About Social Explorer

Social Explorer provides quick and easy access to current and historical census data and demographic information. The easy-to-use web interface lets users create maps and reports to illustrate, analyze, and understand demography and social change. In addition to its comprehensive data resources, Social Explorer offers features and tools to meet the needs of demography experts and novices alike. From research libraries to classrooms to government agencies to corporations to the front page of the New York Times, Social Explorer helps the public engage with society and science.

Data Resources

  • Access current and historical demographic data with ease:
    • The entire US Census from 1790 to 2010.
    • The entire American Community Survey (ACS) from 2005 to 2012.
    • All annual updates from the American Community Survey.
    • InfoGroup data on religious congregations in the United States for 2009 and 2010, including maps for counties and special census areas, as well as point maps of the actual congregation locations.
    • The Religious Congregations and Membership Study (RCMS) from 1980 to 2010.
    • Carbon Emissions Data for 2002 from the Vulcan Project.
    • Social Explorer includes over 40 billion data elements, 500,000 variables, and more than 25,000 interactive maps. New datasets coming soon—stay tuned for details.
  • Stay current with the latest data from the US Census Bureau, which is added to the site as soon as it is released.
  • Browse full source documentation for all reports and maps, as well as the source and computation information for every variable.
  • Replace printed volumes spanning 22 decades of census surveys with easy-to-compare data all in one place and one format.

Tools & Features

  • Visualize data with customizable, user-friendly maps, allowing unparalleled exploration of demographic and social change, revealing the patterns buried in raw numbers.
  • Create thematic and interactive maps that explore all historical and modern US census data across the centuries and even down to street level detail (where available).
  • Locate geographies with the address find tool.
  • Export, save, and print maps and reports for professional-looking reports, presentations, and graphics. High-resolution images are available and any presentation can be exported directly to PowerPoint.
  • Create multi-map presentations with the interactive slideshow tool for in-depth comparisons and story-telling.
  • Graph and chart data with easy on-screen tools to investigate the data and communicate your findings.
  • Save projects in your personal MyExplorer account for archiving, collaboration, and more.
  • Share your creations in presentations and online. Maps can be shared through e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter, and embedded in websites.
  • Create data reports at all geographic levels, including state, county, census tract, block group, zip code, and census place (where the data exist).
  • Download data to a variety of file formats for use with your favorite statistical package. Our reports automatically calculate aggregates, percentages, inflation adjustments, and medians to save time and eliminate errors.
  • No software to install or maintain, making it hassle-free for librarians and users. The site works entirely on the web and provides many basic GIS and data manipulation functions.
  • An ideal teaching resource that employs an engaging visual approach to demographic information for courses across the social sciences, and trusted by Pearson Publishing as a leader in social science online learning.


Social Explorer was first conceived of in 1999 to break down the barriers to demographic visualization and large-scale data analysis. With support from the National Science Foundation and The New York Times, the Social Explorer team developed a sophisticated data system and a simple online interface to give users access to comprehensive data and interactive tools. Thanks to Social Explorer, demographic research that used to require a massive technical infrastructure and sophisticated software training to accomplish could now be done with a few simple clicks in a web browser. The site first launched in 2003 and became available by subscription in 2007. Social Explorer users from around the globe have created over 10 million maps since 2008.

In 2009, Social Explorer partnered with Pearson Education to create interactive mapping and reporting activities for 22 of the most popular university sociology textbooks. The following year, Social Explorer was named an "Outstanding Reference Source" by the Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association. (Social Explorer was the sole online-only research tool featured among the awardees.) The New York Times routinely cites Social Explorer data in news articles and relies on the website and team’s expertise to create maps and graphics. Social Explorer has also been featured in numerous media outlets, including WNYC New York Public Radio, New Hampshire Public Radio, Very Short List, Gotham Gazette, The Wall Street Journal, New York 1 TV, The Huffington Post, The Brooklyn Ink, and Italian and Swedish television.

Since 2010, Social Explorer has been distributed by Oxford University Press. Click here for more information about becoming a subscriber.

Building on years of data and technological experience, the Social Explorer team launched a new version of the site in 2013. Our upgraded map engine delivers dynamic visualizations with new levels of interactivity, customization, and speed. This new system also makes collaboration easier, and supports the infrastructure key to growing our data and tools well into the future.

Social Explorer is led by Andrew A. Beveridge, a Professor of Sociology at Queens College and the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School. Since 1993, he has served as a consultant to the New York Times on issues of demographic and social change, and frequently testifies as an expert witness on demographic patterns and analyses. In 2007, Beveridge received the American Sociological Association’s Public Understanding of Sociology Award in recognition of his efforts to bring social scientific perspectives to the public understanding of contemporary issues.

Key people

Andy gray
Andrew A. Beveridge
Co-Founder and CEO
Ahmed gray
Ahmed Lacevic
Co-Founder and CTO
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Fredrica Rudell
Vice President of Marketing
Susan gray
Susan Weber
Data Analyst for CUNY CAT Project
Sydney gray
Sydney Beveridge
Media and Content Editor

Sales contact information

Social Explorer is available by subscription to institutions, organizations and individuals worldwide. For organizations and institutions, prices are based on the size and type of organization. For individual, the price varies by length of subscription. Please contact us for more details.

North & South America

Customer Support -- Online Subscriptions
Oxford University Press
198 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016
Tel: 1.800.334.4249 ext 6484
Fax: 1.212.726.6467

Outside of North & South America

Online Products
Oxford University Press
Great Clarendon Street
Oxford OX2 6DP
Tel: +44 (0)1865 353705
Fax: +44 (0)1865 353308

Technical support contact information

For support or general questions please contact Social Explorer:

Main Number: (888) 636 - 1118
Research Dept.: (718) 997 - 2837
Fax: (888) 442 - 1117