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American FactFinder

Time for another MARVEL database!

For those who have not taken the time to peek at the MARVEL database provided by the Maine State Library, I would suggest you poke around a little here and there.  What an AmAzInG amount of information!
Today I will take a chance on American FactFinder – US Census.  Clicking on this link in MARVEL takes me to what appears to be a United States Census Bureau hosted website. Across the top of the page the tabs include Main, Community Facts, Guided Search, Advanced Search and Download Center.  As I am on the Main page, I see Community Search with a search box.
Since I’m in Gardiner, Maine, I enter the zip code.  This brings me to a page with a variety of information.  As it opens, I am given the population total from the 2010 census – 11,646.  This seems like a rather large number, but the 04345 zip code includes Pittston and West Gardiner as well as Gardiner, so I’m okay with the number. 
On this page, there are a variety of ways to look at the data :
Age – median age is 45.3
Education – 92.3 % are high school graduates or better
Veterans – 1,394
There are several other ways to look at the information, and the last one in the list is Show All.  This choice breaks some of the other options into different aspects – such as Race and Hispanic Origin.  What an interesting way to look at different demographics of the community.
Next, I try Guided Search.  More choices!  This time I click the radio box for I’m looking for information about businesses or industries followed by Next.  Again, choices! 
I click on the plus sign beside Employment.  And, once again, choices!  Clicking on Employees the term seems to fly across the page into a section called Your Selections.  In this box, I now see my selection and Tables matching your selections 2,056.  Okay, I click Next.  Hmmm . . . . now I’m asked to add geographic areas.  04345 goes into the appropriate box.  I click Next again and am asked about Industry Codes.  I have to tell you, I know NOTHING about what this means!  So, I select the All available codes box, followed by Next.  Finally, results! 
I click on ZIP Code Business Statistics : Total for Zip Code for most recent date – 2013.  The next page gives me my Geographic Area – Gardiner, ME ; Number of establishments – 220 ; Paid Employees for pay period including March 12 (number) – 2,453 ; First-quarter payroll ($1,000) – 21,259 and Annual payroll ($1,000) – 88,706.  These are all interesting numbers, fascinating to think that there are 220 “physical locations where business is conducted or services or industrial operations are performed.” I’m now rather curious about these establishments in the 04345 ZIP code area, though this is a search for a different time.
Time to see what other statistics I can find.
Back on the Main page, I scroll to see what other features are available.
Popular Tablesinclude clickable links to several interesting studies.  I click on Educational Attainment.  I see a variety of interesting data for the United States population broken apart by age ranges.  Since this is a prepared table, I am not given the opportunity to narrow by area or ZIP code. 
Looking over the information, it makes me extremely sad to see that almost 14% of the U.S. population have no high school diploma or equivalent.  The information shows that 28% of the population are high school graduates or the equivalent, and over 58% have some form of traditional higher education.  Yes, I know I work in a library and want everyone to have the chance and choice to continue their education, though there are many “non-traditional” forms of education that are not taken into account in the given information. Time to get off my soap box.
Again, I go back to the Main page. 
Seeing Address Search, I click Street Address and type in the address of the house I grew up in.  The next page gives me a large variety of information – nothing specific as to census numbers, but county information, Congressional District, Legislative District, Region of the United States, as well as a few other tidbits.  Again, interesting things to know, but not currently pertinent to me.
At this point, I’m not at all sure where, or how best to use this, but it is certainly an interesting amount of data!
 Ann Russell, Technology Librarian