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Census Data: Schedules & Geogrpahies


Census Data:

  • Decennial Census - Data is collected every 10 years which provides an official count of the U.S. population and housing. This data impacts the amount of federal funds given to the geographies within in each state. Census Day is April 1 on years ending in 0.
  • Economic Census - Data collected every 5 years (years ending 2 and 7). The census provides information on the state of business and economy through industry revenues. This is a mandatory survey for businesses who receive the forms.
  • Census of Governments - Data collected every five years since 1957, for years ending in "2" and "7." Data are obtained about how governments are organized, how many people they employ and payroll amounts, and the finances of governments.  Coverage:
    • counties
    • cities
    • townships
    • special districts (such as water districts, fire districts, library districts, mosquito abatement districts, and so on)
    • school districts

Survey Data:

  • American Community Survey - Data is collected yearly with samples of 295,000 addresses each month which equals 3.5 million households each year. This survey provides sample estimates about jobs, occupations, education, veteran’s, and housing.
  • Commodity Flow Survey - Data is collected every 5 years (years ending in 2 and 7). This survey provides data on commodities shipped (where the items came from and where they went). It is mandatory for those asked to participate and results impact policy planners in the US DOT.
  • American Housing Survey - Data is collected every other year (odd numbered years). This survey monitors supply and demand of housing as well as cost and conditions. HUD uses this information.




CPD - (Census Designated Places)
  • Census counterpart of an incorporated place - separate from cities and towns
  • Unincorporated places are given boundaries; no size threshold
  • boundaries change every census
  • Developed in 1910 – began in cities at the urging of the Federation of Churches
  • Always follow county boundary but only sometimes follow municipal boundaries
  • Tract has about 4,000 people living within it – if it doubles in population size it will be split in half
    • labeled with the initial tract number, for example 03 and .nn will be added like 03.01, etc.. this allows you to see the changes that have happened in that area over time
Block Group
  • 600 to 3,000 population
  • 240 to 1,200 housing units
Census Block
  • Blocks are not defined by population
  • smallest geographic level at which data are ever released (Decennial Census, not the ACS)




ZTCA (Zip Code Tabulation Area):
  • Census does not produce population data at Zip Code level but to ZTCA’s          
  • Simulation of a zip code – given boundary areas (ZTCA’s) will have more of one zip code  than another (example 700 of 87505 and 200 of 87507 in given boundary area)

NOTE: There are some people living in one community but receiving mail in another zip code because there are no mail services in their area so ZIP CODE information is not as useful as the ZTCA when looking at populations of given areas.