Finance and Insurance


The Finance and Insurance sector (sector 52) comprises establishments of firms with payroll primarily engaged in financial transactions (transactions involving the creation, liquidation, or change in ownership of financial assets) and/or in facilitating financial transactions. Three principal types of activities are identified:

  1. Raising funds by taking deposits and/or issuing securities and, in the process, incurring liabilities. Establishments engaged in this activity use raised funds to acquire financial assets by making loans and/or purchasing securities. Putting themselves at risk, they channel funds from lenders to borrowers and transform or repackage the funds with respect to maturity, scale and risk. This activity is known as financial intermediation.
  2. Pooling of risk by underwriting insurance and annuities. Establishments engaged in this activity collect fees, insurance premiums, or annuity considerations; build up reserves; invest those reserves; and make contractual payments. Fees are based on the expected incidence of the insured risk and the expected return on investment.
  3. Providing specialized services facilitating or supporting financial intermediation, insurance, and employee benefit programs.

In addition, monetary authorities charged with monetary control are included in this sector.

The subsectors, industry groups, and industries within the Finance and Insurance sector are defined on the basis of their unique production processes. As with all industries, the production processes are distinguished by their use of specialized human resources and specialized physical capital. In addition, the way in which these establishments acquire and allocate financial capital, their source of funds, and the use of those funds provides a third basis for distinguishing characteristics of the production process. For instance, the production process in raising funds through deposit-taking is different from the process of raising funds in bond or money markets. The process of making loans to individuals also requires different production processes than does the creation of investment pools or the underwriting of securities.

Most of the Finance and Insurance subsectors contain one or more industry groups of (1) intermediaries with similar patterns of raising and using funds and (2) establishments engaged in activities that facilitate, or are otherwise related to, that type of financial or insurance intermediation. Industries within this sector are defined in terms of activities for which a production process can be specified, and many of these activities are not exclusive to a particular type of financial institution. To deal with the varied activities taking place within existing financial institutions, the approach is to split these institutions into components performing specialized services. This requires defining the units engaged in providing those services and developing procedures that allow for their delineation. For finance and insurance, these units are the equivalents of the establishments defined for other industries.

The output of many financial services, as well as the inputs and the processes by which they are combined, cannot be observed at a single location and can only be defined at a higher level of the organizational structure of the enterprise. Additionally, a number of independent activities that represent separate and distinct production processes may take place at a single location belonging to a multilocation financial firm. Activities are more likely to be homogeneous with respect to production characteristics than are locations, at least in financial services. NAICS defines activities broadly enough that it can be used by those classifying by location and by those employing a more top-down approach to the delineation of the establishment.

The Finance and Insurance sector has been defined to encompass establishments primarily engaged in financial transactions; that is, transactions involving the creation, liquidation, or change in ownership of financial assets or in facilitating financial transactions. Financial industries are extensive users of electronic means for facilitating the verification of financial balances, authorizing transactions, transferring funds to and from transactors' accounts, notifying banks (or credit card issuers) of the individual transactions, and providing daily summaries. Since these transaction processing activities are integral to the production of finance and insurance services, establishments that principally provide a financial transaction processing service are classified to this sector, rather than to the data processing industry in the Information sector.

Funds, trusts, and other financial vehicles (legal entities that hold portfolios of assets on behalf of others) are the fifth subsector of the Finance and Insurance sector. These entities earn interest, dividends, and other property income, but have little or no employment and no revenue from the sale of services. Separate establishments and employees devoted to the management of funds are classified in Industry Group 5239, Other Financial Investment Activities.

Among depository institutions and insurance carriers, many locations with activities that might in other industries be considered as support or auxiliary activities (such as headquarters operations), are included in this report as operating locations.

The reports described below exclude establishments of firms with no paid employees. These “nonemployers,” typically self-employed individuals or partnerships operating businesses that they have not chosen to incorporate, are reported separately in Nonemployer Statistics. The contribution of nonemployers, moderate for this sector, may be examined at

Definitions. Industry categories are defined in Appendix B, NAICS Codes, Titles, and Descriptions. Other terms are defined in Appendix A, Explanation of Terms.


The following reports provide statistics on this sector.

Industry Series. There are 10 reports, each covering a group of related industries. The reports present, by kind of business for the United States, general statistics for establishments of firms with payroll on number of establishments, revenue, payroll, and employment; comparative statistics for 2002 and 1997; product lines; and concentration of business activity in the largest firms. The data in industry reports are preliminary and subject to change in the following reports.

Geographic Area Series. There is a separate report for each state, the District of Columbia, and the United States. Each state report presents, for establishments of firms with payroll, general statistics on number of establishments, revenue, payroll, and employment by kind of business for the state and metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas. Greater kind-of-business detail is shown for larger areas. The United States report presents data for the United States as a whole for detailed kind-of-business classifications.

