Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
This document was prepared by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) (October 6, 2011) based on DataFerrett training materials developed by the U.S. Census Bureau. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Liang Long by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. This self tutorial gives step-by-step instructions on how to access American Community Survey Five-Year Block Group Level Data.
Example: I want to get Means of Transportation data Table B08301 for all the Block Groups in Montgomery County, Maryland
The DataFerrett run Page. The URL for this page is http://dataferrett.census.gov/run.html. When you launch either version of DataFerrett, you will be asked to have pop-up windows enabled in your browser. If you have turned off the pop-up blocker and the DataFerrett is still not running, try HOLD the "Ctrl" key while launching the software.
Login screen. You log into DataFerrett by entering your e-mail adress. This e-mail address will be used to notify you when an extract from the ACS data is ready to download.
Initial screen after login. This "introduction" page contains a great deal of documentation, examples, and tutorials that you may find useful. To start, click on "Get Data Now" icon in the lower right corner of the screen.
Initial Step 1 screen. Here is the screen before selecting ACS summary file for 2005-2009 as the dataset.
Click on the "+" sign to the left of the folder labeled "American Community Survey."
You will have to open a few subfolders to get all the detailed tables in the ACS 2005-2009 to appear as shown in this screenshot. Click on the "+" button next to the subfolder of "Summarized Data" to access ACS aggregate data.
After selecting table B08301, "Means of Transportation to Work," a window showing "Description and View Variables" will open as shown in this screenshot. Select "View Variables" by clicking on it.
Variable descriptions will be shown in the right-hand side.
In our example, we want all Means of Transportation and MOEs, so we need to select all variables. Using the SHIFT key, highlight all variables. If you only want the driving alone data, you can select driving alone variables only.
Next, click on the "Browse/Select Highlighted Variables" button located above the variable list.
After clicking on "Browse/Select highlighted variables" button, the "Browse/select variables" pane will open. Next, check the "Select All Variables" box and then click "OK."
After selecting all the variables (i.e., all cells in the table, including the margin of error cells), the following window will open. Click on OK.
After clicking OK, this window will open. Click on OK again.
You will be in the screen for selecting required geography variables. Double-click on "Needs to be selected" to go to next screen.
After double-clicking on the "Needs to be selected," the Geography selection pane will open on the top left of your screen.
Scroll down and select the Block Group level, click the "Next" button.
Select the "FIPS County Code" and hit "Next." CAUTION! DO NOT SELECT "FIPS STATE CODE" AS THEY WILL NOT GIVE YOU THE OPTION OF SELECTING A SPECIFIC COUNTY. If you want Block Groups for a whole state, select the "FIPS State Code" instead.
Select "FIPS State Code" and hit "Next."
Continue selecting State of Maryland and click the "Next" button.
Continue selecting Montgomery County (and clicking the "Next" button) until the "Finish" button is highlighted.
Now we have already selected tables and geographies. Select the tab labeled "Step 2: Databasket/download/make a table."
Select the variables in your data basket and the buttons on the right will become active. Select the buttons that says "Save Selected Variable(s) CodeBook" and save the code book in your local directory. You will need the variables codebook to understand the dataset that you will download in the next step.
There are two choices at the top of screen: Download or Make a Table. Click on the "Download" icon.
After clicking the "Download" box and clicking on the "comma delimited" radio button, notice that the "Yes" option to the "Run your request in batch mode?" question has been chosen for you (and cannot be changed to "No").
After clicking on "Get Extract," the message "Please Wait... Processing your Request" will appear for a few seconds followed by this pop-up. DataFerrett sends an e-mail message to the e-mail address you gave when you logged in notifying you when the extracted data is ready to be downloaded to your computer.
The Final Results.