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Geography is central to the work of the Census Bureau, providing the framework for survey design, sample selection, data collection, tabulation, and dissemination. Geography provides meaning and context to statistical data.

Given the diversity of our population, our economic activities, and our geographic areas, use of the latest and best geographic methodologies is critical to the Census Bureau’s ability to serve as the leading provider of statistical and geospatial data. Our geographic area concepts, information, and statistical data must keep pace with the needs of the researchers and analysts who work to understand the changing distribution and characteristics of our people, places and economy.

Who We Are

  • Geographers, Cartographers, Statisticians, and Information Technology Specialists

What We Do

  • Develop criteria to define geographic areas
  • Work with partners
    • to collect geographic data about their boundaries including annexations
    • to ensure we have the most up to date geographic and address data
    • to develop tools for more efficient ways to share data
    • to share best practices
  • Maintain a large spatial database with spatial data for the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Island Areas
  • Create reference and thematic maps to support censuses and surveys
  • Develop standards and manage governmental units, administrative, and statistical boundary data to meet obligations to the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC)
  • Digitize spatial updates to the MAF/TIGER system
  • Process and geocode millions of addresses in our Master Address File (MAF)
  • Develop quality measures and assess the quality of our geographic and address data
  • Conduct research on geographic and address topics
  • Develop programs to automatically enforce geographic rules, create products, geocode address lists, and create maps
  • Create tools to visualize geographic data

Page Last Revised - September 8, 2022
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