[Federal Register: February 13, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 30)]
[Page 8269-8273]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Bureau of the Census

[Docket Number 070104002-7796-02]

Census Designated Place (CDP) Program for the 2010 Census--Final 

AGENCY: Bureau of the Census, Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of final criteria and program implementation.


SUMMARY: This Notice announces the Bureau of the Census' (Census 
Bureau's) final criteria for defining census designated places (CDPs) 
for the 2010 Census. CDPs\1\ are statistical geographic entities 
representing closely settled, unincorporated communities that are 
locally recognized and identified by name. They are the statistical 
equivalents of incorporated places, with the primary differences being 
the lack of both a legally-defined boundary and an active, functioning 
governmental structure, chartered by the state and administered by 
elected officials. CDPs defined for the 2010 Census also will be used 
to tabulate American Community Survey, Puerto Rico Community Survey, 
Economic Census data after 2010, and potentially data from other Census 
Bureau censuses and surveys.

    \1\ The term CDP includes comunidades and zonas urbanas in 
Puerto Rico.

    In addition to providing final criteria for CDPs, this Notice also 
contains a summary of comments received in response to proposed 
criteria published in the April 6, 2007, Federal Register (72 FR 
17326), as well as the Census Bureau's response to those comments.

DATES: This notice's final criteria will be effective on February 13, 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The Geographic Standards and Criteria 
Branch, Geography Division, U.S. Census Bureau, via e-mail at 
geo.psap.list@census.gov or telephone at 301-763-3056.


I. Background

    The CDP concept and delineation criteria have evolved over the past 
five decades in response to data user needs for place-level data. This 
evolution has taken into account differences in the way in which places 
were perceived, and the propensity for places to incorporate in various 
states. The result, over time, has been an increase in the number and 
types of unincorporated communities identified as CDPs, as well as 
increasing consistency in the relationship between the CDP concept

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and the kinds of places encompassed by the incorporated place category, 
or a compromise between localized perceptions of place and a concept 
that would be familiar to data users throughout the United States, 
Puerto Rico, and the Island Areas.
    Although not as numerous as incorporated places or 
municipalities,\2\ CDPs have been important geographic entities since 
their introduction for the 1950 Census. (CDPs were referred to as 
``unincorporated places'' from 1950 through the 1970 decennial 
censuses.) For the 1950 Census, CDPs were defined only outside 
urbanized areas and were required to have at least 1,000 residents. For 
the 1960 Census, CDPs could also be identified inside urbanized areas 
outside of New England, but these were required to have at least 10,000 
residents. The Census Bureau modified the population threshold within 
urbanized areas to 5,000 in 1970, allowed for CDPs in urbanized areas 
in New England in 1980, and lowered the urbanized area threshold again 
to 2,500 in 1990. In time, other population thresholds were adopted for 
identification of CDPs in Alaska, as well as in Puerto Rico, the Island 
Areas, and on American Indian reservations. The Census Bureau 
eliminated all population threshold requirements for Census 2000, 
achieving consistency between CDPs and incorporated places, for which 
the Census Bureau historically has published data without regard to 
population size.

    \2\ Known by various terms throughout the United States: cities, 
towns (except in the six New England States, New York, and 
Wisconsin), villages, and boroughs (except in New York and Alaska).

    According to Census 2000, more than 35 million people in the United 
States,\3\ Puerto Rico, and the Island Areas \4\ lived in CDPs. The 
relative importance of CDPs varies from state-to-state depending on 
laws governing municipal incorporation and annexation, but also 
depending on local preferences and attitudes regarding the 
identification of places.

    \3\ For Census Bureau purposes, the United States includes the 
fifty states and the District of Columbia.
    \4\ For Census Bureau purposes, the Island Areas includes the 
U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the 
Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam. There are no CDPs in American 
Samoa because villages cover its entire territory and population.

