Demographics beat: Find facts on your town, in seconds

  • Article by: DAVID PETERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 21, 2013 - 5:22 PM

 

Ever wonder how many folks in Eden Prairie are on food stamps? Or how long it takes people in Lakeville to get to work? Or how many in Maple Grove are living in sin?

There’s now a fairly easy way to find out — and, in some cases, to readily see how much growth or shrinkage in those numbers there has been in recent years.

With its most recent batch of surveys, the U.S. Census Bureau has created and placed online what it calls “comparison profiles.”

They permit you to line up findings for the most recent three years against those for the three years before that, to sense any major changes.

Topics include income, commuting lengths and modes, immigration origins and many more.

Caveats:

• Only cities or counties with at least 20,000 people are included.

• Keep a careful eye out for the column marked “statistical significance.” Wild swings in minuscule categories are just ground clutter.

Reaching the right page online is challenging, but here’s a shortcut: Go to http://tinyurl.com/6eajnmu; under “topic,” type “comparison profile”; under “state, county or place,” type in the city name; hit “go,” and you’ll be presented with three options: social, economic and housing numbers.

For Maple Grove, for instance, you’ll find out that 1.6 percent of the 63,091 people living in households are what the federal government calls “unmarried partners.”

That’s less than half the Minneapolis rate of 4.2 percent.

You won’t get a precise figure, just a percentage of a total number of people in the relevant category. That’s probably to avoid claiming more precision than a survey can ever provide.

For communities smaller than 20,000, new data on the same topics is to be released shortly before Christmas.

To learn more: 1-800-923-8282.

 

dapeterson@startribune.com

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