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Using the Census Data API With the American Community Survey: What Data Users Need to Know

An API, or “Application Programming Interface,” is a tool that programmers can use to access data more efficiently. It reduces the need for data storage and provides software developers, data scientists, and others with a set of standard commands to easily access statistics that can be incorporated into their programs and applications.

This guide provides an overview of the Census Data API and how it can be used to access data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), a source of up-to-date statistics on the social, economic, housing, and demographic characteristics of America’s communities.

The guide is intended for software developers and researchers who want to access ACS data to create mobile- or Web-based apps, as well as nonprogrammers who want to create simple queries to access ACS data through an Internet browser.

More detailed instructions on how to use the Census Data API are available in the Census Bureau’s Census Data API User Guide.

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