Economic Census of Island Areas

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About the Economic Census of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands


The Economic Census's main goal is to provide periodic comprehensive data about the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands' economic activity and structure. The United States Code, Title 13, authorizes this census and makes responding mandatory. The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) government assists with the census.


The census covers the following sectors as defined in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS):

21 Mining
22 Utilities
23 Construction
31-33 Manufacturing
42- Wholesale Trade
44-45 Retail Trade
48-49 Transportation and Warehousing
51 Information
52 Finance and Insurance
53 Real Estate and Rental and Leasing
54 Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
55 Management of Companies and Enterprises
56 Administrative and Support, Waste Management and Remediation Services
61 Educational Services
62 Health Care and Social Assistance
71 Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation
72 Accommodation and Food Services
81 Other Services (except Public Administration)

This scope is equivalent to that of the stateside economic census. The 2002 Economic Census was the first census conducted based on NAICS; prior censuses used the Standard Industrial Classification System.

Census forms are mailed to all establishments within the scope of the census that have annual payroll.


All establishments are required to provide data on total sales, receipts or revenue, kind of business, legal form of organization, employment, annual and first quarter payroll, and class of customer. Data are presented at the 3 or 4 digit NAICS level of detail depending on disclosure protection requirements. Data are also provided at the total island and municipality level of geography.

For 2012, the Census Bureau has added questions to aid in the calculation of the Gross Island Product estimates, which is the equivalent of the Gross Domestic Product.


The Economic Census is conducted every 5 years, currently taken for years ending in "2" and "7," coinciding with the stateside economic census. The first CNMI economic census was taken in 1983 for the 1982 census. Reported data are for activity taking place throughout the census year.


The census is conducted using the mailout/mail-back methodology. A Memorandum of Agreement between the Census Bureau and the CNMI Government outlines the conditions under which the census is conducted. The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Government provides input to the census content and helps with publicity.


Census products summarize data by kind of business for the CNMI and its municipalities. Tabulations include the number of establishments, sales, receipts or revenue, annual payroll, first quarter payroll, employment, fringe benefits, capital expenditures, depreciation charges, and other data. Tabulations also summarize basic information by industry and geographic area, by sales size category, by employment size category, by legal form of organization, and other dimensions. All of these tabulations are available through American FactFinder.


The Bureau of Economic Analysis will use the data from the Economic Census to calculate the Gross Island Product for 2012.

The CNMI government uses census data to assess business activities within their jurisdiction and to estimate the size and composition of economic sectors. The government uses estimates to benchmark and weight indexes of industrial production and productivity. The private sector uses the data to forecast general economic conditions.


The Economic Census provides the only comprehensive source of consistent and comparable economic data available for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau   |   Economic Census of Island Areas   |   (301) 763-3314 or Email  |  Last Revised: Thursday, 25-Oct-2012 16:09:48 EDT