Skip to main content

Research Guides@Tufts

Community Health

Social Explorer

Social Explorer provides quick and easy access to modern and historical U.S. census data and demographic information. The web interface lets users create maps and reports to help visually analyze and understand demography and social change throughout history. The site currently includes data from the entire US Census from 1790 to 2010, all annual updates from the American Community Survey to 2008, original Census tract-level estimates for 2006 and 2007, the Religious Congregations and Membership Study from 1980 to 2000, and 2002 Carbon Emissions Data from the Vulcan Project.

Use this link to get to Social Explorer's Help pages and their How-to-videos.

My Explorer: Tufts University provides a professional license to this resource. Create an account to be able to save maps and projects, especially those that are shared.


1. Search or browse all of the Census tables from 1790 - 2010. You can also browse the American Community Survey (ACS) and Religion data.

2. Choose one of the reports and then select by Geographic Type, then choose one or more Geographic Areas, click on Next.

3. Select a dataset, next select one or more data tables, then click on Add.

4. Click on Show Result; at this screen choose to send to an Excel spreadsheet or Data Download.

5. Search across Reports for specific topics, such as health, environment, etc. The results will link you to data reports that have this term somwwhere in the title or text of the reports.

6. Using the upper-right Link icon, create a permanent link to post to email, IM, etc.

7. At the bottom of the Report page, links to Data Documentation and Data Dictionary (Metadata) are found.


1. Choose Maps to discover, analyze and visually display data from the 1790 Cenus to present.

2. Use the Change Data box to select data tables to include in the map.

3. Use Save As to create a title for the map/project.

4. Choose Share to create a link that can be emailed, embedded or shared with social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.

5. Choose one of the maps, once displayed you can select other data maps to display and save.

6. Export a map to Powerpoint or as an image.

7. Change map's data display by choosing either Show Data by or Visualization Type.

8. Use the Tell A Story feature in order to create a 'story' about your data; choose the Change map layout feature to customize the 'look' of the story.

9. Focus on particular geographies in a map by using the Search tool.


Alyson Gamble's picture
Alyson Gamble