Subject Series:

Other reports. Data for this sector are also included in reports with multisector coverage, including Nonemployer Statistics, Comparative Statistics, Bridge Between 2002 NAICS and 1997 NAICS, Business Expenses, and the Survey of Business Owners reports.


The level of geographic detail varies by report. Maps are available at Notes specific to areas in the state are included in Appendix D, Geographic Notes. Data may be presented for –

  1. The United States as a whole.
  2. States and the District of Columbia.
  3. Metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas. A core based statistical area (CBSA) contains a core area with a substantial population nucleus, together with adjacent communities having a high degree of social and economic integration with that core. CBSAs are differentiated into metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas based on size criteria. Both metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas are defined in terms of entire counties, and are listed in Appendix E, Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas.
    1. Metropolitan Statistical Areas (metro areas). Metro areas have at least one urbanized area of 50,000 or more population, plus adjacent territory that has a high degree of social and economic integration with the core as measured by commuting ties.
    2. Micropolitan Statistical Areas (micro areas). Micro areas have at least one urban cluster of at least 10,000, but less than 50,000 population, plus adjacent territory that has a high degree of social and economic integration with the core as measured by commuting ties.
    3. Metropolitan Divisions (metro divisions). If specified criteria are met, a metro area containing a single core with a population of 2.5 million or more may be subdivided to form smaller groupings of counties referred to as Metropolitan Divisions.
    4. Combined Statistical Areas (combined areas). If specified criteria are met, adjacent metro and micro areas, in various combinations, may become the components of a new set of areas called Combined Statistical Areas. The areas that combine retain their own designations as metro or micro areas within the larger combined area.


All dollar values presented are expressed in current dollars; i.e., 2002 data are expressed in 2002 dollars, and 1997 data, in 1997 dollars. Consequently, when making comparisons with prior years, users of the data should consider the changes in prices that have occurred.

All dollar values are shown in thousands of dollars.


Both the 2002 Economic Census and the 1997 Economic Census present data based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). While there were revisions to some industries for 2002, none of those affect this sector.


All data compiled for this sector are subject to nonsampling errors. Nonsampling errors can be attributed to many sources: inability to identify all cases in the actual universe; definition and classification difficulties; differences in the interpretation of questions; errors in recording or coding the data obtained; and other errors of collection, response, coverage, processing, and estimation for missing or misreported data. Data presented in the Miscellaneous Subjects and Product Lines reports for this sector are subject to sampling errors, as well as nonsampling errors.

The accuracy of these tabulated data is determined by the joint effects of the various nonsampling errors or by the joint effects of sampling and nonsampling errors. No direct measurement of these effects has been obtained except for estimation for missing or misreported data, as by the percentages shown in the tables. Precautionary steps were taken in all phases of the collection, processing, and tabulation of the data in an effort to minimize the effects of nonsampling errors. More information on the reliability of the data is included in Appendix C, Methodology.


In accordance with federal law governing census reports (Title 13 of the United States Code), no data are published that would disclose the operations of an individual establishment or business. However, the number of establishments in a kind-of-business classification is not considered a disclosure; therefore, this information may be released even though other information is withheld. Techniques employed to limit disclosure are discussed at


The Census Bureau conducts the Service Annual Survey (SAS) each year. This survey, while providing more frequent observations, yields less kind-of-business and geographic detail than the economic census. In addition, the County Business Patterns program offers annual statistics on the number of establishments, employment, and payroll classified by industry within each county, and Statistics of U.S. Businesses provides annual statistics classified by the employment size of the enterprise, further classified by industry for the United States, and by broader categories for states and metropolitan areas.


Questions about these data may be directed to the U.S. Census Bureau, Service Sector Statistics Division, Utilities and Financial Census Branch, 1-800-541-8345 or


The following abbreviations and symbols are used with these data:

DWithheld to avoid disclosing data of individual companies; data are included in higher level totals
NNot available or not comparable
QRevenue not collected at this level of detail for multiestablishment firms
SWithheld because estimates did not meet publication standards
XNot applicable
ZLess than half the unit shown
a0 to 19 employees
b20 to 99 employees
c100 to 249 employees
e250 to 499 employees
f500 to 999 employees
g1,000 to 2,499 employees
h2,500 to 4,999 employees
i5,000 to 9,999 employees
j10,000 to 24,999 employees
k25,000 to 49,999 employees
l50,000 to 99,999 employees
m100,000 employees or more
Represents zero (page image/print only)
(CC)Consolidated city
(IC)Independent city
CDPCensus designated place