Geolytics Census CD Data and Software

Many U.S. Census data extraction and mapping products from GeoLytics are available by using the Libraries' GIS workstations in the D. H. Hill Library.

The software for these products is installed on older 32-bit computers that are only available during normal weekday working hours. You must make an appointment by contacting Data Services. The CD-ROMs are in the Learning Commons GIS CD/DVD cabinet under call number range HA201. The discs are for in-library use only--they do not circulate and may not be copied. Each disc of multi-disc sets contains several states; check the disc labels for the state(s) you need.

GeoLytics Census Data Products

The GeoLytics products have built-in data reporting and exporting capabilities as well as thematically shaded, color-mapping capabilities. You can use extracted data files as inputs to other systems like statistical (e.g. SAS, SPSS), database (e.g. Access, Oracle), spreadsheet (e.g. Excel, 1-2-3), or mapping (e.g. ArcView, MapInfo) packages.

AlertPlease Note: NCSU Libraries' license for Geolytics software specifies that all reports, articles, maps, and the like using data derived from Geolytics products contain attribution to Geolytics. Moreover, our license does not allow the data extracts to be further distributed. Data extracted from Geolytics products must be used only for primary research or educational purposes, and cannot be further distributed to other parties without specific permission from Geolytics. For more information, see Geolytics Licensing or contact Data Services.

Our current holdings of Geolytics Census software are listed below, or can be seen through our catalog records.

CensusCD Neighborhood Change Database (NCDB) 1970-2000 Tract Data

CensusCD Neighborhood Change Database (NCDB) allows you to access US Census data from 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000 at the census tract level. Data variables and tract boundaries are consistently defined across census years. Currently the Libraries owns the Short Form Release, which includes Census 2000 "short form" data -- basic population and housing characteristics from the short form questions answered by all households in the decennial censuses.

According to GeoLytics, "You can access the data for 1970, 1980, 1990, or 2000 in the respective tract boundary definitions for that year. In this manner, the data will appear as it did for the given year and the maps will be drawn according to that year's boundaries. In this format the data will be identical to that found in the CensusCD product for that given year. With Neighborhood Change Database, however, you can access data for all four decades normalized to 2000 tract boundaries.

"The All years normalized to 2000 selection allows you to compare data for various years. The data for years 1970-1990 will be recalculated and normalized and the report will use the 2000 tract ID. This will allow you to compare data for various years within the exact same boundary definitions.

"These two options allow for the user to view the data from 1970-90 in the boundaries as they were originally designed and by selecting All Years normalized to 2000 you can instead do actual apples-to-apples comparisons of historic data in 2000 tract definitions."

Note: An earlier iteration previously released by GeoLytics was named CensusCD 40 Year Tract Series. This new product completely replaces the older version with a new more powerful search capacity, the 2000 Short Form data set and corrections to a few problems that users have reported.

CensusCD 2000 Long Form SF3

CensusCD 2000 Long Form provides detailed information about the people, housing, and economy of the United States. It offers the entire US Census Bureau's SF3 data set in an integrated data and software package.

The data set contains variables such as income, housing, employment, language spoken, ancestry, education, poverty, rent, mortgage, commute to work, etc. There are 5,500 variables at the block group level and over 10,000 more variables at the larger geographies such as tract, zip code, county and state level. For a complete list of variables, click here. The data set includes all of the available cross-tabulated variables (income by age, employment by race) released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

CensusCD 2000 Short Form Blocks

According to GeoLytics, "CensusCD 2000/Short Form Blocks contains all Short Form data on the census block level, thus providing very detailed information about the population of the United States. It has demographic information at the block level for each of the 8+ Million blocks from the most recent US 2000 Census.

"The variables include race (and Hispanic designation), age of head of household, age of children, presence of older relatives, composition of the family, family size, rent vs. own, etc.

