Using American FactFinder

Retrieving Data from American FactFinder2

  1. Go to American FactFinder (
  2. Select “Advanced Search” on the top menu bar.
  3. On the left hand side under “Search Using the Options Below:” select “Geographies.”
  4. A drop-down menu will appear: Select a Geographic Type. Select “County”. A new drop-down menu will appear: “Select a state.” Select New York State.
  5. A list will populate in the box below with all the New York counties. Select “Albany County, New York” and hit “Add to Your Selections”. Now that you’ve selected “Albany County,” it should appear in the left hand corner of the base page under “Your Selections.”
  6. In the “Select Geographies” overlay window, under “Geographic Type,” select “Census Tract”. Again, you will select New York State and Albany County. Then scroll down and select the Census Tract in Albany County that you want to retrieve the data for. The individual Census Tracts are listed in numeric order beginning with Census Tract 1 in the middle of the first page. Once you select your census tract, hit “Add to Your Selections” and it will also appear under “Your Selections” along with the County.
  7. Close the “Select Geographies” overlay window.  Note: “Your Selections” should have 2 selections in it.
  8. The “Search Results” box will begin to display a number (over 4,700) of tables in chronological order, and then sorted, roughly, from most-general to most-specific. To increase the number of tables displayed per page, at the drop down window next to “per page” on the “Search Results” tool bar, select “75”.
  9. From here, you can select any number of topics to filter the search results. For example, you can filter by Housing: Financial Characteristic, or by Occupancy Characteristic, or by Physical Characteristic. Alternately, you can type in a specific phrase in the “Topic or Table Name” bar (such as household income).
  10. Once all of the required tables have been selected, hit “View.” Each Table will then be displayed for viewing. You can then either print the table or copy and paste each table to either a Word or Excel spreadsheet file on your computer (Note: this only works with Internet Explorer).
  11. As an alternative, you can select “Download” and download the table as an Excel file, which will display the data directly onto an Excel spreadsheet, or as a PDF file.
  12. If you have multiple tables selected and want to download them, you have the option of downloading each table individually after viewing them. You have the option of downloading them prior to viewing, however, they come as .csv (comma separated value) files within a ZIP file and are not very user-friendly.  Note: If you have a single table selected, but multiple geographies, you have the option of downloading a single .csv file with data for all geographies, or as multiple .csv files. These options are available both before and after viewing the tables.
  13. If you download the data as an Excel, you should be aware that the numbers will be “numbers stored as text.” Before manipulating them in any way (aggregating, for example), you will have to convert them to actual numbers.

Useful Table Numbers and Names

A note about table IDs: The new American FactFinder sorts tables from most general to most specific, approximately. Within this sort, tables are sorted by the Table ID (table number); unlike many lists, these are sorted by the first digit of the ID, so P12 comes before P2.

Decennial Census Table Categories:

DP: Demographic Profile
H: Housing
HCT: Housing to Census Tract level
GCT: Geographic Comparison Tables
P: Population
PCO: Population to County level (mostly detailed Group Quarters data, due to confidentiality)
PCT: Population to Census Tract level
QT-H/QT-P: Quick Table Housing/Quick Table Population

American Community Survey Table Categories:

B: Base tables
C: Compressed base tables
CP: Comparative Profile (over time)
DP: Demographic Profile
GCT: Geographic Comparison Tables
S: Subject tables (similar to QT from the Decennial Census table group)