What is NHGIS? What does it provide?
If you have a question, there is a good chance you will find the answer here.
NHGIS offers a wide range of content, covering over 220 years, varying geographic levels, and a range of demographic, social, agricultural, economic and housing-related topics.
Both first-time and seasoned users can benefit from the Using the NHGIS Data Finder guide and other tutorial documents that are available.
NHGIS provides shapefiles that can be opened in nearly all GIS software packages. This includes Esri ArcGIS along with many other for-purchase and open source software. An alternative to using a GIS is Social Explorer, a website that enables basic online mapping and analysis of a large portion of NHGIS content.