I'm trying to query the US Census 2015 5 year ACS API for certain variables at the block group level, but unfortunately not all variables/tables are reported at the block group level.

How can I find out what geographies a particular variable or table is reported at?

I've looked all over and can't find any documentation on this.

  • If it's open data then the Open Data may be the best place to research/ask.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 22:40

2 Answers 2


I came across this thread ACS Subjects not available for block groups?

If provides a link to the Census website, you could download the excel document that should give you the answer you are looking for.

If you look at the summary file documentation - the Appendices excel file found here www.census.gov/.../summary-file-documentation.html

You will see the tables listed along with geography restrictions. Those that are not available by blockgroup have "No Blockgroups" listed as the geography restriction.

And yes, I believe the reason some are not available by block group would be due to too small of a sample size.

You could also try using the documentation on geographies and the particular variable or table Census Data API: FIPS Geographies in /data/2015/acs5/profile/geography

  • I've looked at the resource you've provided before. How do I use it to figure out what geography a given acs variable is reported at? All that seems to be provided is what the fips codes are for each geography.
    – Allen More
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 21:52
  • The ACS reports data based on Population thresholds, do you have a particular geography you are interested in or are you looking at data at the National level?
    – whyzar
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 22:03
  • I'm interested in data reported at the block group level which is available for most of the the datasets in ACS 5-year but not B08505A for instance. My question is, for a given variable available in ACS 5-year is there a way to find out if it is available at the block group level?
    – Allen More
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 22:07
  • I've updated the answer with a thread I found that provides the answer.
    – whyzar
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 22:24

Found it: https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/summary_file/2015/documentation/tech_docs/ACS_2015_SF_5YR_Appendices.xls

Details the geographic restrictions of each dataset in the 5 year ACS 2015 survey.

  • I noticed your post after I posted my response as well. Good job
    – whyzar
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 22:30

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