"You can select various levels of geography: Nation, Region, Division, State, County, and Tract to view the data summed to. The data will be presented at the Block level. For example, you can look at the State of Pennsylvania, at the block level for Age of Head of Household or you could look at Montgomery County (PA) or even just one of the census tracts in Montgomery County.

"CensusCD 2000/Short Form Blocks an integrated data and software package. Data reports and color-coded maps are created with just a few keystrokes from the CDs. This data set is so large that it is divided among 4 regional CD's."

CensusCD 2000 Short Form

According to GeoLytics, "The data on CensusCD 2000/Short Form provides details about the population of the United States. It has demographic information down to the neighborhood level (block groups) from the most recent U.S. 2000 Census.

"The variables include race (and Hispanic designation), age of head of household, age of children, presence of older relatives, composition of the family, family size, rent vs. own, etc.

"The CensusCD/2000 Short Form has data at 8 levels of geography: State, County, Tract, Block Group, MCD/CCD, Place, Congressional divisions and Zip (ZCTA)."

CensusCD 2000 Blocks

Based on the first detailed data available from the 2000 Census, the Redistricting (Public Law 94-171) data. This product reports the population, racial and ethnic data at the census block level (all 8 million). Block level data allows for a significantly higher resolution of demographic analysis than viewing data at the Block Group level.

Also includes 1990 Redistricting data normalized to 2000 geographies through a sophisticated (and proprietary) 1990 to 2000 Block weighting process, built from the analysis of both TIGER 1992 and TIGER 2000.

CensusCD 2000 Redistricting

CensusCD 2000/Redistricting is the first detailed data available from the 2000 Census. It includes all the 2000 Redistricting data, with 2000 Census data available at 19 levels of geography, from block group up to national. Census CD 2000/Redistricting also includes, for comparison purposes, 1990 Redistricting data normalized to 2000 geographies.


Contains demographic information down to the census block level from the 1990 Census (STF3 A,B,C and D), along with more current estimates (1997) and projections (2002). Data include: estimates and projections of consumer spending at the block level, agriculture, banking, birth, death, building, crime, employment, federal spending, industry earnings, local government, marriages, divorces, personal income, retail and service business statistics going back to 1969 for every county. Historical population counts go back to 1790. A brief tutorial is available.


CensusCD 1990 Blocks

Provides access to small area statistics and geography below the block group and ZIP Code level from the 1990 census. Contains complete demographic and housing data and map boundaries from the US Census Bureau for all 7 million+ census blocks nationwide. Data sources include: STF 1B and PL94-171 files, the latest TIGER boundaries, over 50 geographic identifiers, and ZIP Code to census block relationships.

CensusCD 1980

Contains complete 1980 Census data, both the 100% count (STF1) and sample (STF3) data, down to the tract level. Includes over 1,500 demographic variables from 213 tables of data for every Tract, Place, Minor Civil Division (MCD), County, State, Division, and Region and the Nation. Allows users to customized geographic data selections and to visualize the demographics as color shaded maps. The CensusCD+Maps tutorial is applicable.

CensusCD 1970

CensusCD 1970 allows access to the results of the 1970 US Census down to the census tract level. Over 8,500 demographics and geographic identifiers exist for every geographic area. The counts are divided into 3 groups: geographic identifiers, population counts, and housing counts. In addition, a full set of 1970 tract maps, along with mapping software, is included.

GeoLytics Help

General step by step instructions for using GeoLytics software is located at GeoLytics On-Line Help and in the section below.

