I'm trying to download Census data using R and the Census API. There's a list of variable names at https://api.census.gov/data/1990/sf3/variables.html
However, most of the variable descriptions aren't very informative. Is there a codebook somewhere that explains what each measure is actually measuring? Edit, for example the variable P1200008 is described as "INC BELOW POV Under 5 years" - I assumed this meant "number of people under 5 in households with incomes below the poverty line" but that isn't returning expected values.
Here's the specific data I'm trying to get: I want to end up with county-level poverty rates. The total population numbers (the POP100 variable) seem right (they add up to 240 million or so) but the poverty rate ends up being around 2% when it should be 13%.
get <- c("POP100", "P0080001", "P1200008", "P1200009", "P1200010", "P1200011", "P1200012", "P1200013", "P1200014", "P1190036", "P1190037", "P1190038", "P1190039", "P1190040", "P1190041", "P1190042") census <- getCensus(name = "sf3", vintage = "1990", key = key, vars = get, region = "county:*") colnames(census) <- get.labels #poverty rate for county level rows census$poverty <- (sum of poverty variables) / census$POP100 #overall poverty rate, should be around 12% rate <- (sum of poverty columns) / (sum of POP100 column)
Second edit: I was able to find the specific data I was after on an archived USDA page here: https://wayback.archive-it.org/5923/20110904012456/http://ers.usda.gov/Data/Povertyrates/1989_1999/PovListpct.asp?st=NY&view=Percent. Obviously that doesn't answer the general question, so if anyone can answer that (for myself and posterity) I'd be thankful!