I would like to find a dataset of basic demographic and economic data at core-based statistical area level for the US. Ideally, it should include variables like population, median income, age distribution, unemployment rate from 2016 or up.

I have looked for this at Census, ACS, FRED, GitHub, various statistical packages that hit data APIs, and googled, but I have not found anything like this. I have found similar data for states in the past using some of the above.

Does this actually exist somewhere? If not, is the best way to build that by aggregating county or zip/zcta data with a cross-walk?

  • This is a quality question. Perhaps you can add some linked to the different resources you found, e.g "Census, ACS, ..., Github", and then state why each isn't appropriate
    – philshem
    Dec 8, 2017 at 10:14
  • @philshem They are not at CBSA-level, usually state or country or zip/zcta.
    – dimitriy
    Dec 11, 2017 at 2:11

1 Answer 1


I would like to see some ready-made sources for 2016 CBSA-level data. Until then, I suggest using county-level sources and aggregating them to CBSA-level. For this, you can combine cross-walks listed in your link or, possibly easier, use this cross-walk from Jean Roth provided at NBER. Given the excellent .csv and .dta files the aggregation should be straightforward.

As for data: For the county-level, the American FactFinder provides a promising compilation. I found very detailed 2016 data on several of the topics you requested. Two examples:

Comparative Economic Characteristics (Source ID CP03, ACS 1 year survey 2016) enter image description here with, for example, the income distribution as well as mean and median income.

Unemployment (Source ID S2301, ACS 1 year survey 2016) enter image description here with unemployment rates split by age group.

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