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Michigan State University

MC 498: Civic Engagement and Community Development in Lansing (Jezierski): Social Explorer

Social Explorer

Social Explorer is a website to which MSU patrons have access.  It provides census data from 1790 to the present.  The library has purchased access made available to currently enrolled students and active faculty & staff.  No password is necessary, except for off-campus use you'll be prompted for your MSU NetID and password. 

Non-MSU patrons may use the free interface which has less functionality that the full version.

Video: Making a basic map in Social Explorer

Video: Making a basic table in Social Explorer

Video: Retrieving race and education data from the 1960 Census (3:10)

Video: Determining which tracts were within the city in 1960 (3:21)

Screen Shots:


The map function will allow you to see certain census variables along with the Census Tract Numbers.  One main difference between Social Explorer and American Factfinder is that American Factfinder only provides detailed data for 2000 and newer.  Social Explorer provides historical data, but does not provide the full depth of census data.  It also does not show the city boundaries.



Once you know which Tract Numbers you need, you can go to the "Reports" tab and specify your tracts and which data you want to see.


The table may be downloaded in Excel format.

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