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Finding and Using GIS Data

The AGS Library's Guide to Finding GIS data and working with it for your specific project needs

Downloading Data Tables from the U.S. Census Bureau

Census Data Tutorial

This is just one way to get data from the Census Bureau and one of many ways to download data from  If you want to download census data for use in a GIS software, such as a shapefile, we strongly recommend the National Historic Geographic Information System (

This tutorial shows you the steps to download Median Household Income data from the 2020 American Community Survey 5-year estimates at the Census Tract geography for Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. Follow along or choose different data if you wish.

1. Navigate to

2. Click "Advanced Search"

3. Choose "Topics" underneath "Find a Filter"

4. Choose "Income and Poverty" > "Income and Earnings" > "Income (Households, Families, Individuals)"


5. Choose "Geography" underneath "Find a Filter"

6. Choose "Tract" > "Wisconsin" > "Milwaukee County, Wisconsin" > "All Census Tracts within Milwaukee County, Wisconsin"

7. Click the blue "SEARCH" icon in the lower right-hand corner.

8. In the search results, click the "+" icon underneath "S1903 | MEDIAN INCOME IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS (IN 2020-INFLATION-ADJUSTED DOLLARS)" and click the blue arrow icon next to "2020: ACS 5-Year Estimates Subject Tables"

9. You may come across a message stating that the table is too large to display. In this case, you can either:

  • a) Click the blue "DOWNLOAD TABLE" icon if you're certain this is table you want, or
  • b) Click "open the table" to view in the web browser anyway. When you're ready to download it, click the "CSV" icon above the table. Select a location where you'd like to save the file.






The Contents of Finding and Using GIS Data may be reused with attribution for Non-Commercial purposes.

Finding and Using GIS Data by Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License