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Using Census Data to Help Local Communities: Census Information Centers at Work

Report Number CLO/03-CIC


Using Census Data to Help Local Communities: Census Information Centers at Work highlights examples of how Census Information Centers (CICs) use census data to serve under-served communities (such as rural, youth, physically challenged, racial, and ethnic populations) in varied and meaningful ways.

Case studies discussed here represent just a sample of the countless uses of U.S. Census Bureau data by the 52 CICs. Topics covered range from identifying crime patterns in public housing in Washington, DC, to conducting a countywide assessment of children and youth in Nashville, TN; demonstrating how the events of September 11, 2001, affected New York City’s greater Chinatown area to reaching needy children with social services in Minnesota; designating urban revitalization areas in Shreveport to measuring the minority education gap in Illinois; expanding the range of the Brooklyn Empowerment Zone to facilitating business relocation decisions in the Rio Grande Valley; helping Latino communities redraw legislative boundaries in the Latino Voting Rights Project to determining immigration and distribution patterns of Korean Americans; and justifying the need for an after school program in East Oakland, CA.

Started in 1988, the CIC Program is a cooperative venture between the U.S. Census Bureau and national level, community-based organizations and colleges and universities to serve as auxiliary data distribution centers reaching underserved populations. Accordingly, each CIC has its own target audience often requiring unique information. The CIC Program includes organizations such as chambers of commerce; minority-serving colleges and universities; civil rights, social justice, and social service groups; think tanks; and research organizations.

The mission of the CIC Program is to provide efficient access to Census Bureau data products through a wide data dissemination network of organizations. Those organizations effectively process and disseminate Census Bureau data to underserved population groups in easily understandable formats. To accomplish this mission, CICs work in partnership with the Census Bureau through the Customer Liaison Office.

The CICs are recognized as official sources of demographic, economic, and social statistics produced by the Census Bureau. CICs provide training and technical assistance to local governments, businesses, community groups, and other interested data users in accessing and using Census Bureau data for research, program administration, planning, and decision making purposes.

The CICs who produced these case studies are shown on the acknowledgments page.


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