Exploring Society By The Numbers

The Social Structures of the Cities

Jim Wright, University of Central Florida

Summary

Objectives of this first data exercise are: to discover how the present-day US population is distributed across these various census categories; to discover how the distribution has changed over time; and, to see how some of the social characteristics of people who live in cities, suburbs and non-metro areas.

Learning Goals

Skill
After using this module, students will gain skills in:
  • Using software to access and analyze census data
  • Identifying independent and dependent variables
  • Quantitative writing
  • Learning how to construct, read, and interpret bivariate tables displaying frequencies and percentages
  • Identifying population trends over time
  • Using real world data to enhance and support key course concepts
Substance
Our objectives in this first data exercise are:
  • To discover how the present-day US population is distributed across these various census categories;
  • To discover how the distribution has changed over time; and
  • To see how some of the social characteristics of people who live in cities, suburbs and non-metro areas differ.

Context for Use

This exercise for an Urban Sociology course provides a look at population data in the United States and how geographic demographics have changed over time.

Description and Teaching Materials

Exercises: PDF (Acrobat (PDF) 140kB Mar25 09)
Exercises: DOC (Microsoft Word 60kB Mar25 09)

Teaching Notes and Tips

This activity uses a two customized datasets, one made from the 1990 Census and one made from combining census information from 1980-1990 guides. The exercise guides students through data manipulation using WebCHIP software found at DataCounts!. To open WebCHIP with the dataset for the activity, please see instructions and links in the exercise documents under teaching materials. For more information on how to use WebCHIP, see the How To section on DataCounts!

Assessment

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References and Resources

http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/01statab/stat-ab01.html

The County and City Data Book, updated every five years, provides detailed information on states, counties, and cities sized 25,000 and up. Its Web address is: http://www.census.gov/prod/www/ccdb.html

Finally, the State and Metropolitan Area Data Book, updated periodically, provides detailed information on states, metropolitan areas, counties comprising the metro areas, and central cities within the metro areas. It lives at: http://www.census.gov/statab/www/smadb.html

Original Archive Module:
http://www.ssdan.net/datacounts/modules/index/wright_struccities_index.shtml

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