One of the things that makes AGS so unique as a provider of demographics is our considerable library of historical census data, all on current boundaries. The primary difficulty with temporal analysis of census data is that the geographic “containers” change regularly, making analysis even at the county level difficult because of the successive changes over time. Most of the major census tables are available back to 1990, with selected tables back to the first electronically available census of 1970.

Interested in changing commuting patterns? Or the geographic distribution of wealth in a region? Changes in racial composition and diversity? AGS can provide a wealth of consistently defined data covering topics related to population and household characteristics, labor force and commuting patterns, and housing characteristics.

Manufacturing Employment 1990

Manufacturing Employment 2010

Today we look at the changes in manufacturing employment from 1990 to 2010. We all know that manufacturing employment has declined dramatically nationwide because of both industrial automation and offshoring. In those states that were traditionally tied to the automobile industry – Michigan, Ohio, Indiana – manufacturing jobs have been lost to automation and foreign competition. In the southern states, many jobs have simply been offshored – especially in the once dominant textile industry. It is easy to forget that we remain the second largest manufacturing country in the world as the declines have reached deeply into the fabric and economic viability of many areas of our industrial heartland.

Recently, SitesUSA shared a map series showing the changes in median income in Dallas from 1970 to present day using this valuable dataset. If you missed it, see their post on LinkedIn.

While many tend to overlook historical patterns to focus on the current environment, a long term view can actually provide unique and valuable insights into our ever changing landscape, even helping current decision making on where and who you should be targeting your efforts.