The purpose of this guide is to provide an overview of the U.S. Census Bureau’s microdata application programming interface (API) and walk through how to make queries. Through this guide, you will learn what the microdata API is, when to use it, and how to use it to get raw data and custom statistics.
Public use microdata is a set of raw data that have not yet been tabulated into a pre-made table. It is when the Census Bureau takes responses received from surveys, removes personal information so you cannot identify any specific person/household, and puts additional edits in place to protect the confidentiality of respondents. Then the Census Bureau provides the set of raw data for you to conduct your own statistical analysis. Working with microdata requires you to select variables, create categories (recode variables), determine output format, and apply statistical weights.
Before using microdata, here are a few tips: