Guided Search Overview

Guided Search helps you find Census data by specifying search criteria step-by-step. This stepwise approach differs from Advanced Search. In Advanced Search, you can specify your search criteria by using American FactFinder's (AFF) search options (Topics, Geography, Industry Codes, etc.) in any order, whereas Guided Search prompts you for criteria by presenting the search options one after another.

Guided Search is a helpful way to find Census data if you are new to American FactFinder or are not sure where to begin.

Guided Search is available from the FactFinder Main Page, and at any time, by clicking the Guided Search button at the top of the screen.

To begin your Guided Search, select the broad category of information in which you are interested, such as people, housing or economic data. (You can also start by choosing a particular census or survey instance, such as the 2010 Census, or a single data table.)

Once you have selected a category, you can specify additional criteria from within that category, such as geographies, topics, or race/ethnic groups. Guided Search presents each type of criteria on a separate step; you can select the criteria you want (if any), and then move to the next step.

You can move back and forth among the criteria selection steps in any order. You can then pick criteria or skip the step without making any selections.

Each time you specify a new criterion, Guided Search searches FactFinder for Census data products that match all of your criteria, and indicates how many products it found.

Typically, selecting more criteria narrows your search to fewer data products, helping you to locate the information you want more quickly.

At any time during your Guided Search, you can view the ten most relevant Census data products that match your criteria by selecting the Search Results step. If you want to see a list of all the data products FactFinder found that match your criteria, you can access Advanced Search directly from Guided Search by selecting "Advanced Search" from the global navigation toolbar or by selecting the link located under the ten most relevant Census data products.




Guided Search Start Page


Guided Search offers three ways to find Census data. First, you can search a broad category of information. Available categories are People, Housing, and Business and Industry. Second, you can search for information contained within a particular census or survey instance (called a "Dataset"). Finally, if you know the data table that contains the information you are looking for, you can search within only that table. After you choose one of the three options, Guided Search will prompt you to refine your search further by specifying particular topics, geographies, race and ethnic groups, or industries in a sequence of steps.


You begin guided search by selecting a search option.


The numbered steps shown along the top of the Guided Search screen indicate the kind of information you will be prompted for after you choose one of the starting options. These steps can change depending upon which option you choose.


You can see the steps available for an option before selecting it by choosing the radio button next to the option.


You do not have to specify criteria on each step; you can skip one or more steps if you want to.


During a Guided Search, some criteria that were selectable at one point may not be selectable at a later point, and some steps may become unavailable. The reason for this is Guided Search tries to prevent you from specifying invalid combinations of criteria, which would prevent it from finding any data products. Each time you add or remove a criterion from the Your Selections box, Guided Search reexamines all of the currently selected criteria, and activates or deactivates unselected criteria and steps as appropriate to prevent you from making invalid selections.


If after selecting an option you decide that it is the wrong option, or want to change to another option, you can start again at any time by selecting Step 1 ("Start").


After you choose an option, press the "Next" button to begin refining your search.



See the Guided Search tutorial for more information.


Selecting Topics

Selecting Geographies

Selecting Population Groups

Selecting Industry Codes

Searching for a Dataset

Searching for a Table

Guided Search Results

Guided Search Error Messages