The purpose of this post is to demonstrate the ability to map census data in Tableau. I am at once both excited and disheartened about the United States census.gov website. I am excited because they do a great job of collecting the data - far better than many other countries, it seems. Disheartened because they then proceed to bury the data inside of massive amounts of excel files, with arcane naming conventions, master key lookup files, and what have you.
An ongoing project of mine will be to slowly amass this information into one unified view. This will exceed the capacity of Tableau Public, of course.
Anyway, the first step was to convert the FIPS codes as represented in shapefile format, to a valid polygon format that Tableau can understand. (This subject has been covered elsewhere in this blog as well as on the web). Notes: I provided Tableau with a copy of this polygon file, and you can download it here. FIPS code = US Counties. The Census download website is here. The income and poverty excel file is here. And the master key excel file is here.