Census Data Image: NYC Census FactFinder

New York City is making headway in establishing itself as a national leader in data transparency. The city’s Open Data plan promises to make city data from over 200 agencies accessible to the public by 2018.

Now, an update has come to the Department of City Planning’s Census FactFinder. The Census FactFinder is an online tool that allows users to create profiles for customized NYC localities (census tracts, Neighborhood Tabulation Areas, subway stations, etc.), using socioeconomic and housing data from the American Community Survey.

Through a partnership between the Department of City Planning’s Population Division and the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, users now have access to census data from the American Community Survey’s annual research. Previously, only data from the 2010 decennial Census was available.

Another groundbreaking feature allows researchers to identify statistically viable data, by rating the data for reliability. The City makes a disclaimer about the information, saying that they aren’t sure of the data’s accuracy or suitability. Still, this serves as a good faith effort to provide complete and useful information to the public.

Preliminary searches reveal remarkable income data about the Upper East Side-Carnegie Hill area. The Upper East Side’s mean household income is estimated to be $300,368, compared to $82,596 for the rest of New York City. That’s 260 percent higher. Less than one percent of the area is estimated to be receiving Food Stamp/SNAP benefits compared to nearly 20 percent for the rest of the city.

City Planning Director Carl Weisbrod hopes that the FactFinder serves as an unprecedented resource for journalists and activists to represent and advocate for New York City’s diverse population.

“If information is power, NYC’s Census FactFinder will help create a new generation of urban superheroes, who harness data to analyze and understand population trends, characteristics and needs of neighborhoods,” he said.

Follow @bbhnyc for updates on New York City public data.

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