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Census Data for Urban Studies (Online)

February 27 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm


This course is being offered in collaboration between the Odum Institute and the Center for Urban & Regional Studies.

This one day course will be offered via Zoom. Attendance is required as the course will not be recorded.

In the past, working with US Census data in its various forms required gathering the data from numerous locations and using multiple software packages to process, analyze, and visualize it. Fortunately, recent improvements in census data delivery systems have made it far easier to acquire the data, greatly reducing the startup costs for people interested in working with the data. Additionally, new tools such as the tidycensus library in the R programming language offer a streamlined environment for acquiring, processing, and analyzing the census data products.

This one-day workshop will provide a hands-on, guided introduction to working with US Census data using tidycensus in R. The course will focus on using geographically-referenced demographic and socioeconomic data from the decennial census and American Community Survey (ACS). Participants will learn how to acquire data, perform basic data preprocessing tasks (e.g., subset, query, join), create basic visualizations (e.g., maps, plots, and graphs), and perform basic spatial and statistical analysis (e.g., correlation). Some experience with coding (particularly in R) is strongly recommended. Prior to the course, participants are required to have a working version of R (or RStudio) with the tidycensus library library installed. Participants are also required to register for a Census API Key.

Instructor: Paul Delameter

Paul L. Delamater is interested in the geographic aspects of health outcomes and behaviors, as well as health care access and utilization. He uses methods that employ geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial analysis to better understand population health issues. His recent research has focused on understanding childhood vaccination, herd immunity, and vaccine-preventable diseases in the US.

Dr. Paul Delamater holds a BS in Geography from Central Michigan University, an MA in Geography from Michigan State University, and a PhD in Geography (with an emphasis in Health and Medical Geography) from Michigan State University. Dr. Delamater was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Geoinformation Science at George Mason University before joining UNC in 2017 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography. He is also a Faculty Fellow at the Sheps Center for Health Services Research.

Dr. Delamater has particular interest in research and teaching relating to spatial components of health care access and utilization as well as disease modeling. He uses methods that employ geographic information systems (GIS) and statistical/spatial analysis to better understand population health issues. His recent research has focused on understanding childhood vaccination, herd immunity, and vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States. Another active area of Dr. Delamater’s research centers on access to health care services, with a focus on integrating evidence-based approaches in health care planning and regulation activities. He also has interests in the development of geographic-based methods and techniques to address data limitations and for support evidence-based decision-making. For nearly a decade, he has provided scientific support to Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services and Michigan’s Certificate of Need Commission during modifications of the state’s policies governing access to and the availability of health care services. Dr. Delamater teaches courses in health and medical geography, the geography of health care services, public health applications of GIS, and geographic information and spatial data science.

Registration fees:

  • UNC Chapel Hill Students: $0, with a $35 deposit to hold your spot (deposit is refundable upon your attendance for at least 66% of the course)
  • UNC Chapel Hill Faculty/Staff/Postdoc/Resident/Visiting Scholars: $80
  • Non-UNC Chapel Hill University Student/Employee (must have active university email): $105
  • Government/Non-Profit/Corporate: $130

Additional course information:

  • Registration will close at 12:01am 2/24/2024. No late registrations will be accepted.
  • Cancellation/ Refund Policy: A full refund will be given to those who cancel their registration no later than 10 days prior to the course. If you cancel within the 10 days prior to the class, no refund will be given. Please allow 30 days to receive your refund.
  • Zoom link for those attending online will be sent prior to the course. Registration must be made at least 3 days prior to the course date to receive the Zoom link.


For questions regarding this class, please contact Jill Stevens at


February 27
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Event Category:


NC United States