Census Data

Information for data-driven decisions

Sharing a common, accurate base of information leads to better decision-making and planning among the region's many government agencies, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and communities. To increase access to and use of U.S. Census Bureau data, the Council is a Census State Data Center partner. We provide census data for the Twin Cities region, offer assistance to data users, and share feedback with the Census Bureau about their products.

The two key releases of Census Bureau data are the decennial census and the annual American Community Survey (ACS).

Decennial Census

Every ten years, the decennial census counts every person in the United States. The 2010 Census asked about homeownership, gender, age, race/ethnicity— among other characteristics. Because this dataset is a complete count of all residents in the United States, it is considered the "gold standard" of demographic data. Operations for the 2020 Census are currently underway.  

American Community Survey (ACS)

The American Community Survey samples approximately 2% of the nation's housing units each year. It gathers data about people (like education and income) and housing units (like housing type and costs). 
  • Five-year data are typically released each December. For example, ACS data for the 2012-2016 period were released in December 2017. Five-year data are available for all geographic areas, including all cities, townships, and census tracts.
  • One-year data are typically released each September. For example, ACS data for 2016 were released in September 2017. One-year data are limited to geographic areas with at least 65,000 people. This includes each of the seven counties in the Twin Cities region, along with the cities of Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Eagan, Maple Grove, Minneapolis, Plymouth, Saint Paul, and Woodbury.