Census Data for Chester County
In the past, the US Census Bureau used to gather all its data every ten years as part of what is formally called the "Decennial Census." In recent decades, however, the Bureau has expanded their data gathering operations. They currently posts three major types of data at their web site. These three data types are:
- The Decennial Census, which counts (or "enumerates") the population once every ten years. The last Decennial Census enumeration was in 2020.
- The American Community Survey, which generates US population data each year based on surveys that are mailed out monthly on an ongoing basis to a random sample of households through the US.
- Population and Housing Unit Estimates, which estimate the US population each year by examining records documenting births, deaths, immigration, and outmigration.
Another excellent source for census data relating specifically to Pennsylvania is the Pennsylvania State Data Center. Data focusing on Philadelphia and its suburbs are also available from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.
The 2020 Decennial Census for Chester County
On May 25, 2023, the U. S. Census Bureau released new local level data from the 2020 Census that is more detailed than the available data that was released in 2021. This expanded data release contains detailed information on age, sex, families, households, and housing. From this data set, Planning Commission staff extracted the data relating to Chester County's 73 municipalities and formatted it in an easy-to-use Excel format.
The Census Bureau has created a web page entitled Infographics and Visualizations which includes maps and charts illustrating the 2020 census results. One of these maps is the 2020 Census Demographic Data Map Viewer, which provides selected data about counties and census block groups nationwide. Another useful map provides 2020 State and County population and housing data.
During the spring and summer of 2020, the US Census Bureau was unable to conduct normal operations due to the COVID pandemic. As a result, there have been delays distributing data, which will likely continue into 2023 or 2024. The US Census Bureau has posted its schedule for releasing the entire results of the 2020 Decennial Census, but this schedule is subject to change.
The Decennial Census for Chester County: 2000 and 2010
Because data from the 2000 Decennial Census is no longer available on the Internet, Planning Commission staff complied this data for Chester County and each of its 73 municipalities which can be download as a pdf below:
- Chester County Total and Atglen Borough through East Coventry Township
- East Coventry Township through Malvern Borough
- Malvern Borough through South Coventry Township
- Spring City through Willistown Township
2010 Decennial Census data is available from the US Census' web site, Explore Census Data. Formatted county-level and municipal-level data can also be downloaded from the links below:
- Data Profiles for Chester County and each of its 73 municipalities (Excel Spreadsheet)
- Pennsylvania: 2010 Population and Housing Unit Counts (August 2012) (PDF scan of entire 259-page publication)
The American Community Survey (ACS): 1-Year and 5-Year Survey Data
Every year, the Census Bureau sends out over 3 million surveys which include more detailed questions then are asked on the decennial Census. These surveys are mailed out as part of the American Community Survey (ACS). Learn more.
The ACS compiles the yearly survey results to generate estimated data of the current population, and other demographic features. Learn more.
ACS "estimated data" is not "enumerated" or counted. Rather they are statistically estimated, and presented in two ways:
1. ACS 1-Year Survey Data
Each year, the ACS produces 1-year estimated data annually for geographic areas with a population of 65,000 or more. This includes the nation, all states, all congressional districts, approximately 800 counties, and many metropolitan areas. These 1-year ACS estimated data are not generated for most of the municipalities in Chester County.
You can find county-level information from the most recent 1-year ACS estimated data by clicking on the four topics listed below. ** UPDATED DATA COMING SOON **
- Demographic and Housing Estimates for Chester County such as Age and Sex, Hispanic or Latino and Race.
- Housing Characteristics for Chester County such as Housing Occupancy, Units in Structure, Year Built, Rooms, Bedrooms, Housing Tenure, Vehicles Available, Heating Fuels, Value Mortgage Status, Owner Costs, and Rent.
- Social Characteristics for Chester County such as Household Type, Relationship, Marital Status, Fertility, School Enrollment, Educational, Veteran Status, Residence, Citizen Status, Languages Spoken, and Ancestry.
- Economic Characteristics for Chester County such as Employment Status, Commuting to Work, Occupation, Industry, Class of Worker, Income and Benefits, Health Insurance, and Families and People below the Poverty Level.
2. 5-Year ACS Survey Data
The ACS produces 5-year estimated data annually for geographic areas with large and small populations, including the 73 municipalities in Chester County. These 5-year estimated data represent a compilation of data gathered over a five year period. Thus, the 2010 5-year estimated data were based in ACS data collected from 2005 through 2009. Note that the 5-year estimated data are not simply averages of the 1-year estimates.
You can find information from the most recent 5-year ACS estimated data for Chester County and its 73 Municipalities using the boxes below. ** UPDATED DATA COMING SOON **
- Demographic and Housing Estimated Data for Chester County and its 73 Municipalities, such as Age and Sex, Hispanic or Latino and Race.
- Housing Characteristics for Chester County and its 73 Municipalities, such as Housing Occupancy, Units in Structure, Year Built, Rooms, Bedrooms, Housing Tenure, Vehicles Available, Heating Fuels, Value Mortgage Status, Owner Costs, and Rent.
- Social Characteristics for Chester County and its 73 Municipalities, such as Household Type, Relationship, Marital Status, Fertility, School Enrollment, Educational, Veteran Status, Residence, Citizen Status, Languages Spoken, Ancestry.
- Economic Characteristics for Chester County and its 73 Municipalities, such as Employment Status, Commuting to Work, Occupation, Industry, Class of Worker, Income and Benefits, Health Insurance, Families and People below the Poverty Level.
Each year the US Census Bureau generates "Population Estimates" through its Population Estimates Program (PEP). These estimates are generated each year by using the enumerated Decennial Census data as a base data set, and then adding annual data on births and immigration while subtracting annual data on deaths and out-migration. Information on the PEP methodology can be found online. The PEP program also generates "Housing Estimates." The PEP posts their data sets online.