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Pittsburgh Census Information @ Pitt: Introduction

This guide provides census tract numbers for Pittsburgh area communities and neighborhoods and provides access to data and maps for Pittsburgh census tracts since 1910.

Best Bets for Getting Census Data

Local and State Census Reports

Finding Census Information for Neighborhoods and Communities in the Pittsburgh Area

How can you find census data for your neighborhood when the Census Bureau doesn't record data for "neighborhoods"?

The answer is to find data for the census tracts that compose your neighborhood.

Census tracts are defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as "small, relatively permanent statistical subdivisions of a county or equivalent entity that are updated by local participants prior to each decennial census as part of the Census Bureau's Participant Statistical Areas Program."

Census tracts vary in size from 1,200 to 8,000 people-- with an optimal size of 4,000. Although they are "relatively permanent", the boundaries and numbers of census tracts may change from one census to another.

Image of Pittsburgh census tracts showing population density in 2010 from the Social Explorer database.

At Pitt we have various resources that can be used for finding census tract data and maps.

  • We have volumes and maps in print. PITTCat records for all of these can be found on the Pittsburgh Census Tract Data & Maps, 1910-2010 page of this guide. This page also provides access to the scanned volumes of data and maps for some years. All years will be accessible at a later time.
  • A number of websites listed in the boxes to the left on this page can be freely accessed by anyone. American FactFinder includes census tract data for 2000 and 2010. PGHSNAP provides Pittsburgh neighborhood data from 1940-2010.
  • The database Social Explorer can be used by Pitt affiliates for finding census tract data and maps from 1940-present.

To find census tract numbers for Pittsburgh area neighborhoods and communities, see the Allegheny County Census Tracts, 2000-2010 and the Pittsburgh Census Tracts, 1940-2010 pages of this guide.

The History of Census Tracts

The idea of census tracts dates back to 1906, when Dr. Walter Laidlaw, director of the Population Research Bureau of the New York Federation of Churches, published an article proposing the use of small geographic areas as a method of studying neighborhoods in New York City.

In 1909, Laidlaw persuaded the Census Office to adopt the concept, and to extend the plan of tract tabulations to the seven other cities with a population of 500,000 or more: Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis.

The Census Bureau finally adopted the census tract as an official geographic entity to be included in data tables of the standard publications of the decennial census in 1940.

(from the Census Bureau)

Christopher Lemery

Christopher Lemery
Contact:
207E Hillman Library
412-648-3925