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Census 2000 FormWhat's in the Census?

Important information about people and where they live is available now, and even more information will be available in 2002.


by Allison Plyer

Sept. 20, 2001 | From reading the newspapers and just observing what's going on in the New Orleans area, one could easily get the impression that we're losing people. The Census shows us, though, that across the 5-parish area, our population actually increased by 3.7% between 1990 and 2000.  It appears that residents may not be leaving the metro area as much as they are moving around within it.

Although the number of people in Orleans Parish went down by 2.5%, the populations in Jefferson, St. Bernard, Plaquemines and St. Tammany went up.  In fact, St. Tammany increased by 32%! Here's what the numbers look like:

Population of the Greater New Orleans Area, Census 1990 and 2000

Total Population
Total Population
Growth Rate











St. Bernard




St. Tammany




5-parish area




United States




What else can we find out from the 2000 Census?

What is a Census tract?

A census tract is an area smaller than a parish or county. Each census tract usually has between 1,500 and 8,000 people in it. The average size census tract is 4,000 people. There are more than 175 census tracts in Orleans Parish. There are 65,000 census tracts across the U.S. [learn more]

Age, gender, race and ethnicity, family structure and housing unit information are all available.  And this information is now available at the national, state and parish levels, all the way down to the census tract and block group levels.  So we can compare not only the way parishes have changed but also the way neighborhoods have changed over the last ten years.  And we can see exactly how the Greater New Orleans area compares with national averages in regard to single parent families, children and the elderly, housing units that are vacant, and housing units lived in by their owners.

Other information from Census 2000

Greater New Orleans
(5-parish) area
United States

Population by Age


0-17 years old



18-64 years old



65+ years old




Families by Structure


% Children living with married parents



% Children living with mother only




Housing Units


% Vacant housing units



% Occupied housing units



  % Owner occupied housing  units



  % Renter occupied housing units



Source: U.S. Census 1990, 2000

You can make a strong case for the need for greater funding for your nonprofit based on the 2000 census data already available. To do this, find research that shows that people of a certain age or race are more likely to be struggling with the problem you are trying to address.

The above information is helpful, and only a small portion of all the census information collected has been released so far.  In fact, much of the most useful information nonprofits need to inform their planning won't be available until 2002.  In the meantime, the Community Data Center has available estimates for 1999 and 2004 developed by the Claritas Company based on 1990 census information (see our Technical Assistance page for more information on how to get this information from us).

What new Census information can we look forward to?

Most Americans fill out the census short form, which asks only a few simple questions.  One out of every six Americans were asked to fill out the census long form which asks for more detailed information on topics such as income, education, employment, marital status, disabilities, and immigration status. 

Census Short Form Info
Available Now
Census Long Form Info
Available Summer of 2002
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Hispanic or Latino origin
  • Household relationship
  • Tenure (whether home is owned or rented)
  • Vacancy characteristics
  • Marital status
  • Place of birth, citizenship, year of entry
  • School enrollment and educational attainment
  • Ancestry
  • Migration (residence in 1995)
  • Language spoken at home and ability to speak English
  • Veteran status
  • Disability
  • Grandparents as caregivers
  • Labor force status
  • Place of work and journey to work
  • Occupation, industry, and class of worker
  • Work status in 1999
  • Income in 1999
  • Value of home or monthly rent paid
  • Units in structure
  • Year structure built
  • Number of rooms and number of bedrooms
  • Year moved into residence
  • Plumbing and kitchen facilities
  • Telephone service
  • Vehicles available
  • Heating fuel
  • Farm residence
  • Utilities, mortgage, taxes, insurance and fuel costs

Source: “Introduction to 2000 Census Products.” Issued June 2001. Online. Available at

About the "Supplementary Survey"

Don't be confused by the Census' "Supplementary Survey" that is being released this Fall. Only about 1 out of every 350 Americans were asked to fill out this form.

This survey produces only estimates of the information that the long form will provide. The important thing to be aware of is that this information cannot be compared to information that comes from the Census 1990 long form.

The information from the census long form is scheduled to be released between June and September of 2002.

Related links:

Note: Links will pop-up in new windows.
The American FactFinder link on the Census' website is designed to help you find the information you need, quickly and easily.
Go here for more information about the dates when the different Census information should be released.

Get Adobe Acrobat ReaderYou can see “informational copies” of the Census 2000 short form. (You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view them.)

Short Form:
Long Form:

These “informational copies” supplied by the U.S. Census are actual samples of the Census 2000 forms. Each form is several pages long. A quick summary of the questions on each form can be found at:


Allison Plyer is a Senior Consultant with the Community Data Center. Thomas Dodson also contributed to this article.

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Last modified: October 2, 2001