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Data Dashboard FAQs



Q: Where does the data for this Dashboard come from?

A: From Marquette County residents like you, by way of the U.S. Census Bureau. The data publication wing of the Bureau is the American Community Survey, which maintains a website for all U.S. Census data since the 2000 U.S. Census, and creates 1-Year and 5-Year American Community Survey (ACS) Estimates for counties and municipalities in all 50 states and several U.S. territories. Because annual ACS data is based on sampling (rather than the person-by-person counting method used in the decennial U.S. Census), it generally has a higher margin of error than Census data. However, 5-Year ACS Estimates, which combine 5 consecutive years of ACS data, approach the very low margin of error of U.S. Census data. For this reason, 5-Year ACS Estimates from 2020 (the most recent year available as of early 2022) are used wherever possible in the Dashboard. If you download the Dashboard data (see “How To Use This Dashboard” for instructions), there are links to the ACS data table which was used for each part of the Dashboard.


Q: Will this Dashboard be updated?

A: Yes, this Dashboard will be updated every year using the most recent U.S. Census and/or American Community Survey data. The most recent update occurred in early 2022 and utilizes the most recent 5-Year ACS Estimates from 2020. You can still view and compare the 2019 Dashboard which is comprised of 2019 ACS data.


Q: How can I highlight data by region?

A: Above the map on each tab of the dashboard, there is a legend showing the color and name of

each region. Click on the region name or the colored square. That region’s data will be highlighted throughout that tab. To remove highlighting, simply click on the region name or colored square again, or click the “Reset” button in the lower right corner of the Dashboard tab.





Q: Does the regional data in the Employment tab represent the people who work in that region or the people who live in that region?

A: Employment tab data represents the people who live in that region, NOT the people who work in that region. For instance, Moose Hills has 303 residents who work in the “Health care and social assistance” industry, even though there are far fewer than 303 jobs in that industry in Moose Hills. Most of these workers commute into other regions for work, most likely Borealis Beach and Iron Core (the locations of Marquette County’s hospitals). However, health care is still of great economic importance to Moose Hills as the region’s largest industry by employment.


Q: Who is represented in the Employment tab?

A: For simplicity’s sake, we have only included year-round, full-time workers. The U. S. Census Bureau does keep statistics on seasonal and part-time workers, which we may display at a later date.


Q: Where do the industries in the Employment tab come from?

A: The Employment tab is based on American Community Survey (ACS) data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The ACS includes employment data on 20 different Census-designated industries, which are based on the 2017 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). It is important to note that one employer may employ workers in multiple industries. For instance, Cliffs Natural Resources, the second-largest employer in Marquette County after UP Health System, employs nearly 1,000 Marquette County residents. Hundreds of these employees work in the “Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction” industry, but Cliffs also employs support staff in many other employment industries: clerical staff in the “Administrative, support, and waste management services” industry, truck drivers in the “Transportation and warehousing” industry, executives in the “Management of companies and enterprises” industry, engineers in the “Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services” industry, etc. Most people would simply say that all Cliffs employees work in “the mining industry,” but the Census Bureau defines employment by industry NOT based on an employee’s employer, but on the task that that employee performs for their employer. For more information, see the Census Bureau’s classification document: 





Q: In the Housing tab, what is the definition of “Vacant”?

A: The U.S. Census Bureau defines any residential home which is not occupied full-time as being “vacant.” In Marquette County, where there is a large and increasing number of “camps,” short-term rentals, and seasonal homes, this can lead to an unusually large percentage of homes being counted as “vacant.” When viewing the “Housing Unit Type” table on the Housing tab, it is important to keep in mind that the number of “Vacant housing units” includes camps and seasonal homes. In reality, the number of truly vacant housing units in each region is much lower once part-time and seasonal homes are excluded. This is discussed in further detail in the Master Plan itself, and accurate vacancy rates are provided in the Planning Region Dashboards available at


Q: Do rental statistics in the Housing tab include short-term rentals or VRBOs?

A: No, rental statistics only include long-term, full-time rentals.


Q: In the Housing tab, what does “Property value” include and not include? For instance, does this include apartment complexes or condominiums?

A: This data incudes all residential properties, including apartment complexes and condominiums. Apartment buildings are counted as a single property in this data, while condominiums are counted as individual properties because they are separately and individually owned.


Q: What is the definition of a “Non-family household” in the Housing tab?

A: A Non-family household is a household which does not contain any individuals who are related by blood or marriage. Non-family households are divided into two types on the Housing tab – those which contain a single individual living alone, and those which contain two or more unrelated individuals living in the same household. Non-family households in this second category are usually composed of unrelated roommates – you can see this reflected in the data, with Borealis Beach having far more non-family households with the householder not living alone than other regions, mostly likely due to the large populations of students and young professionals in Borealis Beach.

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