The U.S. Census Bureau has recently released the Census 2010 Summary File (SF-1) that includes a compilation of the data by Zip Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs). ZCTAs are an approximation of the U.S. Postal Service zip codes and are actually aggregates of small census-defined areas called blocks. Since ZCTAs generally match zip code areas very closely, for the purposes of this article we will use the terms ZCTA and zip code interchangeably. For more information on ZCTAs, please see our blog posting “What’s a ZCTA?”
Zip code data is especially valuable for market research, target marketing, and sales planning, since zip codes represent a fairly small (on average zip codes cover about 9,400 people) homogenous area that can be matched to readily available mailing address lists. And since the decennial census is a 100% count of the population, census data provides a truly complete snapshot of the American population as a whole.
To see the data from the new Summary File, go to the on-line American Factfinder tool and select the 2010 SF1 100% Data Set under Topics. You can then select ZIP code/ZCTA as a geographic filter and find the specific geography and data table of interest. For a list of zip codes more typical of a customer mailing list, however, it is easier to use our software CDXZipStream which has a selection of the more important demographic variables from the 2010 Census. These variables, covering age, population, households, and race data, are:
These are part of the Premium Zip Code data feed, available with the Demographic, Premium, and Premium ACS versions of our Excel add-in software CDXZipStream. Please see the version comparison webpage for more information on other features of these versions.
To obtain data for these fields for a list of zip codes in Microsoft Excel, place your cursor on the first zip code and click on the CDXZipStream logo on the main toolbar. Just select the fields of interest, and click “Get Data”. The data is returned (with optional field headings) like this:
You can also view the video below for a quick demonstration of how to get demographics for long zip code lists using this method:
This video is also available on YouTube: Demographic Data in Excel