Many scholars at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign keep their research local. But sometimes, finding data for a specific locale can be difficult. These suggestions are just a start when it comes to the resources that University of Illinois students, faulty, and staff have at their disposal when it comes to finding local data, but it’s a good place to start.
American FactFinder is a free-to-use service provided by the United States Census Bureau. It contains basic facts in its Community Facts section, but allows for more detailed research through its Advanced Search option. We suggest that researchers use the Advanced Search for more in-depth questions. It contains census data for Champaign County from 2000 through 2015, at the time of writing this post.
Social Explorer uses census data to create map visualizations. It is important that you access Social Explorer through the University of Illinois library, and not a Google search, as the latter will give you limited functionality in the site. Social Explorer offers information dating back to 1790, as well as a good deal of customization. Maps that you create with Social Explorer can be downloaded and used as a visual.
SimplyMap uses a mix of both census and market research data to create map visualizations. A little clunkier than Social Explorer, it allows you to compare and contrast different variables with census and market research data, giving you powerful visualizations. Though you cannot download the visualizations themselves, you can download the data sets and tabular reports SimplyMap creates for you. Similarly to Social Explorer, you should enter SimplyMap through the Library, and create an account using your U of I email address.
These are just three of many data sources for Champaign County. Do these fill your needs? Do you have a favorite data source, either listed here or not listed? Let us know in the comments!