On October 1, 2013, the federal government partially shut down, taking with it the U.S Census, Library of Congress, and other government websites.
If you've been caught in the middle of an intensive research project that depends on Census data, viable alternatives do exist for the short term:
1) Accessed cached Census pages through The Internet Archive
You can browse the vast majority of the Census website and embedded PDF report files by visiting the Internet Archive Wayback Machine and typing in census.gov into the search. Choose the September 30 snapshot to view a cached version of the Census website the day before the Oct 1 shutdown. Most of the navigation links, such as Data, should work.
Protip: Google the exact Census data you're looking for, e.g.
then copy and paste the Census URL (http://www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/education/) into the Wayback Machine.
2) GIS fanatics: National Historical Geographic Information System
NHGIS is run by the University of Minnesota's Population Center. Quoting the website: "The National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS) provides, free of charge, aggregate census data and GIS-compatible boundary files for the United States between 1790 and 2012."
This includes decennial census data through 2010 and the American Community Survey 1, 3, and 5-year estimates for 2010 and 2011. The website has a data selector tool that likens the American Fact Finder, which allows you to find tables and output into a variety of formats. Free registration is required.
3) Casual statistics: CensusReporter
This project is funded by the Knight Foundation, and aims to make Census data easy to visualize. Great site if you're looking for casual Census statistics with beautiful data visualizations.
4) Hardcore stat monkeys: census.ire.org
5) ($$) SocialExplorer.com
This is probably the best U.S. Census resource, short of the Census itself. But unless you're comfortable only researching Census 2000 aggregate data, it's not free! A local college or university library may subscribe to it, otherwise it's $149 for 3 months.
Other government data shutdown sites of potential interest
- http://forever.codeforamerica.org/Census-API/shutdown-2013.html - Links to TIGER Shapefiles.
- http://guides.lib.fsu.edu/governmentshutdown - lots of great links, but beware the FSU-only databases. Contact your local librarian for help accessing potential Census statistical databases.
- http://research.stlouisfed.org - economic data