Missouri State Census Data Center

Important Note for First Time Users of the Uexplore/Dexter Tools

Who Can Probably Make Good Use of this Resource

  1. Persons who want to download 25 key variables from the latest 5-year period estimates from the American Community Survey for all the census tracts or block groups in their state or metro area and load that data into Excel and use it to create a series of maps using their desktop GIS tool.

  2. Persons who work with ACS or decennial census data fairly often and know the basics of how these products work and just want to be able to quickly and somewhat easily get just the variables/tables they want, for just the specific levels of geography they want, for just the states they want, and in just the format(s) they want (csv file, dbf file, pdf report, SAS data set, etc.)

  3. Persons with the time and patience to spend 20-30 minutes reading the Dexter Quick Start online document, or viewing the video version of that document.

  4. Persons who work in an environment where they need to work with data analysts who are too busy to wallow in the technical details of what data are available and how can it be accessed by themselves but would like very much for someone else to get them what they want (or the closest thing that's available) and send it to them ASAP. This software was built within a State Data Center environment where we had multiple technical people who could use the data archive with Dexter to provide users with custom data extracts.

  5. Persons who want to access to not only the very latest American Community Survey or SAPIE or County Business Patterns or BEA REIS data, but sometimes may be interested in older data such as 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010 decennial census data. We realize that this is a small group but one that tends to make extensive use of the archive and these tools.

  6. Persons interested in national collections of most data sets that come from federal agencies (such as the Census Bureau or the Bureau of Economic Analysis), as well as those interested in some data that comes from local sources and are available only for the state of Missouri. This is, after all, the Missouri Census Data Center.

  7. Persons wanted to quickly and easily generate reports showing data ranked by various key indicators (using the Rankster option).

  8. Persons who disdain automatic transmissions and still prefer a stick shift.
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Who Will Probably NOT Find This Resource Useful

(At least not directly)

  1. One-time users. There is a learning curve associated with using the data and these access tools. You need to spend some time getting up to speed with the software. If you think you are only going to use it just this once or only a very few times, then you would probably be better off contacting us or a government documents data specialist at your local public or university library.

  2. Persons with a fear of filters. Dexter uses data filters to let you select rows from the data tables it accesses. Filters are comprised of logical conditions such as
    State Equals 06
    which are evaluated for the data in each row. In some cases filters may consist of multiple logical conditions which are then connected with logical operators. If the condition is found to be true for a given row then its data are included in the output. If this concept seems way too technical for you then you may want to use some other tool to access the data.

  3. Persons with an aversion to reading online documention. If you think applications should be so intuitive that there should never be any need to read instructions or consult reference material to find out how something works or what something means or what kind of information is available, then you are not in the target audience for this application.

  4. Persons who think all software should work like Google, where you just type in your question and a list of possible answers is returned.

  5. Persons who don't know (and don't want to learn) about right-clicking and doing a Save as to capture a file to their desktop.

  6. Persons who have never heard of the terms "Summary File" or "Summary Tables" and have no interest in doing so now.

  7. Persons who want pictures of their data, not just boring data files, and are not willing/able to take the data extracted by Dexter and display it using other software tools such as Arcview or Excel.

  8. Persons with no interest in demographic or socioeconomic data summarized for a wide array of geographic entities.

  9. Persons wanting access to detail about individual persons or households or businesses. Almost all of the data in our archive are aggregations for a geographic area (such a state, county, ZIP code or PUMA). The exceptions are the various PUMS files, but those are special cases.

  10. Persons wanting access to very large data collections in raw format so they can build their own data archives. While Dexter can and does provide users with access to very large data collections, it is not a good rsource for doing massive downloads.


First-time Uexplore/Dexter users should also read the What is Uexplore/Dexter? page and should at least be aware of the Dexter Quick Start Guide (which is linked to from the top of each Dexter query form).

Return to Uexplore/Dexter home page.


Rev. 9-29-14, jgb