The US Census Bureau has just made its wealth of demographic, socio-economic and housing data more accessible than ever before, with the launch of its first public API. Launched last Thursday, the API will surely lead to endless possibilities for developers of mobile and web applications.
Developers will be able to access two Census Bureau statistical databases through the API; the 2010 Census, which provides up to date information on age, population, race, sex and home ownership statistics in the US, and the 2006-2010 American Community Survey, which offers a more diverse range of socio-economic data, covering areas including employment, income and education.
As well as the API, the Census Bureau has also created a new “app gallery”, which will display all of the apps that have been built using US Census data.
Developers are being encouraged to design applications that can be customized for consumer’s needs, and are also invited to share and discuss new ideas on the Census Bureau’s new Developer’s Forum.
So far, two apps have already been built using the API – Poverty Map, developed by Cornell University researchers, which lets you view poverty statistics across different parts of New York State; and Age Finder, which can be used to measure population across different age groups over multiple years. The results can be filtered according to various demographics, such as sex, age and location.
In its official press release, the Census Bureau said that the idea behind the API is to make its data available to a wider audience, whilst ensuring greater transparency about its role.
Robert Groves, Director of the Census Bureau, said that he hopes to see many apps being developed on the back of the API:
“The API gives data developers in research, business and government the means to customize our statistics into an app that their audiences and customers need,” explained Groves.