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Business Register

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To provide a current and comprehensive database of U.S. business establishments and companies for statistical program use. The United States Code, Titles 13 and 26, and a 1968 designation by the Office of Management and Budget, authorize this program.

The Business Register information is confidential [Title 13 and Title 26, US Code]. Access is restricted to persons specially sworn to uphold the confidentiality provisions ot Title 13 and Title 26.


Establishments of all domestic businesses (except private households and governments) and organizational units of multi-establishment businesses. The Business Register (BR) covers more than 160,000 multi-establishment companies, representing 1.8 million affiliated establishments, 5 million single establishment companies, and nearly 21 million non employer businesses.


Business Register information is establishment-based and includes business location, organization type (e.g., subsidiary or parent), industry classification, and operating data (e.g., receipts and employment). The scope, detail, and reference period for BR information vary by establishment type and size; and the source of list information. Business Register information is maintained separately for each establishment and company.


The Business Register is updated continuously with the latest and best information available from Census Bureau and other Federal statistical and administrative records programs. The frequency for updating individual data items varies from every quarter to every 5 years. Data has been updated continuously since 1972. Before 1994, non-employers were included only for years ending in "2" and "7."


The Business Register is a relational database with multiple tables to consolidate and link administrative, Census, and survey data. Records from multiple sources are loaded as received and used to add to or update tables containing records of enterprises, tax reporting entities based on Internal Revenue Service Employer Identification Numbers (EINs), and establishments with the best available classification, size, address, and company affiliation information. Information for single establishments and EINs is updated continuously; including employment and payroll data based on payroll tax records, and receipts data based on income tax records from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Information for establishments of multi-unit companies is updated annually based on responses to the company organization survey and annual survey of manufactures. Other routine sources of update information include Census Bureau current surveys (e.g.,Current Industrial Reports) and the economic census.

To maintain Business Register information by establishment and company, a system of cross-classification is used that links location, organization, and operating information from diverse sources, over time, and for the same and related establishments. The system includes unique Census- assigned identification numbers, incorporates EINs issued for Federal tax purposes, and includes industry classifications assigned by the Social Security Administration. Since 1991, industry classifications for some businesses have also been obtained and improved through periodic comparisons with classifications of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


The Business Register is used throughout Census Bureau economic data programs, but data for individual establishments are not available for public use because Federal law prohibits disclosure of individual business information. However, Business Register information is the primary source of summary statistics published in annual County Business Patterns reports, and is a resource used in responding to requests for special summary reports and reimbursable non-employer statistics tabulations.


The Business Register is integral to the Census Bureau's economic census and most economic surveys. It provides the frame including information for name and address, contacts, industry, and size. In addition, the Business Register is utilized to update samples and provides administrative data for use in edit and imputation.

The Business Register is the primary source of summary statistics published in the annual County Business Patterns reports. These reports provide statistics for each county and 6-digit NAICS industry, including number of establishments, payroll, and employment. It is also the source for receipts data published by geographic area and 6-digit NAICS industry in the Nonemployer Statistics report.

The Business Register is used to respond to requests for special reports and reimbursable tabulations (particularly for small area data). Recipients of such summary statistics have included the Bureau of Economic Analysis; the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Housing and Urban Development; Small Business Administration; state and local economic development agencies; and private businesses.


Provides the most complete, current, and consistent source of establishment- based information about U.S. businesses, and is essential to assuring full coverage and high quality in Federal economic statistics programs.


Economic Census

Report of Organization Survey

County Business Patterns  

Annual Survey of Manufactures

Industrial Products




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U.S. Economy

Economy Overview

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