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Welcome to the CDXZipStream October 2010 Newsletter

The Census Bureau has just announced that zip code demographics from the American Community Survey will be released for the first time in December 2010.  We also review how you can easily use CDXZipStream to both parse and verify address information at the same time.

You can click on the links below to check out our October blog articles:
   - Is Zip Code Distance Good Enough?
   - Free Resources for Demographic Data
That $#*! Excel Ribbon

Upcoming Zip Code Demographics from the ACSZip Code Demographics

There's an important milestone coming up: in December 2010 the Census Bureau will release for the first time 5-year estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS), which will include data down to the zip code level covering the years 2005-2009. This survey (which has replaced the old "long form" of the ten year census) has population, race, gender and age data like the 2010 Census, but also includes education, socioeconomic, and housing information that is not included in the 2010 Census.  It will be updated annually and will be much more current than previous census data obtained every 10 years.  We will include the American Community Survey 5-year data in the CDXZipStream Premium ACS version approximately two weeks after its release.

More than a few of our clients have asked why ACS data has not yet included zip code demographics.  To understand this, we need to talk a little about how the survey works.  Each year the ACS gathers data from about 3 million U.S. households, and in order to get statistically valid demographics for smaller geographies like zip codes, the data must be combined over a five year period - there just isn't enough from a single year to get an accurate picture for a zip code.  In fact, one year data is applicable only to geographies with a population of 65,000 or more, and the three year combined data currently included in CDXZipStream is applicable to geographies of 20,000 or more.   Since the ACS formally started in 2005, five year data (covering the period 2005 through 2009) is now just about to be released.

So what's the big deal?  The real advantage of the annual American Community Survey is that it will show a true moving picture of American demographics that could never be provided by the 10 year "snapshot" of the decennial census.  Zip code demographics from here on out will be updated annually using data from the last five surveys, and trends can be measured using real data instead of relying on error-prone models based on extrapolations of old surveys.  So stay tuned ... we expect ACS demographics by zip code will be available in CDXZipStream by the end of this year.
Parsing and Verifying Address Data
A common spreadsheet problem is separating or "parsing" address information into multiple columns. For instance, if an address is entered as a text string ("street, city, state zip code") in a single cell, it is often necessary - and can make address analysis so much easier - to split the street, city, state and zip code into separate cells. A common technique to accomplish this involves parsing on the basis of delimiters, such as commas, in the text.  This involves entering formulas in Excel, in some cases quite complex, to separate out the data based on the position of the delimiters.  This will work as long as the data is consistently formatted, but that often isn't the case.

Fortunately, CDXZipStream provides a much easier, more reliable method for parsing addresses.  The CDXZipStream function CDXLocateMP, working in conjunction with Microsoft MapPoint, can take an address text string and return a variety of information about it to the spreadsheet. You may be most familiar with this function for geocoding an address to find its latitude and longitude.  But CDXLocateMP also provides street, city, state and zip code as distinct outputs which can be placed in individual cells.  This doesn't require you to understand delimiters and can handle entries with inconsistent formatting.

As a bonus, this function only returns data for valid address entries in MapPoint. If an address is found to be invalid, a message to that effect is returned to the spreadsheet.  Since address verification occurs simultaneously with parsing, using CDXZipStream can be a great first step for tackling large address lists in Excel.

Note:  For a quick tutorial on address verification using CDXZipStream, please watch the YouTube video Address Validation in Excel.  In this case latitude and longitude data are returned to the worksheet, but you could just as easily request street, city, state, or zip code to both parse and verify the data at the same time.

Data Updates 
On October 25 we updated the CDXZipStream data feeds.  There were 71 changes to the zip code database this month.

As always, we hope you find the information here useful.  Please feel free to contact us with your feedback and suggestions by replying to this email.
The Team at CDX Technologies
October 2010
Map of the World
In This Issue

Upcoming Zip Code Demographics from the ACS

Parsing and Verifying Address Data

Data Updates


YouTube Video: Address Validation in Excel

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