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Counties

Counties are the primary political and administrative divisions of states.

Also recognized by the Census Bureau as county equivalents for economic census purposes are:

  • Boroughs, Census Areas, and certain Cities in Alaska
  • Districts and Islands in American Samoa
  • Election Districts in Guam
  • Independent Cities in Maryland, Missouri, Nevada and Virginia
  • Islands in the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Municipalities in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
  • Municipios in Puerto Rico
  • Parishes in Louisiana
  • The District of Columbia

Changes for the 2017 Economic Census

Two counties were renamed and recoded for the 2017 Economic Census, as well as one county that was dropped altogether. They are:

  • Kusilvak Census Area, Alaska was previously recognized as Wade Hampton Census Area during the 2012 Economic Census.
  • Oglala Lakota County, South Dakota was previously recognized as Shannon County.
  • Bedford City, Virginia (previously an independent city recognized as both a county and place) was dropped for 2017. This city was reverted back to a town (Bedford town) in 2013 and is now included as part of Bedford County.

"Statewide" Counties

Businesses that are in a state and cannot be assigned a specific county code are treated as a Geographic Component of the state (GEO_COMP code =”S0”). “Statewide” records are published annually in the County Business Patterns reports.

Coding

Counties are identified by a 3-digit ANSI County code (COUNTY), which are sequenced alphabetically within a state, with independent cities following the listing of counties within each state.

Metropolitan and Micropolitan Areas

The economic census provides data for the following types of statistical areas in the United States and Puerto Rico.

Metropolitan Statistical Areas

Metropolitan Statistical Areas have at least one urbanized area of 50,000 or more population, plus adjacent territory that has a high degree of social and economic integration with the core as measured by commuting ties.

Micropolitan Statistical Areas

Micropolitan Statistical Areas have at least one urban cluster of at least 10,000 but less than 50,000 population, plus adjacent territory that has a high degree of social and economic integration with the core as measured by commuting ties.

Metropolitan Divisions

Metropolitan Divisions are subdivisions of Metropolitan Statistical Areas (into smaller groupings of counties) which include a single core with a population of 2.5 million or more.

Combined Statistical Areas

Combined Statistical Areas are combinations of adjacent Metropolitan and/or Micropolitan Statistical Areas that retain their own designations as Metropolitan or Micropolitan Statistical Areas within the larger area.

  • The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) defines the "employment interchange measure" as "the sum of the percentage of employed residents of the smaller entity who work in the larger entity and the percentage of the employment in the smaller entity that is accounted for by workers who reside in the larger entity."
  • Combinations for adjacent areas with an employment interchange of 25% or more are automatic.
  • Combinations for adjacent areas with an employment interchange of at least 15% but less than 25% are based on local opinion as expressed through the Congressional delegations.

These areas are defined in terms of whole counties (or equivalent entities) under the auspices of the OMB.

"Non-Metro" Areas

The sum of all counties in a state that are not part of a metro area are treated as a Geographic Component of the state, and are assigned GEO_COMP code =”G0”.

Boundary Changes

A minor number of Metropolitan, Micropolitan, and Combined Statistical Areas have changed boundaries between 2012 and 2017, and some new areas have been identified. For information on these metro area changes, see the MetroNotes.

Note: Data is tabulated for Metropolitan and Micropolitan areas defined by the Office of Management and Budget as of January 1, 2017.


Coding

They are identified by a 3-digit ANSI Combined Statistical Area code (CSA), 5-digit ANSI Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area code (MSA) and 5-digit ANSI Metropolitan Division code (MD), which are sequenced alphabetically within each parent and component Metropolitan area.

Note: Metropolitan Area boundaries can change annually with changes in population and commuting patterns as documented in the American Community Survey, so the Metropolitan Areas published for the latest economic census may be different from those published previously.

Offshore Areas

Selected data for Mining (sector 21) present statistics for Offshore Areas. For the 2017 Economic Census, Offshore Areas are treated as Geographic Components of the U.S., with GEO_COMP code = "R0" identifying the Offshore Area.

Economic Places

The economic census provides data for the following types of statistical areas that are published as "Places" or "Consolidated Cities" in the United States and selected Island Areas.

Incorporated Places

For the 2017 Economic Census, incorporated places are legally defined as incorporated municipalities (cities, towns, villages and boroughs) with 2,500 or more inhabitants (from the 2011-2015 5-year ACS estimates) or jobs. For a list of added and dropped places by state since 2012, see the Geography Change Notes page.

