Year of Entry, 1980, Census Tract Level

I am looking for year of entry data at the census tract level for 1980. I can find it for 1970, 1990, 2000, and in the ACS five year estimates, but it appears to be missing for 1980. This is strange because there is a year of entry question in the 1980 long form (question 12) and another site (mapusa) has data for 1980 on the percentage of people in a tract that immigrated in the last ten years. However, I’d prefer not to use the mapusa data because I am looking for the year of entry breakout (five year groups) that is available for other decades. If anyone can tell me how to obtain the 1980 data, or more on why it’s missing, I’d greatly appreciate it.

The Census Bureau provided 1980 year-of-entry data in 1980 Summary Tape File 4, which doesn’t include data for the “standard” census tract level (State–County–Census Tract). Instead, that dataset includes data for two “compound” census tract levels:

  • State–Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area–County–Census Tract/Block Numbering Area
  • State–Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area–County–Place–Census Tract/Block Numbering Area

The first of these is nearly identical to the standard census tract level except for a few cases where it splits tracts into separate parts in New England. (In New England, 1980 metro areas were town-based and not county-based, which results in a few 1980 tracts straddling metro area boundaries. This geographic level provides separate records for the parts of tracts that were in different metro areas.)

In the NHGIS Data Finder, you can find the 1980 Year of Immigration table if you select a “1980” year filter and the “Year of Entry” topic filter:

Add that to your cart, and then on the Options page, click on SELECT GEOGRAPHIC LEVELS and then click on SHOW COMPOUND GEOGRAPHIC LEVELS:

You’ll then be able to select one of the compound census tract levels.

What a great answer and so fast! I wasn’t aware of these compound geographic levels–this is helpful for other projects as well. Thanks very much, I really appreciate it!