II. Summary of Comments Received in Response to Proposed Criteria

    The April 6, 2007, Federal Register (72 FR 17326) notice requested 
comment on proposed criteria for CDPs. Specific proposed changes to the 
Census 2000 included:
     Requiring each CDP to contain, at a minimum, some 
population or housing;
     Eliminating the ability to delineate CDPs that were 
coextensive with governmental minor civil divisions (MCDs) in the six 
New England States, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, 
Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin;
     Eliminating the use of hyphenated names for CDPs, except 
in situations in which two or more communities have grown together and 
share a common identity.
    The Census Bureau received ten comments related to CDPs. Two 
commenters expressed general support for the proposed criteria. Two 
commenters (both from townships in New Jersey) opposed elimination of 
CDPs. It was unclear from their comments whether they mistook the 
Census Bureau's question regarding continued identification of census 
county divisions as applying to CDPs, or whether their comments were 
offered in response to a separate inquiry from a township in New Jersey 
to treat townships as places within the Census Bureau's geographic area 
hierarchy. Treatment of townships as places would result in the 
elimination of small CDPs defined to represent closely settled 
communities within townships. Due to the lack of information, the 
Census Bureau did not make any changes to the criteria.
    The Nevada State Demographers' office commented on the 
characterization of CDPs as unincorporated communities lacking legally 
described boundaries, noting that many CDPs in Nevada are designated as 
``special taxation areas'' and as such have legally described 
boundaries.\5\ Nevertheless, the Census Bureau notes that Nevada's CDPs 
are not incorporated as municipalities in the same sense as cities in 
that state, and therefore it is still appropriate to identify Nevada's 
special taxation areas as CDPs. The Census Bureau will attempt to 
provide greater detail in its documentation and geographic attributes 
describing the various kinds of communities identified as CDPs.

    \5\ CDPs in Hawaii and zonas urbanas in Puerto Rico also have 
legally described boundaries.

    The Census Bureau received two comments related specifically to the 
proposal to reduce the number of instances in which places were 
combined to form a single CDP and related use of hyphenated names. Both 
commenters were from California, and each noted the negative impact 
this proposed criterion might have on the accurate depiction of 
unincorporated communities in California. Both agreed with the 
criterion in principle, but requested that the Census Bureau clarify 
when it is acceptable for multiple communities to be defined as a 
single CDP (for instance, when two communities have grown together to 
the extent that it is difficult to discern where one ends and the other 
begins) and when it is not. The example of Arden-Arcade, California, 
was cited, noting that the identities of these once separate places 
have become so intertwined that it is more common to hear them referred 
to together, rather than apart. The Census Bureau agrees with this 
comment and will clarify in both published criteria and program 
guidelines when it is acceptable for multiple communities to be defined 
as a single CDP. Multiple communities may only be combined to form a 
single CDP when the identities of these communities have become so 
intertwined that the communities are commonly perceived and referenced 
as a single place, or when there is no distinguishable or suitable 
feature in the landscape that can be used as a boundary between the 
    The Census Bureau received three comments related to the proposal 
to no longer allow CDPs in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, 
Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode 
Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin to be defined as coextensive with 
governmentally active MCDs. Each of the three commenters had extensive 
experience working with and analyzing statistical data for places, 
MCDs, and other census geographic areas. One of the commenters 
supported the proposal. Two of the commenters did not support the 
proposal, noting that CDPs that are coextensive with governmentally 
active MCDs represent a relatively small proportion of all CDPs and 
MCDs; therefore, the creation of coextensive, ``whole-town'' CDPs does 
not represent a substantial problem. Both commenters noted that since 
``place'' is in general a rather nuanced concept, with different 
meanings to different people, the Census Bureau should not be overly 
restrictive in how it applies its CDP concept in areas of the United 
States, such as the Northeast and Midwest in which residents commonly 
perceive MCDs to be places in the same sense that residents of other 
parts of the country use the term ``place.'' They concluded that if the 
goal of the proposal was to eliminate redundancy in place-based data 
tables for these 12 states, then that goal could be accomplished within 
the data tabulation program without requiring

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modifications to geographic area criteria. The Census Bureau agrees 
that the elimination of redundant data should be accomplished through 
changes in the way in which place-level data tables are prepared rather 
than through changes to the CDP criteria. Therefore, the Census Bureau 
will review the way in which it presents data for places and MCDs in 
the states listed above, and seek to eliminate redundancy in place-
level data tables through changes in data tabulation policy and 

