I'm trying to convert the census tract data with demographic profiles to a raster so that I can do a site suitability analysis with proximity to high youth population areas.

I downloaded the 2010 Census Demographic Profile 1 Census Tract shapefile from https://www.census.gov/geo/maps-data/data/tiger-data.html and used select by location to extract all polygons within the county boundary.

I then added a field and calculated the combined ages of population under 19. I want to use this field to convert to raster. I've tried polygon to raster, feature to raster, I've tried merging the data first and each time the file comes up blank. ArcMap will create the file but it will not contain any data. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong or if I'm missing a step here.

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    Please post a picture of the settings for the tools you've used, and/or any applicable code as text.
    – RJJoling
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 15:24
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    have you tried to append data? create a empty shapefile (format polygon, with same structure as your current polygons) than use append (under data management / general / append) using schema "no_test". also you have the option to connect fields.
    – riflo
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 15:25

1 Answer 1


While substantially more complex than a simple vector to raster conversion, I would suggest that you consider a dasymetric allocation of population (or youth population in your case) to a raster dataset. The EPA EnviroAtlas project has done this with census block population to a 30m raster based on land cover types for CONUS (fact sheet, with a couple papers linked at the end). Essentially, you 'intelligently' allocate population to each pixel based on the land cover class as the distribution of population within a census unit is not homogeneous.

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