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County Business Patterns has been produced as a consistent, annual series since 1964 and ZIP Code Business Patterns since 1994. Printed reports were published annually through 2004 and at irregular intervals dating back to 1946. Printed volumes in major depository libraries are the only forms in which data are available prior to 1986.
Given the ease of accessing this data via the Internet through American FactFinder or .csv files the Census Bureau no longer produces data disks or publications for the County Business Patterns series. Complete County Business Patterns series data are available on disc (CD-ROM/DVD-ROM) for 1986-2004. These data discs include software for creating County Business Patterns data files compatible with popular database and spreadsheet software. You can order County Business Patterns data disks from the Census Catalog.
ZIP Code Business Patterns data are available on data disks for 1994-2004. You can also order ZBP data disks from the Census Catalog.
To order by phone, contact the Census Bureau's Marketing Services Office at 301-763-INFO (4636).
The comparability of data over time may be affected by changes in industry classifications, definitions of establishments, establishment’s active status, and/or changes to geographic boundaries (actual or statistically-defined areas).
Since 1998, County Business Patterns has been tabulated based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Data were tabulated according to the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) System for prior periods. For more information on the SIC system, see the SIC Information Page.
Prior to 2012, County Business Patterns lagged by one year in the adoption of the classification system employed in the Economic Census. Starting in 2012, the classification system was changed in the same year.
Classification changes and the realignment of industries introduced in the 2012 County Business Patterns are explained in this update.
For Puerto Rico County Business Patterns data, the change from SIC to NAICS occurred in 2003.
For details, refer to the description of the correspondence between the SIC system and the 1997 NAICS.
Classification changes introduced in the 2003 County Business Patterns are explored in detail in the Bridge Between 2002 NAICS and 1997 NAICS.
Classification changes introduced in the 1998 County Business Patterns are explored in detail in the Bridge Between NAICS and SIC.
In the 1998 - 2002 County Business Patterns publications, corporate, subsidiary, and regional managing offices were tabulated in NAICS Sector 55. All other auxiliaries were tabulated in NAICS 95. Starting with the 2003 County Business Patterns publication, corporate, subsidiary, and regional managing offices are still published in NAICS Sector 55, but the other auxiliaries are tabulated in the industry of the service performed. The other auxiliaries were coded into ten separate NAICS classifications listed in the auxiliary section of the 1997 Bridge Between NAICS and SIC [PDF].
In 1997 and earlier County Business Patterns data series based on SIC classification, auxiliary establishments were similarly excluded from SIC categories, but were reported as a separate data line for those counties where they were present.
Definitions and coverage differences may affect the direct comparison of Economic Census and County Business Patterns data. See Definitions for an explanation of the data items contained in County Business Patterns.
The Economic Census generally uses respondent reported data. County Business Patterns uses a combination of reported Company Organization Survey data and administrative records data. Although efforts are made to resolve significant differences in the data, differences are known to exist. See How the Data are Collected for further information on how the County Business Patterns data are produced.
Some large companies report different activities at the same location as separate profit centers. The County Business Patterns program treats each profit center as a separate establishment. The Economic Census reporting may combine the profit centers into one establishment. This results in establishment count differences due to differences in how the data are collected.
Counties: County boundary changes may occur between each publication year; however these changes are implemented in batch once every 5 years. Such changes are detailed in the following page: Substantial Changes to Counties and County Equivalent Entities: 1970-Present. This is primarily done to maintain data consistency and comparability over time.
Metropolitan and Micropolitan Areas: Metropolitan areas are redefined after each population census and new criteria are generally introduced at that point. Most metropolitan areas tabulated in CBP for 2007-2008, those defined as of November 2007, had at least some boundary changes relative to the areas tabulated in 2006 and prior years. Lists of counties that comprise each metropolitan area as of different time periods can be accessed here.
Micropolitan areas were first defined in 2003 therefore data are not available for prior years. In 2002 and earlier years, CBP data were published for New England County Metropolitan Areas rather than for MSA's in CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, and VT.
ZIP Codes: ZIP codes are defined at the discretion of the U.S. Postal Service and may change from time to time.
Prior to 1974, there were certain variations in County Business Patterns data collected:
For frequently asked questions (FAQs) visit Ask.Census.Gov or click the FAQs tab at the top of the screen. This link will open a new page within this window. Enter 'CBP' or 'County Business Patterns' into the search box to narrow the results.
For more information, contact the County Business Patterns staff at (301)763-2580 or by email.