Changes to the Criteria From the Proposed Rule

    The changes made to the final criteria (from the proposed criteria) 
in ``Section II, Census Designated Place Criteria and Characteristics 
for the 2010 Census,'' are as follows:
    1. Section II, ``Census Designated Place Criteria and 
Characteristics for the 2010 Census,'' in the introductory paragraph to 
this section, removed the reference to American Indian reservations and 
off-reservation trust lands in the first sentence because these areas 
are, by definition, within the United States.
    2. Section II, ``Census Designated Place Criteria and 
Characteristics for the 2010 Census,'' added a second paragraph to 
subsection 1, in response to comments received to clarify the 
circumstances under which it would be appropriate to combine multiple 
places to form a single CDP with a hyphenated name. This paragraph 
provides specific examples of CDPs that encompass multiple communities 
and are appropriately identified with a hyphenated name. We also have 
provided several questions for program participants to consider when 
determining whether to combine multiple communities as a single CDP and 
how to identify the CDP by name.
    3. Section II, ``Census Designated Place Criteria and 
Characteristics for the 2010 Census,'' subsection 4. The Census Bureau 
deleted the criterion in subsection 4 of the proposed criteria, stating 
that a CDP may not be coextensive with governmentally functioning MCDs 
in the 12 ``strong-MCD'' states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, 
Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, 
Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin. The goal of this proposal was to 
eliminate redundancy in selected place-level data tables for these 
states, in which data appear for both the MCD and the coextensive CDP 
of the same name (for example, Framingham, Massachusetts MCD and 
Framingham CDP). While this practice occasionally creates confusion on 
the part of some data users, the number of CDPs that are coextensive 
with governmentally active MCDs represents a relatively small 
proportion of all CDPs and MCDs in these states. Further, the concept 
of ``place'' is nuanced and varies to some extent from one part of the 
country to another, and there are instances in which residents of an 
MCD identify it as a place, in the same sense as places are recognized 
throughout the country. Rather than adopt a restrictive criterion 
applicable to only a subset of states, we agreed with the commenters 
and concluded that the elimination of redundant data could be 
accomplished through changes in the way in which place-level data 
tables are prepared rather than through changes to the CDP criteria.

III. Census Designated Place Criteria and Characteristics for the 2010 

    The criteria contained herein apply to the United States, Puerto 
Rico, and the Island Areas. In accordance with the final criteria, the 
Census Bureau may modify and, if necessary, reject any proposals for 
CDPs that do not meet the established criteria. In addition, the Census 
Bureau reserves the right to modify the boundaries and attributes of 
CDPs as needed to maintain geographic relationships before the final 
tabulation geography is set for the 2010 Census.
    The Census Bureau will use the following criteria and 
characteristics to identify the areas that will qualify for designation 
as CDPs for use in tabulating data from the 2010 Census, the American 
Community Survey, the Puerto Rico Community Survey, the Economic 
Census, and potentially other Census Bureau censuses and surveys.
    1. A CDP constitutes a single, closely settled center of population 
that is named. To the extent possible, individual unincorporated 
communities should be identified as separate CDPs. Similarly, a single 
community should be defined as a single CDP rather than multiple CDPs 
with each part referencing the community name and a directional term 
(i.e., north, south, east, or west). Since a CDP is defined to provide 
data for a single named locality, the Census Bureau does not encourage 
CDPs that comprise a combination of places or identified by hyphenated 
names. For example, CDPs such as Poplar-Cotton Center and Downieville-
Lawson-Dumont are no longer acceptable. Communities were often combined 
as a single CDP in order to comply with the Census Bureau's minimum 
population requirements. The Census Bureau's elimination of population 
threshold criteria has made such combinations unnecessary. Other 
communities were combined because visible features were not available 
for use as boundaries for separate CDPs. The Census Bureau's new policy 
to allow the use of some nonvisible boundaries so that participants can 
separate individual communities has dispensed with the need to have 
multi-place CDPs.
    Multiple communities may only be combined to form a single CDP when 
the identities of these communities have become so intertwined that the 
communities are commonly perceived and referenced as a single place. 
For example, the communities of Arden and Arcade in California have 
grown together over time and residents commonly use the place name 
Arden-Arcade. Further, because of the intertwined identity, residents 
would have difficulty identifying a boundary between the separate, 
historical communities of Arden and Arcade. Multiple communities also 
may be defined as a single CDP when there is no distinguishable or 
suitable feature in the landscape that can be used as a boundary 
between the communities, even if the two communities still have 
separate identities. For example, the CDP of Ashton-Sandy Spring in 
Maryland encompasses two communities that still maintain separate 
identities in common, daily usage. The two communities, however, have 
grown together to such an extent that a clear break between the two 
communities is no longer identifiable in the landscape. In general, 
when considering whether to combine multiple communities as a single 
CDP, the following questions should be taken into account: Do residents 
commonly perceive and refer to the communities as a single entity? Are 
there landscape elements, such as signs, that use a hyphenated name for 
the community? Can residents or other knowledgeable individuals 
identify clear, commonly accepted boundaries for the individual 
    2. A CDP generally consists of a contiguous cluster of census 
blocks comprising a single piece of territory and containing a mix of 
residential and commercial uses similar to that of an incorporated 
place of similar size. Some CDPs, however, may be predominantly 
residential; such places should represent recognizably distinct, 
locally known communities, but not typical suburban subdivisions. 
Examples of such predominantly residential communities that can be 
recognized as CDPs are colonias found along the United States-Mexico 
border, small rural communities, and unincorporated resort and 
retirement communities.

