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Website of the Week — American Fact Finder

Time again for our Website of the Week, when we showcase interesting and innovative online destinations.

Some people think numbers are boring, but numbers can paint a rich and detailed picture of a country, which is what you get at American Fact Finder at

"There's an enormous, encyclopedic amount of data on American Fact Finder," says Marian Brady of the U.S. Census Bureau, which operates the site.

"We have information about age, race, sex, the relationship between members of a household; but we also collect income, ancestry, disability status, educational attainment. The list goes on and on."

Brady says American Fact Finder gets between one and two million visits a month from users, including students, researchers, city planners, policy makers, business people and others. Data can be downloaded for serious number crunching, but for many users, the visual tools make more sense than columns of numbers.

"We have predefined maps so you can compare very easily and very quickly where the high concentrations are of, let's say, an ancestry, or where the low concentrations are."

The census, incidentally, classifies Americans into people of 86 different ancestries, from Afghan to Yugoslavian.

The census doesn't just count people. There's information here also about family size, housing, income, manufacturing and other economic measures.

Information is updated as new surveys are tabulated, so users can see how population and other landmarks of American life change over time.

"So we have for example the 1990 decennial census, the 2000, and we'll be publishing 2010, so you can definitely develop a trend analysis using that data," says Brady.

Learn about the United States through the maps and numbers at, or get the link to this and more than 200 other Websites of the Week, from our site,