Using Data

Census tracts within a radius

I am looking for a way to get the ACS data for a radius around a given point. Using the FCC's API I can get the Census Tract and Block number to use. Does anyone know of a way to get the Census tract numbers say within a 5 mile radius?


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  1. Comment
    Phillip Thomas

    Plot it on a map, draw a circle, find all points inside the circle.

    Plug names into Google maps, parse distance between points, find any distance less then or equal to 5.

    Comments on this comment

    1. Comment
      Community Member ( Idea Submitter )

      I guess I was hoping for an easier method, but I can make this work. Thanks!

    2. Comment
      Phillip Thomas

      Glad to help, I don't know if there is a database you can get to that holds coordinates, but if you can get a hold of one, finding relative positions should be easy as well.

    3. Comment

      Phillip, how do you find all internal points inside the circle using the API?

    4. Comment
      Phillip Thomas

      The API shouldn't handle getting points inside a circle. This kind of math should be handled within the program prior to forming a request to the API (to get a list of geographies you want to make a request on).

    5. Comment

      Phillip, I just wanted to point out that "finding all points inside the circle" and then I guess testing ALL points to find all geographies involved within the circle before retrieving the demographic data for those geographies may be theoretically possible but I think practically impossible. There must be a better way to do it. I am curious to know for example how this is done on American Fact Finder where we can get very fast a list of geographies within a circle or a rectangle.

    6. Comment
      Phillip Thomas

      They do exactly as you theorize is impractical.

  2. Comment

    when you get a TIGER geography file there should be two fields (intplat and intplng) that provide the centroid point for the geography in can use these to calculate the distance

    Comments on this comment

    1. Comment

      Just to clarify. An Internal Point in TIGER is not always equal to the centroid. We ensure that the internal point falls inside the entity and on a land face if there is one.

  3. Comment

    I am working on a similar problem. I have spent quite some time digging through the Tiger web apis and can't figure out how to access those intptlat or lon data. The API services all appear to be geared towards different things vs purely just querying for data, and sadly this isn't something you can query as part of the normal census API.

    Would greatly appreciate assitance with which service, operation, and parameters are needed.

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