Commodity Flow SurveyCommodity Flow Survey


The 2007 Commodity Flow Survey (CFS) is undertaken through a partnership between the Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. Department of Transportation. This survey produces data on the movement of goods in the United States. The data from the CFS are used by public policy analysts and for transportation planning and decision-making to assess the demand for transportation facilities and services, energy use, and safety risk and environmental concerns.


The 2007 CFS covers business establishments in mining, manufacturing, wholesale trade, and selected retail industries. The survey also covers selected auxiliary establishments (e.g., warehouses) of in-scope multi-unit and retail companies. The survey coverage excludes establishments classified as farms, forestry, fisheries, governments, construction, transportation, foreign establishments, services, and most establishments in retail.


The CFS captures data on shipments originating from selected types of business establishments located in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. We request that the respondent provide the following information about their establishment’s shipments: domestic destination or port of exit, commodity, value, weight, mode(s) of transportation, the date on which the shipment was made, and an indication of whether the shipment was an export, or hazardous material. For shipments that include more than one commodity, respondents are instructed to report the commodity that makes up the greatest percentage of the shipment’s weight. For exports, we also ask the respondent to provide the mode of export and the foreign destination city and country. For hazardous materials shipments, we ask for the corresponding UN/NA code.


The survey was initiated for 1993. Beginning in 1997, the survey was conducted every 5 years for years ending in "2" and "7." Commodity surveys were conducted between 1963 and 1983, but data for 1983 were not published. No data were collected for 1987.


The 2007 CFS consists of a sample of 100,000 establishments chosen based on geographic location and industry. Each establishment selected into the CFS sample is mailed a questionnaire for each of its four reporting weeks. For the CFS each sampled establishment was asked to report on a sample of individual shipments during a one week period in each calendar quarter.


Advance estimates for the 2007 Commodity Flow Survey are now available at the national level on the American Factfinder (AFF). During December 2009, final estimates for the 2007 Commodity Flow Survey will be available through AFF, with additional data breakdowns including state level, sub-state level, hazardous materials, and exports. Print reports will be available for the U.S. level, hazardous materials, and export data.

Information is available online for the 2002, 1997, and 1993 Commodity Flow Surveys. Estimates of value, tons, ton-miles, and average miles are available for national, state, and selected metropolitan areas. Breakdowns by mode of transportation, shipment distance, shipment weight, commodity, as well as other breakdowns, are also available. A limited supply of print reports and CD-ROMs may be available for some survey years

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Service Sector Statistics Division,
Commodity Flow Branch