Instant maps for every U.S. census tract

Is your neighborhood gentrifying?  Are there enough public school kids in your neighborhood to sustain the local elementary school?  It seems everyone, not just mappers, is abuzz about the new mapping tool based on 2005-2009 American Community Survey (Census) data featured on the front page of the New York Times (December 15 issue) that helps to answer these types of questions for most neighborhoods in America.   (We say “most” because the ACS data is based on sampling and may not be accurate for areas of lower population density.)

With the simple entry of a zip code, you have access to maps on race, income, education and other household characteristics on your desktop for any census tract in the country.  In addition to maps displaying these common mapping variables, the tool provides census tract maps on changes in median income, elementary school children attending private school, households with same-sex couples and the foreign born population.  If you can tear yourself away from this addictive site (I checked my current neighborhood, last neighborhood, childhood neighborhood, sister’s neighborhood. . .you get the picture), check out the current ACS page on the Census website for more new maps and data sets.