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Valid Values now presented for categorical variables

What is happening?

The U.S. Census Bureau is releasing new functionality to our discovery page on the data API that will allow users to see a list of all valid values for categorical variables.

This functionality may break existing calls to the API Discovery for variables, depending on how the JSON or XML for variable exploration are used.

Valid Values will be populated on a flow basis as the U.S. Census Bureau migrates to a new metadata system.  We will update this notice once some valid values are populated. Currently all valid values are blank.


Released to beta on July 6, 2017 and plan to release to production on July 19, 2017.



How to use?

Developers will be able to see and query a list of valid values for select variables.

Where you will see it?

There will be a new column on the variables discovery page that will link to a list of valid values for most categorical variables.  These valid values will also show up in the json and xml variables pages.



  "name": "LFO",

  "label": "Legal form of organization",

  "concept": "Employer Statistics",

  "required": default displayed,

  "predicateType": "string",

  "group": "N/A",

  "limit": 8,

  "validValues": [




<census-api><vars><var xml:id="LFO" label="Legal form of organization" concept="Employer Statistics" required="default displayed" predicate-type="string" group="N/A" limit="8"><validValues>



This feature will provide access to additional documentation for categorical variables by allowing users to generate lists of valid values for an API call without going through the data first.

Questions regarding this change?

Please report any problems you encounter to <>.


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