Important usage tips to be aware of:

  • When using the Geolytics CDs at the GIS workstations, there are two common causes for errors:
    • Not being logged in with administrative rights - ask staff at the Ask Us center to log you in as administrator.
    • The drive mapping for the Geolytics CD may be wrong. You'll need to use My Computer -> Manage to change the drive mapping of the CD or DVD drive to whatever Geolytics is looking for. Feel free to ask for help.
  • The maximum number of individual Sub-area geographic features (such as tracts, block groups, blocks, etc.) that you can select for one "Run" is 240.
  • It is helpful to include a unique Geographic ID in your counts table.
  • Any files you create with GeoLytics software, such as the .dbf of your runs, or ArcView shapefile exports, will all be saved in the project workspace. To see where the project workspace is, look under File, Save Request As... Also, a .doc file is saved in the workspace that lists the Count codes and their name.
  • If you perform multiple "runs", the files in your workspace will get overwritten. Thus, after your first run, you should copy the created files to another location, and re-name them.

Steps for Generating a Report and Shapefile

1. Save your file

Always start by saving your request. The filename must have eight or fewer characters not including the three-letter file extension, .req. This practice will prevent you from overwriting data when you run successive reports, as well as keep your files where you can find them when you export to shapefile format.

>>File>>New Request

(NONAME is the default filename.)

2. Select your geography(ies)

A) >>Area>>Geographic Area>>[whatever overarching geography you need]

First pick the geographic level you want to get to. A screen will open that allows you to choose the specific ones you need. You may choose geographies at that geographic level across states, counties, etc., but you cannot select multiple geographic levels at one time. If you need some tracts and some counties, you’ll have to run a separate report for each geographic level.

B) >>Subarea>>[your desired level of smallest geography]

Note: You must use the Subarea menu if you want to produce a map or shapefile.

This menu's other use is to select all geographies within another, for example, all block groups within a state (or states). You must first use the Area menu to choose the larger, organizing geography, in this example, State. Then in the Subarea menu select which lower geographies the program should compile, here, Block Group. (This example would take a LONG time to process into a map.)

If you just want to create a shapefile and don’t want the lower level geographies, choose the same geographic level that you did in the Area menu.

You won’t get another popup screen once you click on your selection but if you click on Subarea again you’ll see a checkmark next to your choice.

C) >>Run>>All Counts Report

If you just want to browse available variables, select your geographies as above, then use the Run menu to select an All Counts Report. The report is far more readable than the variable selection screen below.

3. Pick your variables


If you’re not familiar with Census data you may want to use >>Search>>Counts to look for variables with particular keywords in them. The search mechanism is not very sophisticated, though--it will only search for an exact string, so that if you search for "rent" you'll get everything with "parent" as well as housing variables. Also, searching has been known to cause the program to crash.

>>Click on the buttons at the upper left corner to display all table titles.

The categories represented by the buttons are arbitrary, a construction on GeoLytics’ part, not the Census Bureau’s. Clicking on the buttons makes the table titles display in the first frame.

>>Highlight a table title to see the individual variables available from it in the second frame.

>>Highlight a variable to select it, so that its number appears in the third frame.

NOTE: Deselecting items in the first or second frame automatically removes them from the third!

Control- and Shift-click do not work in these products but you can select multiple non-continuous items just by clicking (no special keystroke necessary). Multiple continuous items can be selected by clicking the first and last items and then clicking the Select Between button to the lower right.

Caution: It’s easy to select individual variables out of a table. Be sure to also select the Total for each table—you’ll need it to calculate percentages because different tables are based on different “universes” or groups of population. Run a Summary to see the universe for a given table (it will also be listed in the .doc file after you export to shapefile format).

>>Click Done to continue.

4. Run the report


5. Export to shapefile format

>>File>>Export>>to Arcview’s shape

6. Capture files

The program places exported files in the installation directory by default unless you saved your request to a different directory when you started. Then your map files will be put in whatever directory you selected. To use the layer in GIS, you need to capture four files here. They will all have the same filename (whatever you named it) with the extensions .doc, .dbf, .shp and .shx. (The .req file is simply the parameters of your GeoLytics request.) Resave these four files to the directory where you keep your other data layers and you will be able to add the layer to your map as you normally do.

Contact the Data Services staff if you have problems or questions.

Go to Libraries GIS Data List