Learn More: Population

What does this mean?


The total population is the estimated number of people who live in a particular area. It includes estimates for all males, females, adults and children. The estimate presented here is from the 2010 Census (Redistricting Data SF).


A household includes all the people who occupy a housing unit as their usual place of residence. For example, there might be four people in a family living in one house. This would count as four people under population, but only as one household. The estimate presented here is from the 2010 Census (Redistricting Data SF).

Population Density

Population density is the number of people per square mile. The higher the population density, the more concentrated the people are living near each other. The lower the population density, the more spread out they are living. This indicator can help you understand whether an area is more urban or rural in nature. For example, in 2010, the population density of a highly urbanized city like New York was approximately 26,803 persons per square mile whereas in a lower density city like Tampa the value was approximately 1,862 persons per square mile.

Why is it important?

It is important to understand the population, number of households and population density because it can help to explain the needs and characteristics of a community. It can help to describe whether there are or are not a lot of people living in a particular area. It can also show whether people are living close together in a densely populated community or further apart in a more sparsely populated community.

How are the data collected (methods)?

Total Population and Households:

Every ten years the U.S. Census Bureau conducts its official population count of the United States (referred to as the Decennial Census). The most recent census was conducted in 2010. The U.S. Census Bureau collects this data in two ways. They first send out a mail-in census form. For those people who do not return their mail-in forms, the Census Bureau sends people to those homes to administer the form in person.

There are two census forms used during the Decennial Census. The first is the short-form, which is asked of every person and housing unit in the United States. On this form are a limited number of questions (Age, Hispanic or Latino origin, Household Relationship, Home Ownership, Number of People, Race, and Sex). The second is the American Community Survey (ACS), which is given to a sample of the population to ask more detailed questions on population, housing, and other social and economic characteristics. The information collected in the ACS is then estimated for the entire population annually.

The data from the short and ACS forms are made public through the U.S. Census Bureau.
Source: U.S. Census Factfinder

Caveats and Limitations

When using these data, please consider the following:

  • We chose Census 2010 data to include on the Community Atlas because it is most appropriate for smaller geographic areas such as neighborhoods. More current population estimates, such as those from the American Community Survey (ACS), are typically for a county or city as a whole, not communities or neighborhoods. If you choose to use this data, please keep in mind that it is an estimate.
  • The data presented are from the 2010 Redistricting Data SF and Summary File 1 which were based on an attempt to count all citizens. This methodology has generally been well received with a higher than expected mail-in response rate of 72 percent. Additional information on the Census 2010 methodology can be found on the Census Bureau website.
  • The data has been reapportioned from the original boundaries provided to us in order to develop estimates for neighborhoods and communities. This has been done because not all data is reported for the same boundaries as the neighborhoods and communities on the Community Atlas. When using these data, view them as estimates for these neighborhoods and communities.
  • Population density is estimated as the number of people per square mile. This is done to allow for a comparison between completely different areas of the world. Since this is a standard calculation, it is possible that a particular neighborhood or community might actually have area less than 1 square mile. In these cases, the resulting population density might be greater than the actual population listed. This is not an error, but represents the results of the standard calculation.

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