables for Wyoming Congressional District (At Large)

call

https://api.census.gov/data/2015/acs/acs1/profile?get=DP05_0001EA,DP05_0002EA,DP05_0003EA,DP05_0001MA,DP05_0002MA,DP05_0003MA&for=congressional+district:00&in=state:56

results

[["DP05_0001EA","DP05_0002EA","DP05_0003EA","DP05_0001MA","DP05_0002MA","DP05_0003MA","state","congressional district"],
[null,null,null,"*****",null,null,"56","00"]]


New changes in API example using ACS data profile - My Congressional District

Component ID: #ti1892106584

call

https://api.census.gov/data/2015/acs5?get=NAME,B01001_001E,B01001_001M&for=county:017&in=state:24

results

[["NAME","B01001_001E","B01001_001M","state","county"],

["Charles County, Maryland","152754","0","24","017"]]

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