Demographic, Social, Economic, and Housing Characteristics

Development of a U.S. Contextual Database of 1990–2010 Measures

by Christine E. Peterson, Margaret M. Weden, Regina A. Shih

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Research Question

  1. What are the components and contents of the database?

Research on neighborhoods' and communities' roles in shaping people's experiences has expanded rapidly in the past two decades. As part of a research project on the effect that neighborhoods have on cognitive aging in the older U.S. population, RAND Corporation researchers developed a neighborhood contextual database containing a specific set of measures for use in that research. They generated these demographic, social, economic, housing, cultural, and urbanization measures from decennial census and American Community Survey data at the census tract level, plus a smaller subset of similar measures at the county and metropolitan statistical area (MSA) levels. The data cover 1990–2010, with values for intercensal year measures not available in American Community Survey summary files having been created using the method of linear interpolation. Census tract–level measures and county measures represent the 2000 census boundaries. The MSA-level measures mainly use the 2000 MSA coding. The authors provide this set of contextual data measures as a courtesy, and this document describes the construction and contents of this neighborhood contextual database.

Key Findings

The Database Contains Data from Three Levels

  • The database contains data from the census tract, county, and metropolitan statistical area levels.
  • It consists of four files.
  • It uses four types of variables: demographic, socioeconomic, cultural, and housing.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Tract-Level Data

  • Chapter Three

    Data Available Only at the County Level

  • Chapter Four

    Metropolitan Statistical Area–Level Data

  • Appendix A

    Data Files in the Neighborhood Contextual Database

  • Appendix B

    SAS PROC FORMAT Code to Assign MSAGEO for 2000 from 2000 Federal Information Processing Series County Codes

  • Appendix C

    Contextual Data Measures Created

  • Appendix D

    2000 and 2010 Census and American Community Survey Source Variables

  • Appendix E

    1990 Census-to-2000 Census Crosswalk for Source Variables

  • Appendix F

    Contents of census_acs_tract_1990_2010: Tract-Level Contextual Data

  • Appendix G

    Contents of contextual_county_1990_2010: County-Level Contextual File

  • Appendix H

    Contents of contextual_msa_1990_2010: Metropolitan Statistical Area–Level Contextual Data

  • Appendix I

    Contents of contextual_cbsa_2006_2010: Core-Based Statistical Area–Level Contextual Data

  • Appendix J

    Comparison Data Used in Interpolation Validation Analysis

The research described in this report was conducted by RAND Labor and Population.

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