Frequently Asked Questions

The data on the site comes from multiple sources including the US Census Bureau, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, The Allegheny County Office of Property Assessments, The City of Pittsburgh, The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, and more. Click on the information icon next to the indicator to learn the source of the specific data set you are viewing. A complete list and descriptions of our data sources can be found in the 'About' section of the website. New sources are actively pursued.


Every indicator has various corresponding geographies, depending on the data source. We have provided a form which outlines our indicator groups and geographies. It can be found here: Indicator Geographies


The U.S. Census is mandated by the Constitution to count every resident in the United States. The data is collected every 10 years and determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives. This count is is also used to allocate federal funds.

The Census Bureau once used two primary questionnaires to collect decennial information: the short form (SF1) and the long form (SF3). The short form was used to collect basic demographic information and the long form collected basic information as well as additional socio-economic data including income, education, employment, etc. However, the year 2000 was the last decennial census to include the long form. It was replaced by the American Community Survey (ACS).


The ACS is a random survey of the population conducted continuously throughout the year. Although many of the Census 2000 long form questions are available on the ACS, they are not necessarily the same as Census 2000 long form data. Some ACS items are comparable to those from the Census 2000 long form, some are not. Users should refer to the Census Bureau guidelines for Comparing ACS Data. The ACS is available for 3 different time categories – each one represents a different geography: 1-year ACS represents areas above 65k population, 3-year represents areas above 20k population 5-year represents the tract and block geographies. It is the 5-year ACS estimates that replicate the long form Census (SF3).


Due to identification with census tracts in other counties, we have recently changed our four-digit census tract to an 11-digit number. A census tract is a small statistical subdivision of a county. The purpose of the tract is to provide a stable geographic unit to present statistical data. A tract can contain between 1,200 and 8,000 people, with an ideal size of 4,000 people. Census tracts are identified by an up to four-digit number and may have an optional two-digit suffix.


It’s easy to find your census tract! Below the “Geography” section on the left-hand menu, there is the opportunity to enter your desired address into “Find an Address”. Once you have entered the address of your home, organization, or place of interest, you can choose any geography for that address, including Census Tract, Neighborhood, Zip Code, and so forth.


The core set of indicators was chosen based on recommendations from experts in the field. Community specific indicators were selected based on conversations with key stakeholders and practitioners. We are continuing to pursue data sources, and any suggestions for new indicators will be considered.


There is an information icon next to each indicator. Click to see a more thorough indicator definition, any study limitations, data source, etc. Or, if you are looking for additional information or the definition of a particular term please consult the Census Bureau's glossary.


The city of Pittsburgh can be found under "County Subdivision" in Allegheny County as ‘Pittsburgh city’.


For our purposes, the terms 'county subdivision' and 'municipality' are interchangeable, we use the term 'county subdivision' to match with the U.S. Census glossary.


For use of our maps and data tables referencing local data, we recommend that data users cite the original source (American Community Survey, Allegheny County Department of Property Assessment, Allegheny County Department of Human Services, etc.) and credit SWPA Community Profiles with analysis. Below is an example:

Source: Allegheny County Department of Human Services, Analysis: Southwestern Pennsylvania Community Profiles – University Center for Social and Urban Research, University of Pittsburgh (2015).

We suggest using an established citation style like APA for citing the data that is directly from the Census Bureau.


Click on the following link to find your neighborhood's Census Tract(s):

Neighborhood to Census Tract(s)

Please note that Census Tracts changed from 2000 to 2010. Community Profiles uses the 2010 tracts.


We are continually working to improve the site and welcome feedback from our users! If you have comments about indicators used, convenience, data requests, and so forth, please contact us via any of the ways found at the bottom on our website page.


There are a few options for exporting data from our site:

The first option is to select the 'Make PDF' tab heading every geography, which downloads a print-friendly PDF version of every indicator for that specific geography.

The second option is to select the ‘Download’ button available for every indicator group, which downloads all indicator data for that group into a CSV file.

The third option is to utilize the mapping feature for each indicator, which can be accessed by clicking ‘MAP’ next to each indicator. Through this interactive map page, you have the option to select ‘Export View’ and view the indicator data in a CSV file. ‘Export View’ offers the geography identifier which can be joined with shapefiles from the U.S. Census Bureau. You can select ‘Download Raw Data’ to view the indicator data for every geography level that SWPA Community Profiles offers. To view this data in a more user-friendly form, click ‘Print Friendly’.