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    3. A CDP may not be located, either partially or entirely, within 
an incorporated place or another CDP.
    4. A CDP may be located in more than one county but must not cross 
state boundaries. It is important to note, however, that since county 
boundaries provide important demarcations for communities, CDPs that 
cross county lines should be kept to a minimum and identified only when 
the community clearly sees itself existing on both sides of a county 
    5. There are no minimum population or housing unit thresholds for 
defining CDPs; however, a CDP must contain some population or housing 
units or both. The Census Bureau recognizes that some communities, such 
as a resort or other kinds of seasonal communities, may lack population 
at certain times of the year. Nevertheless, there should be some 
evidence, generally in the form of houses, barracks, dormitories, 
commercial buildings and/or other structures, providing the basis for 
local perception of the place's existence. For the 2010 Census, the 
Census Bureau will not accept a CDP delineated with zero population and 
zero housing units. The Census Bureau will review the number of housing 
units within the place, as reported in the previous decennial census, 
and consider whether additional information is needed before 
recognizing the CDP. Participants submitting boundaries for places with 
less than ten housing units may be asked to provide additional 
information attesting to the existence of the CDP.
    6. CDP boundaries should follow visible features, except in those 
circumstances when a CDP's boundary is coincident with the nonvisible 
boundary of a state, county, MCD (in the six New England states, 
Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and 
Wisconsin), or incorporated place. CDP boundaries may follow other 
nonvisible features in instances where reliance upon visible features 
will result in overbounding of the CDP in order to include housing 
units on both sides of a road or street feature. Such boundaries might 
include parcel boundaries and public land survey system lines; fence 
lines; national, state, or local park boundaries; ridgelines; or 
drainage ditches.
    7. The CDP name should be one that is recognized and used in daily 
communication by the residents of the community. Because unincorporated 
communities generally lack legally defined boundaries, a commonly used 
community name and the geographic extent of its use by local residents 
is often the best identifier of the extent of a place, the assumption 
being that if residents associate with a particular name and use it to 
identify the place in which they live, then the CDP's boundaries can be 
mapped based on the use of the name. There should be features in the 
landscape that use the name, such that a non-resident would have a 
general sense of the location or extent of the community; for example, 
signs indicating when one is entering the community; highway exit signs 
that use the name; or businesses, schools, or other buildings that make 
use of the name. It should not be a name developed solely for planning 
or other purposes (including simply to obtain data from the Census 
Bureau) that is not in regular daily use by the local residents and 
business establishments.
    8. A CDP may not have the same name as an adjacent or nearby 
incorporated place. If the community does not have a name that 
distinguishes it from other nearby communities, then the community is 
not a distinct place. The use of directional terms (``north,'' 
``south,'' ``east,'' ``west,'' and so forth) to differentiate the name 
of a CDP from a nearby municipality where this name is not in local use 
is not acceptable. For example, the name ``North Laurel'' would be 
permitted if this name were in local use. The name ``Laurel North'' 
would not be permitted if it were not in local use. Again, this has 
much to do with the way in which people typically refer to the places 
in which they live. It is permissible to change the name of a 2000 CDP 
for the 2010 Census if the new name provides a better identification of 
the community.

