FAQ: Overview of Data Acquisition Methods - Census geographic levels

This community-built FAQ covers the “Census geographic levels” exercise from the lesson “Overview of Data Acquisition Methods”.

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This exercise can be found in the following Codecademy content:

[Beta] Data Science Foundations

FAQs on the exercise Census geographic levels

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Is there a name for the syntax/language used in an API call? Where could I learn more about it so I can be fluent when making my own API calls from other websites?


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I’m not really clear on where to see the variables that can be used in the api call. anyone have any suggestions? like how would I know if I could query by county or by school district, etc…


Here’s the list they were using in the lesson: Census Data API: /data/2020/acs/acs5/groups/B08303


I see you provided the variable group for B08303. However, how are we to know that we can pull school districts and regions? Where is that metadata listed? Any help?


I can’t help you, I had the same question…did you find a answer in the meantime?

This lesson needs more resource. There’s no provision of the list of commands you can give to an API call. For example this question:

Make an API call to request the same 3 variables for all counties within the state of New York.

Use the for parameter in conjunction with in to request specific geographic regions.

How do I input counties into the API call? There’s nothing that tells me this. For the entire API lesson I’ve had to click at the answer after having a go in order to learn anything (for instance, that you can do calls to 2 different datasets by seperating them with a comma)

Can this be fixed please?


How the answer to this question is addressed?

Make an API call to request the same 3 variables for all counties within the state of New York.
Use the for parameter in conjunction with in to request specific geographic regions.

Can’t Understand this API code?
https://api.census.gov/data/2020/acs/acs5?get=NAME,B08303_001E,B08303_013E&for=county:*&in=state:36 .

I figured it out by trial and error and guessing? You can’t expect everything to be handed to you on a plate, you’ll never learn anything.

Hi everyone - back again haha. I took a five-month break because I overdid the learning at first. Making an attempt to take it slowly and not overwhelm myself with this.

Wanted to provide another resource the lesson goes over which shows examples of requesting data on the state level, county level, etc.: https://api.census.gov/data/2020/acs/acs5/examples.html

Hope this helps!


For the “Making API request” section,
How are we supposed to know that B08303_001E is equal to number of commuters,
unless CodeAcademy told us that? For future, I might want to look at some other factor,
such as “how many homeowners are there”, but how do I find out what the name of the column is that I want to search for?

how could we have known the code for counties were county other than common sense?

I have not been able to access the datasets through census API. Anyone here had the same issue?

What does your API call look like?

Both work just fine for me. Did you use this for your query? If you’re copying the query from the lesson, be sure to not include the period at the end or else you’ll get an error message.


Should look like this:

Yes, I attempted that only, was using trial and error after understanding the first and second examples for guidance

Please @codecademy improve on this lesson. There is so much information missing in order for people to actually grasp what is going on here. I have managed my way through with using the provided answers, but in no way could I do an api call on my own with the information provided.

There’s a link to the Census documentation in the lesson. If you check that out it really helps.

Hi! Yes, I am aware of the link. However, in the context of the Data Analyst career path, this does not fulfill near the information needed to understand what is going on. I have began finding external sources to gain a better understanding. Thanks for the suggestion though!