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CHICLA 330: Gentrification In Latinx Comm. (Spring 2022) : Getting tables (reports) of Census data from Social Explorer

Information about and links to library resources helpful for CHICLA 330: Gentrification in Latinx Communities. Emphasis on retrieving Census data.

Citing Social Explorer

Examples of citing in Chicago, MLA, and APA styles at  How do I cite Information on Social Explorer? (in the FAQ section of Social Explorer Help)

Help from Social Explorer

One place to look if you have questions is the Help section provided by Social Explorer.

Government information librarian

Profile Photo
Beth Harper
Memorial Library
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Government Information Specialist

Social Explorer: general information

Link: Social Explorer (you may need to log in with your netID and password)

Remember! Only three simultaneous users from UW-Madison are allowed in the database at any one time.

Description of database 

  • Provides access to demographic and housing data from the American Community Survey, and the Decennial Census back to 1790
  • Allows users to create maps and reports at all geographic levels, including the state, county, census tract, block group, zip code and census place
  • Default interface creates/retrieves maps
  • One does NOT need to create an account or use Social Explorer's "Login" button to use Social Explorer.

Social Explorer refers to "tables" and "reports" somewhat interchangeably.

Creating a table when viewing a map

Social Explorer refers to "tables" and "reports" somewhat interchangeably.

Instructions from Social Explorer Help: Creating reports from a map

Written instructions

  1. Click the three horizontal lines in the upper left box.
  2. Click “create report.” 
    • Create a table from the current table selection, that is, create a table for the variable you’re currently viewing.
      1. Click “current table setting” button in the upper left box.
      2. On the map, click the geographical entities you want data for. The names of the geographical entities you select will appear in a box on the left.
    • Create a Topic report, which presents tables on multiple variables for the geographic entities you select. The variables that appear in these reports are pre-selected by Social Explorer.
      1. Click “Topic” button in the upper left box.
      2. On the map, click the geographical entities you want data for. The names of the geographical entities you select will appear in a box on the left.
      3. Click “Essentials Report” (the default topic report) under “Topic” and select a kind of report or a topic.
        • “Essentials” and “comprehensive” reports provide tables on multiple topics, such as sex, age, race, marital status, educational attainment.
        • There are topic reports for about 20 different topics; be sure to scroll down the list to see them all.
  3. Click the “create” button in the box on the upper left (the button is at the top right of the box).
    • The default display is for 10 tables per page.
      • To advance through the pages of tables, click “next” or “last” above the first table.
      • To change how many tables are displayed on a page, click in the box to the right of “Tables per page” on the right side of the screen, and select a different number of tables.
    • You can export the table by clicking one of these tabs at the top of the page:
      • “Excel:” Two versions of Excel are supported: 2007 and 2003.
      • "Data download:" downloads the data in CSV(comma-separated values). CSV is a highly portable format that can be read by many software programs. You can also open these files directly in Microsoft Excel or import the data into Microsoft Access.

Video about generating a table starting from a map screen.

How to retrieve a table/report from the Social Explorer home page

Most links go to Social Explorer's Help files.  These include written instructions with images, and sometimes videos.  These are very helpful if you get stuck.  Social Explorer's help files are available on the open web; you do NOT need to sign into the database to access the help files.

Social Explorer's Using Reports

Social Explorer's Introduction to Reports includes a 2-minute overview video, starting from Social Explorer's main page.​​​​​