IV. Definitions of Key Terms

    Alaska Native regional corporation (ANRC)--A corporate geographic 
area established under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (Public 
Law 92-203) to conduct both the business and nonprofit affairs of 
Alaska Natives. Twelve ANRCs cover the state of Alaska, except for the 
Annette Island Reserve.
    American Indian reservation (AIR)--A federally recognized American 
Indian land area with boundaries established by final treaty, statute, 
executive order, and/or court order, and over which a federally 
recognized American Indian tribal government has governmental 
authority. Along with reservations, designations such as colonies, 
communities, pueblos, rancherias, and reserves apply to AIRs.
    Census block--A geographic area bounded by visible and/or invisible 
features shown on a map prepared by the Census Bureau. A block is the 
smallest geographic entity for which the Census Bureau tabulates 
decennial census data.
    Coextensive--Descriptive of two or more geographic entities that 
cover exactly the same area, with all boundaries shared.
    Comunidad--A census designated place in Puerto Rico that is not 
related to a municipio's seat of government, called an aldea or a 
ciudad prior to the 1990 Census.
    Contiguous--Descriptive of geographic areas that are adjacent to 
one another, sharing either a common boundary or point of contact.
    Housing unit--A house, an apartment, a mobile home or trailer, or a 
group of rooms or a single room occupied as a separate living quarter 
or, if vacant, intended for occupancy as a separate living quarter. 
Separate living quarters are those in which the occupants live and eat 
separately from any other residents of the building and which have 
direct access from outside the building or through a common hall.
    Incorporated place--A type of governmental unit established to 
provide governmental services for a concentration of people within 
legally prescribed boundaries, incorporated under state law as a city, 
town (except in New England, New York, and Wisconsin), borough (except 
in Alaska and New York), village, or other description.
    Island areas--An entity, other than a state or the District of 
Columbia, under the jurisdiction of the United States. For the 2010 
Census, these will include American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of 
the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and several 
small islands in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The Census 
Bureau treats each Island Territory as the statistical equivalent of a 
    Minor civil division--The primary governmental or administrative 
division of a county in 28 states, Puerto Rico, and the Island Areas 
having legal boundaries, names, and descriptions. MCDs represent many 
different types of legal entities with a wide variety of 
characteristics, powers, and functions depending on the state and type 
of MCD. In some states, some or all of the incorporated places also 
constitute MCDs.
    Municipio--A type of governmental unit that is the primary legal 
subdivision of Puerto Rico. The Census Bureau treats the municipio as 
the statistical equivalent of a county.
    Nonvisible feature--A map feature that is not visible, such as a 
city or county boundary, a property line running through space, a short

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imaginary extension of a street or road, or a point-to-point line.
    Statistical geographic entity--A geographic entity that is 
specially defined and delineated, such as block group, CDP, or census 
tract, so that the Census Bureau may tabulate data for it. Designation 
as a statistical entity neither conveys nor confers legal ownership, 
entitlement, or jurisdictional authority.
    Urbanized area (UA)--An area consisting of a central place(s) and 
adjacent urban fringe that together have a minimum residential 
population of at least 50,000 people and generally an overall 
population density of at least 1,000 people per square mile. The Census 
Bureau uses published criteria to determine the qualification and 
boundaries of UAs at the time of each decennial census or from the 
results of a special census during the intercensal period.
    Visible feature--A map feature that can be seen on the ground, such 
as a road, railroad track, major above-ground transmission line or 
pipeline, stream, shoreline, fence, sharply defined mountain ridge, or 
cliff. A nonstandard visible feature is a feature that may not be 
clearly defined on the ground (such as a ridge), may be seasonal (such 
as an intermittent stream), or may be relatively impermanent (such as a 
fence). The Census Bureau generally requests verification that 
nonstandard features pose no problem in their location during field 
    Zona urbana--In Puerto Rico, the settled area functioning as the 
seat of government for a municipio. A zona urbana cannot cross a 
municipio boundary.

Executive Order 12866

    This notice has been determined to be not significant under 
Executive Order 12866.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This program notice does not represent a collection of information 
subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C., 
Chapter 35.

    Dated: February 8, 2008.
Steve H. Murdock,
Director, Bureau of the Census.
[FR Doc. E8-2667 Filed 2-12-08; 8:45 am]