Reading information from the American Community Survey into R

2021-09-29

Here is a simple example of how to read data from the American Community Survey into R.

The Bureau of the Census allows computerized systems to access their data. This is a great convenience for you, but raises a potential security risk for them. To provide them with a reasonable amount of protection, the Bureau requires that you sign up for a free key that you insert in your code. The key allows the Bureau to track requests to insure that you are not a robot trying to scoop up an excessive amount of data. You get a key on this page. Look for “Request a KEY” in the left side menu (see the first screenshot at the bottom of this page).

You can embed this key so that it can be re-used at will. Use the census_api_key function in the tidycensus package.

library(tidycensus)
library(tidyverse)
## -- Attaching packages --------------------------------------- tidyverse 1.3.1 --
## v ggplot2 3.3.5     v purrr   0.3.4
## v tibble  3.1.4     v dplyr   1.0.7
## v tidyr   1.1.3     v stringr 1.4.0
## v readr   2.0.1     v forcats 0.5.1
## -- Conflicts ------------------------------------------ tidyverse_conflicts() --
## x dplyr::filter() masks stats::filter()
## x dplyr::lag()    masks stats::lag()
library(viridis)
## Loading required package: viridisLite
key <- Sys.getenv("CENSUS_API_KEY")
census_api_key("11bafd82737f7d75b3305ada1e772501d0eab002")
## To install your API key for use in future sessions, run this function with `install = TRUE`.
tarr <- get_acs(geography = "tract", variables = "B19013_001",
state = "TX", county = "Tarrant", geometry = TRUE)
## Getting data from the 2015-2019 5-year ACS
## Downloading feature geometry from the Census website.  To cache shapefiles for use in future sessions, set `options(tigris_use_cache = TRUE)`.
## 
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ggplot(tarr, aes(fill = estimate, color = estimate)) +
geom_sf() +
coord_sf(crs = 26914) +
scale_fill_viridis(option = "magma") +
scale_color_viridis(option = "magma")

Resources

Ari Lamstein, Logan Powell. A Guide to Working with US Census Data in R. Available in mhtml format and at their [github site].

U.S. Census Bureau, Geography and the American Community Survey: What Data Users Need to Know. Available in pdf format.

Screenshots

Request an API key