2020 Census Data Now Available

According to Census.gov, 2020 census redistricting data is now available (link provided below). But the webpage announcing this is a bit confusing. What is available is the data which was provided on August 12. What will be provided by September 30 is the “full redistricting data toolkit.”

If you scroll down a bit on their webpage, you will see the following statement:

The U.S. Census Bureau provided redistricting data as legacy format summary files for all states on August 12, 2021. We reaffirm our commitment to providing the full redistricting data toolkit by Sept. 30, 2021.

Legacy Format Summary Files


If you click on Legacy Format Summary Files, you will be taken to another webpage that looks like computer directory with folders named by state. If you click on North Carolina, you will go into that folder and see that there is a zip file: nc2020.pl.zip. You can download that file and extract the contents.

The contents consist of four “.pl” files. These are “pipe delimited” files. A “pipe” is the name for a character on your computer keyboard, “|”, which is a vertical line. This is the character that is used in these files to separate data fields. You might have heard of comma delimited files where data fields are separated by commas. In this case pipes are used to separate the fields. It is possible to import the data into Microsoft Excel or other data management tool.

The tricky part is understanding what you get because the data is arranged hierarchically. I am working now to do just that.