1000 Questions About the USA and Who Lives Here

  • 22 June 2016
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The U.S. Census Bureau is an amazing collector of data. Going all the way back to the 18th-century, the Census Bureau has been keeping track of all kinds of interesting facts about America and Americans.

One of the richest datasets the bureau collects is the Current Population Survey. And since this is an election year, we thought the version of the CPS focused on voting would be particularly interesting. These datasets, collected only in election years, contain a bunch of questions about voting behavior, as well as the 200 or so standard CPS questions.

We’ve taken the CPS Voting surveys for the last 20 years and loaded them up into Google BigQuery. That wouldn’t be much help, though, without the Looker model we’ve built on top of the data . This model lets you find out how many Americans have only a 1st-grade education without having to know that those people are represented by rows WHERE PEEDUCA = 31.

We’ve set up two starting places, for two different kinds of things you might want to know. The first is good for questions about people and their households. So this makes it easy to find out how many people lived in Utah in 2012, or how many people in Florida in 2008 had a Cuban father, or even how the number of households containing a veteran has changed over the last 20 years.

The second is good for questions of the form “What percentage of people in cohort x were in group y?” So, for example, if you wanted to know “What percentage of 18-year-olds voted in 2008”, you’d say that cohort x is “people who were 18 in 2008” and group y is “voters.”

So this is great for asking things like, “What percentage of women are veterans?” or, conversely, “What percentage of veterans are women?” It also makes it quite simple to ask seemingly complex questions like, “Over the last 20 years, what percentage of prime-age workers in Ohio, Florida, and Nevada were employed in the construction industry?

This data is so rich that we won’t be able to even scratch the surface of what’s in it. So that’s where you come in.

Help us find interesting facts. Pose a question and then find the answer using Looker. Then save the question and the link to the answer using the form below.

Here are some great questions people have already asked:

Questions About the USA

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Use the links below to investigate. When you find something interesting, save the URL and the question it answers using the form below.

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