How To Use The Tool

To get started, enter the name of a “State,” “County/City/Town,” or “ZIP Code” in the “Location” field above the map. Highlight the geography you wish to view and click “Submit.” This action will display your area of interest outlined in orange and allow you to generate a report for that area.

Next, select one of the options under “Add Data” to the left of the map. 

Once your data layer is selected, you can use the tool the following ways:

  • Zoom and Pan on the Map—Using your mouse, you can zoom into the map to see neighborhood-level data, zoom out to see regional or national views, and pan around to see other locations.
  • Click to Identify—You can click on any shaded area of the map to find the exact value for that location. This is called the "Click to Identify” bubble. The bubble will also show you the values for the larger geographies in which the shaded area sits. Click “Submit” to return your selected geography.
  • Legend—The legend on the right side of the map shows you the values for each range on the map. A good rule is that the darker the color, the higher concentration or value of the shaded area.
  • Change the Year—Click on “Edit Data.” In the legend, you may be able to change the time period of the data you are viewing. If additional time periods are available, just click on one of them. You may be able to toggle between years, quarters, or months.
  • Change the Variable—Click on “Edit Data.” In the legend, you may also be able to change the variable on the map. Generally, you can toggle between the number (#) or count related to a data layer, to a median ($) value, or to a percent (%) of the data layer. Depending on the data being viewed, you may have other variable options in the legend as well.

You can also generate reports that include tables and charts for the selected geography by clicking on the “Get Report” button. Selecting a larger geography, such as a county instead of a zip code, may result in a more comprehensive report. You can save and share your report. Note that all the data indicators that are displayed by the map are included in the narrative report. See comparison chart of data indicators for details.

Need help? The Research Your Community Tool was developed by PolicyMap. If you have questions about this tool and would like to speak with someone by telephone, please call 1-866-923-MAPS (6277). We are available to assist you between 9:00 AM and 5:30 PM Eastern Time.  If you would like to submit a question by email, contact