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This site provides definitions of geographic terms and concepts as well as a description of the different methods used to present information for geographic entities in U.S. Census Bureau data products. The site contains definitions for all geographic area terms and concepts recognized by the Census Bureau and that may appear in any Census Bureau product presenting demographic and housing data (geographic terms and concepts unique to the economic census and other specialized surveys and censuses are not included in this document).
The inclusion of a particular term or concept on this site does not imply that data for that geographic entity or attribute appear in each data product. For instance, data for tribal census tracts and tribal block groups will appear only in products providing data according to the American Indian Nation-based geographic hierarchy (see the American Indian Area/Alaska Native Area/Hawaiian Home Lands Hierarchy Diagram [PDF]). As another example, because urban areas are defined on the basis of decennial census population counts, data for urban areas do not appear in initial decennial census data products. In addition, the description of both the hierarchical and inventory approaches to presenting data for geographic entities does not imply that both formats are used in each data product.
The information contained in this site is also available in a printer-friendly PDF version.
View the 2000 Geographic Terms and Concepts in PDF format.