SSRIC Teaching Resources Depository
Exploring the US Census
Eugene Turner, California State University, Northridge

Exercise 4 -- Population Growth

© The Author, 1998; Last Modified 17 August 1998

Databases:  bgatsp.por; CACOsp.por

In this exercise you will work with some of the methods that portray changes in the population. Think about what each of these contributes to our understanding of change.

Familiarize yourself with the location of some of the census tracts in the Burbank and Glendale area by consulting the map (Figure 4) in the module.


  1. Absolute and Percentage Change
    1. Select non-Hispanic whites and two of the following ethnic groups by census tract for either Burbank or for Glendale:   non-Hispanic white

    2.   black

        Chinese

        Filipino

        Korean

        Mexican origin

        Salvadoran origin
      1. Compute the absolute and percentage change in ethnic persons between 1980 and 1990 for the three groups in the city as a whole and in all tracts. What are the trends of change of these groups for the city? What do you think happened to produce these trends?
      2. Examine the tracts which do not show the ethnic change trends found for the city as a whole. Identify these tracts and describe the distinctive trends for them. What do you think may be different about these tracts to result in their different trends? What evidence would you need to determine if your ideas are correct?
  2. Births

  3. Select the California Dept. of Finance data extract, CACO.
    1. Compute the 1990 - 1997 crude birth rate and crude death rate for California counties. Sort the counties and determine which have very high and very low birth rates. Are there differences between metropolitan and rural counties or between northern and southern California?
    2. Determine which counties gained or lost population in the 1990 - 1997 period.

    3. Create a map of net domestic migration by county. Are any patterns evident in counties that gained or lost population?
    4. Compute the percentage of population growth due to net migration for each of the California counties. Make a scattergram of birth rates versus net migration to see if those counties with a large increase in migrants also are having a greater proportion of births.
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