Create Custom Variable

The Create Custom Variable workflow allows you to create a new list of variables. This can be useful if you need a specific type, range or combination of data. You can use the popular categories such as age, household income or create a custom complex variable using the operators in Advanced Options.

Custom variables can be accessed under Saved variables in the Data Browser.

Click Create custom variable.

Create a custom variable.

The Create Custom Variable dialog box appears.

Create Custom Variable dialog

You can create a custom variable by age, household income, other popular variables or use advanced options. Custom variables can be created in Color-Coded Maps and Smart Map Search.

Note:

Consider these factors when creating custom variables.

  1. Some variables are not available for creating custom variables; this includes ACS data variables for all 50 US states and the District of Columbia.
  2. ACS data variables for Puerto Rico are available for creating custom variables.
    Caution: Margins of error for these ACS variables will be dropped when they are used to create custom variables.
  3. Certain custom variables may not be statistically accurate—for example, combining adult and household based variables or applying the AVG (average) operator to median variables.

Age variable

You can create a custom age variable from options based on a selected age range.

  1. In the Create Custom Variable dialog box, click Age variable.
  2. Choose the year of the data.
  3. Move the sliders to select the age range.
  4. Select the gender.
  5. If using Color-Coded Map, click Save & Add. If using Smart Map Search, click Add.

    The Save Custom Variable dialog box opens, with a name for your custom variable pre-populated based on your selections. This name can be edited. Click Save to save the custom variable.

    Save Custom Variable dialog

Household income variable

You can create a custom household income variable from options based on a selected household income range.

  1. In the Create Custom Variable dialog box, click Household Income variable.
  2. Choose the year of the data.
  3. Move the sliders to select the household income range.
  4. If using Color-Coded Map, click Save & Add. If using Smart Map Search, click Add.

    The Save Custom Variable dialog box opens, with a name for your custom variable pre-populated based on your selections. This name can be edited. Click Save to save the custom variable.

Other popular variables

You can create a variable with a custom range.

  1. In the Create Custom Variable dialog box, click Other popular variables.
  2. Click the category you want to use.
  3. Use the options to set the range. The options may be check boxes or sliders depending on your selection.
  4. If using Color-Coded Map, click Save & Add. If using Smart Map Search, click Add.

    The Save Custom Variable dialog box opens, with a name for your custom variable pre-populated based on your selections. This name can be edited. Click Save to save the custom variable.

Advanced custom variable

You can create a custom variable using Advanced custom variable. Select the variables from different categories and use the operators to create your own custom variable. The operators give you flexibility in variable creation. For example, you can create a variable for household incomes ranging from $25,000 to $49,999. Once created, the custom variable can be saved in the saved list for future use.

Save and add variables.

  1. You can search for variables by entering a variable in the Search all variables text box
    Search all variables
    or select the variable using the categories.

    If you used the Web Map and Layers workflow to add web maps or layers with variables, you can use those variables when creating custom variables. Under Map Layers, the variables from web maps or layers that are currently loaded on the map will be available. To use the variables from an added web map or layer, you will need to load it on the map from the project panel.

    Map Layers
    Note:

    If no web map or layer with variables is currently loaded on the map, the Map Layers button will not be available.

  2. Choose an operator for customization.
  3. Continue this process until you've created the custom variable.
  4. Type the variable name in the Save the custom variable text box.
  5. If using Color-Coded Map, click Save & Add. If using Smart Map Search, click Add.

Operators

Use the operators to construct your custom variable. The available operators include:

  • Standard mathematical operators: + - * / % ^ ( )
  • Add Number—use a constant number in your custom variable calculation. For example, if you want to multiply a variable by 2, use this operator to enter the number 2 in the calculation.
    Multiple variable
  • Add Sum—calculate the sum of multiple variables. For example, there is no variable for the number of households with income from $25,000 to $49,999. You can use this operator to sum two other available variables to create a custom variable for that value.
    Sum formula
  • Add Average—calculate the average of multiple variables, to use in your custom variable calculation.

Once you've created your custom variable, you need to create a name and save the variable. This custom variable will also appear in the saved list.

  1. Once you've created your custom variable, type the variable name in the Save Custom Variable dialog.
    Save Custom Variable dialog
  2. Click Save to save the custom variable.
  3. If using Color-Coded Map, click Save & Add. If using Smart Map Search, click Add.
  4. The values for your variable appear on the map.

    To access your saved custom variables, click the Saved Custom Variables drop-down menu.

    Saved list