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Geographic Terms and Concepts - Puerto Rico

The Census Bureau treats the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico as the statistical equivalent of a state for data presentation purposes.


The primary legal divisions of Puerto Rico are termed "municipios." For data presentation purposes, the Census Bureau treats a municipio as the equivalent of a county in the United States.

Barrio, Barrio-Pueblo, and Subbarrio

The Census Bureau recognizes barrios and barrios-pueblo as the primary legal divisions of municipios.  These entities are similar to the minor civil divisions (MCDs) used for reporting data in 29 states of the United States.  Subbarrios in 23 municipios are the primary legal subdivisions of the barrios-pueblo and some barrios.  The Census Bureau presents the same types of statistical data for these subminor civil divisions (sub-MCDs) as it does for the barrios and barrios-pueblo.  (There is no geographic entity in the United States equivalent to the subbarrio.)

Zona Urbana and Comunidad

There are no incorporated places in Puerto Rico; instead, the Census Bureau provides data for two types of census designated places (CDPs):  zonas urbanas, representing the governmental center of each municipio,and comunidades, representing other settlements.  There are no minimum population size requirements for zonas urbanas and comunidades.

Some types of geographic entities do not apply in Puerto Rico.  For instance, Puerto Rico is not in any census region or census division (see also "Congressional District").

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Geography | (301) 763-1128 |  Last Revised: December 06, 2012