Seeking 2000 Census unemployment data by U.S. county and race

Hi all,

I have had some trouble finding employment status by county and race/ethnicity breakdown for just the 2000 decennial Census. I don’t need to know any more detail about the status than “employed” or “unemployed” for the labor force population 16+. I have successfully found this data for 1980 and 1990 via NHGIS, but the lack of 2000 data and the trouble I’m having finding it anywhere (including makes me think there’s a reason it’s so hard to come by. Can anyone speak to this? TIA.


It’s a bit tricky to find this data for 2000, but it does exist. Here’s how to find it:

  1. Set the DATASETS filter to 2000_SF4
  2. Set the TOPICS filter to Labor Force and Employment Status
  3. There are 175 tables that match these filters
  4. You’ll want to find table NPCT079F. Population 16 years and over in the labor force by sex by age by employment status.
  5. Click the plus icon to add it to your cart.
  6. Click the green continue button to move onto the Data Options page
  7. Click the SELECT GEOGRAPHIC LEVELS to open the popup
  8. Click the checkbox next to County
  9. Click the Race/Ethnicity: 1 of 329 in the BREAKDOWNS column
  10. Click the checkboxes next to the race categories you’re interested in
  11. Click the SUBMIT button after you’re done selecting categories
  12. Click the green continue button in the data cart
  13. Finish your extract

You will now get counts in the NPCT079F. Population 16 years and over in the labor force by sex by age by employment status by the race categories you selected.

It looks like the Bureau published the employment status by race data in SF4 in 2000, which makes it challenging to find.

Dave Van Riper

THANK YOU this has been such a headache! Appreciate this a lot.

Hello again - I thought I’d piggyback on this earlier post of mine since I have a very similar question this time. I am seeking the same data set (2000 unemployment by US county) but broken down by educational attainment instead of race/ethnicity. I have searched using the instructions above and not been able to find anything outside of the 16-19 or 18-34 age ranges (I am looking for all ages 25+). My supervisor seems quite confident this data should exist somewhere for the 2000 census, but so far I’ve only been able to find it for the ACS 5 year series. Any recommendations? Or does this data legitimately not exist?

Thank you!

Hi Katya,

When I look on NHGIS, I find that the tables in 2000 Summary File 3 are limited to ages 16-19 and 18-34, just as you found. But I also see a few other relevant tables from the 2000 EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity) special tabulation…

It looks like the first two tables give counts for the “labor force” and the 2nd two give counts for “workers,” which suggests to me that you could divide the latter by the former to get employment rates. Unfortunately, these are broken down by race and ethnicity and by many occupations, so I think you’d have to select get all of these counts and sum up across all those categories to get a population total. And you’d probably also have to select just a few occupation categories at a time to avoid going over the NHGIS limit on request sizes. This would not be easy!

In short, it seems possible but quite difficult using data from NHGIS. I’m afraid I don’t know of other options. Using microdata from IPUMS USA could allow you generate your own cross-tabulations, but most counties are not identifiable in public use microdata, so I suspect that wouldn’t work for you either.

Got it, just as I had suspected. Thank you for following up anyway!