Finding Your Census Tract

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Geography is a key part of searching for census data. The census compiles data nationwide, by state and by county. However, in many locales (including NYC) the census tract is the smallest unit of data. Census tracts often illustrate the true character of an area, particularly in diverse areas like New York City where vastly different neighborhoods exist right next to each other.

In order to determine your census tract, you need to know the street address.

Now, move your mouse to the box above this frame, where it says Contents and select the option that you need.  Students studying neighborhoods in New York City can use the top option, but if you are outside of New York City (Long Island, Westchester or beyond), select the bottom box.  Not sure?  Try both options.

Click the right-hand arrow at the bottom of this page to get to the next page.

Census tracts for addresses in most of NYC

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In New York City, we can use the Geographic Online Address Translator (GOAT) from the New York City Department of City Planning GOAT.

Make sure that the Address tab is selected.

Select your borough and type in your address, separating house number from street (as the form says).

Click Submit.

Census tracts for addresses in most of NYC

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A lot of data about your address will come back. Read carefully, looking for the header that says 2010 Census tract. Your census tract number will be right next to it. WRITE DOWN your census tract number. Make sure that you also know the name of your county.

You have successfully located your census tract and can skip the rest of this tutorial.

Census tracts for addresses outside of New York City

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When you are ready with your street address, click the Databases/Articles tab in the "Looking for something" box in the center of the library's website.

Next, on the Databases page, select A and scroll down to select American FactFinder.


Census tracts for addresses outside of New York City

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About 2/3 of the way down the page, there is a header that says Address Search. Click on the link below it that says "street address"

If a pop-up pops up, you can type the address in there.

But if there is no pop-up, select Geographies from the pale blue menu items on the left hand side. When you get a pop-up, make sure that you chose the Address tab (on the top of the pop-up).

Enter your street address, city and state. Zip is no longer required.

The results page will give you all of the relevant geographical information for the address that you've selected. Find the row that says Census Tract. WRITE DOWN your census tract number AND your county. You do NOT need to click any links on the results page.