Unincorporated Places

Unincorporated places are unincorporated county subdivisions with 2,500 or more inhabitants or jobs. These areas are also known as Census Designated Places (CDP's).

Independent Cities

These cities (in Maryland, Missouri, Nevada and Virginia) are independent of any county organization and constitute primary divisions of their States. They are treated as County and Place equivalents in the Economic Census.

Additional "place equivalents" in the Island Areas

These include "Counties" in American Samoa and towns in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Part Places

Part Places are the County parts of places that cross County boundaries. The Place total, as well as the County parts of the Place are both published in the economic census.

Balances of Counties

Balances of Counties include all municipalities, towns and townships that do not qualify using the criteria noted above as well as the remainders of Counties outside places.

Coding

Places are identified by a 5-digit Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) Place code (PLACE), which are sequenced alphabetically within a state.

  • Part place totals are identified with a county code of "000" and the appropriate place code.
  • Place parts are assigned the appropriate county code for each part.
  • "Balance of county" places are assigned a place code of "98xxx", where "xxx" is the ANSI County code.

Consolidated Cities

Consolidated cities are consolidated governments, which consist of separately incorporated municipalities. They are identified by a 5-digit ANSI Consolidated City code (CONSCITY), which are sequenced alphabetically.

Puerto Rico Planning Regions

Planning regions occur in Puerto Rico only and are groups of municipios, which are county equivalents, for the purposes of tabulating economic census data. Planning regions replace the Commercial Regions published for the 2007 and earlier economic censuses.

They are used in the Economic Census of Island Areas tables for Retail Trade and Service industries instead of Metropolitan Areas, but are not published for other sectors.

Coding

Puerto Rico Planning Regions are identified by a one-character Puerto Rico Planning Region code (PLANREG), which are sequenced alphabetically.

Regions and Divisions

Census Regions and Divisions are groupings of States that subdivide the United States. view map [pdf] »

Each of the four census Regions is divided into two or more census Divisions:

  • Northeast Region
    • New England Division: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont
    • Middle Atlantic Division: New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania
  • Midwest Region
    • East North Central Division: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin
    • West North Central Division: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota
  • South Region
    • South Atlantic Division: Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia
    • East South Central Division: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee
    • West South Central Division: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas
  • West Region
    • Mountain Division: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming
    • Pacific Division: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington


Note: Data from the economic census are summarized by Region for the Construction sector only. Data from the Commodity Flow Survey are published for both Regions and Divisions.

Coding

Census Regions and Divisions are identified by one-digit Census Region and Census Division codes (CENREG and CENDIV), which are sequenced alphabetically.

States

States are the primary governmental divisions of the United States. The Census Bureau also recognizes the District of Columbia as a State equivalent in the economic census. The Island Areas (which include Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) are also recognized as State equivalents in the Economic Census of Island Areas. Statistics for the Island Areas are not included in U.S. totals.

Coding

States are identified by a 2-digit numeric American National Standards Institute (ANSI) State code (ST), which are sequenced in alphabetical order by State name.

ZIP Codes

ZIP Codes are administrative entities of the U.S. Postal Service. As such:

  • They do not coincide with the Census Bureau's geographic or political areas.
  • They change according to postal requirements.
  • They do not have specific boundaries.
  • Their implied boundaries do not necessarily follow clearly identifiable physical features.

Note: These ZIP Codes are reported by businesses or coded from addresses. They are not the ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs) published in the Decennial Census.

Geographic Hierarchy for Island Areas

The level of geographic detail covered varies by island. The geographic structure for each island and sector, where applicable, is presented below.

American Samoa

  • State-equivalent (American Samoa)
  • County-equivalent (District)
  • Place-equivalent (County)

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

  • State-equivalent (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands)
  • County-equivalent (Municipality)

Guam

  • State-equivalent (Guam)
  • County-equivalent (Election District)

Puerto Rico

1. Geographic Area Statistics

  • State-equivalent (Puerto Rico)
  • Planning Region

2. Construction & Manufacturing

  • State-equivalent (Puerto Rico)
  • Combined Statistical Area (CSA)
  • Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)
  • Micropolitan Area
  • County-equivalent (Municipio)

U.S. Virgin Islands

  • State-equivalent (U.S. Virgin Islands)
  • County-equivalent (Island)
  • Place-equivalent (Town)

Related Information


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