Written by: Acting Director Tom Mesenbourg
Last summer, we launched our first application programming interface (also known as an API), and this week we have made it even more useful. Now three decades worth of statistics about America’s people, their characteristics, and the communities where they live are available in the API, making it easier for developers to create Web and mobile apps fueled with Census Bureau statistics.
In addition to 2010 Census data and American Community Survey five-year estimates, the API now contains census data from 1990 and 2000. Providing API access to more of our statistical and publicly available data sets is just one way we are changing how we do business in line with the and open data initiatives.
If you wonder what an API can do, you can find an example right on Census.gov. One of our newest data access tools, Easy Stats, uses the Census Bureau’s API to provide you with fast access to data tables from the American Community Survey and is just one example of a tool developers can create. Using the API, developers were able to include estimates for the new congressional districts for the 113th Congress in our latest version of Easy Stats, faster than if we had programmed the tables.
If you are a developer and have an idea for how to make Census Bureau data even more useful, you can create your own tool, like Easy Stats. We look forward to seeing what you create. In the coming year, we will be adding more data sets to the API based on your feedback.
Of course, not everyone is a developer, and we are committed to making Census Bureau statistics more accessible and easier to use. We also are adding new tools that make it easier to not only access our data sets but also to share, embed and download them.
For those who want access to Census Bureau statistics on the go, you need not look farther than your Apple or Android device. Our first mobile app, America’s Economy, gives you timely updates from 16 key economic indicators, such as employment, manufacturing and retail sales.
While Easy Stats and America’s Economy are relatively new, we are also making improvements to data access tools you may already know. We recently released new features for American FactFinder, providing users from novice to advanced with options for finding statistics.
These are just a few of the data access tools we have available on Census.gov. Your feedback helps continue to improve these tools, giving you access to a variety of facts about our nation’s people, places and economy.