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SOC-R 100 Assignment

This assignment is for students in Dr. White's SOC-R 100 Introduction to Sociology course.

Finding Census Tracts in Indiana

What is a census tract?

A census tract is a geographic region defined for the purpose of taking a census. Typically, tracts contain 1,200 to 8,000 people per tract. In more densely-populated urban areas, tracts are usually about the size of neighborhoods, but in more rural areas there might be only a few tracts in one county.

Census tracts are designed to be relatively homogenous in terms of population characteristics, economic status, and living conditions. For more information about census tracts, see the Census Bureau description.

Finding Tracts in Indiana

To find a specific census tract, use the Census 2010 - Interactive Indiana Tract Boundary Map. Zoom in to find the tract for a specific area. For example, say we wanted to know the census tract where IUPUI is located:

IUPUI census tract.

IUPUI is in census tract 3910. Remember this, because in the next section we are going to look up data about this tract.

Finding Data on a Census Tract

One of the best places to look for current census data is on American FactFinder. The instructions below will show you how to look up income data for a census tract.


1. Go to American FactFinder. Click on Advanced Search then Show Me All:


Advanced search and Show Me All.


2. Click on Geographies:


Click on geographies.


3. In the popup window, choose census tract as the first geographic type. Then select a state, county, and a specific census tract (3910 for the tract with IUPUI). Click on the Add to Your Selections button at the bottom and close the window:


Selecting a tract.

Tip: In order to select multiple census tracts for comparison, hold down the Ctrl key (Command on a Mac) and click the needed tracts.


All the data for tract 3910 are now displayed, but we are only interested in income data.

4. Click on Topics, then People, and Income & Earnings. In this example we will examine the household data. Click on Income/Earnings (Households):


Income data.


5. American FactFinder places the most relevant results at the top. Click on Median Income in the Past 12 Months (In 2013 Inflation Adjusted Dollars). If we want to know the median income for all households in this tract, it is $46,472:


Meidan income

Citing Data

Citing data should be done for the same reasons that you cite any other source. Data citations include many of the same components as other citations:

  • author
  • title
  • year of publication
  • publisher (for data this is often the archive where it is housed)
  • edition or version
  • access information (a URL or other persistent identifier)

When citing a specific data table found on American FactFinder, you should consult the guidelines outlined in How do I cite tables and maps in American FactFinder.