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2008 Public Law Prototype DVD Support


The objective of the Census Redistricting Data Program during 2008 was to produce a prototype of the 2010 data format that the Census Bureau will provide to states to meet the requirements of Public Law (P.L.) 94-171. This law, enacted in 1975, directs the Census Bureau to make special preparations to provide redistricting data needed by the 50 states.1 It specifies that within a year following Census Day, the Census Bureau must send the governor and legislative leadership in each state the data they need to redraw districts for the United States Congress and state legislature.

To meet this legal requirement, the Census Bureau set up a program that affords state officials an opportunity before each decennial census to define the small areas for which they wish to receive census population totals for redistricting purposes. Officials may receive data for voting districts (e.g., election precincts, wards) and state house and senate districts, in addition to standard census geographic areas such as counties, cities, census tracts, and blocks. State participation in defining areas is voluntary and nonpartisan.

For further information on P.L. 94-171 and the 2010 Census Redistricting Data Program, data users should contact the Census Redistricting Data Office on 301-763-4039.

1 For the 2010 Census, the Census Bureau will provide redistricting data for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.


  • Extract Function - The Extract function in the 2008 Redistricting Data Prototype application does not function properly in certain Windows configurations. The error does not allow the user to specify a file name or location to save an extracted file.
  • Missing Block Data cell - It was reported that a single data cell associated with the P2 Table, Population of four races, Black or African American; American Indian and Alaska Native; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander; Some other race was reporting no data at the block level.
  • 64-bit Operating Systems - Users have reported runtime errors and application failures when attempting to use the 2008 Redistricting Data Prototype application.


Correcting these errors will require copying the entire contents of the 2008 PL Prototype DVD to a directory on your computer's hard disk then extracting the files from the self-extracting ZIP file downloaded from the link below. This ZIP file contains 3 files (HSFDR.EXE, table4.cbf, and reffields.txt) which will replace the existing files. Upon completion of this update, you will be able to use the application as intended from the directory you created. If you prefer to use it from CD or DVD, you can also burn the contents of the new directory to disc. An example of this is shown below, too.


  1. Create a directory or folder on your computer's hard disk. In this example, we created a new folder named "2008 PL Prototype" on the C:\ drive.

    Snapshot of new 2008 PL Prototype directory on C:\ drive

  2. Copy the contents of the DVD to the newly created directory. This will require approximately 105 MB of space on your hard disk. Note that the original date of the HSFDR.EXE file is 3/25/2009.

    Snapshot of 2008 PL Prototype directory

  3. Download the 2008 PL Update [self-extracting compressed file, 177KB] by right-clicking on the link and choosing "Save As..." to specify where to save the downloaded file.

  4. Run the 2008 PL Update EXE file from its saved location. The extractor will prompt you for a location to Unzip the files to. Either type in the location or use the "Browse" button to select the folder created in Step 1, then click the "Unzip" button. The files to be extracted will be placed in the proper locations within the new folder.

    Snapshot of location prompt

  5. The ZIP self-extractor will unzip 3 files.

    Snapshot of successful extraction prompt

  6. To verify that the procedure was successful, the file date of the HSFDR.EXE file should be 9/21/10.

    Snapshot of date verification

Once this is done, the directory you created will function exactly as the DVD does, only the application will now perform correctly. You can continue to use the Redistricting Prototype from this directory by either selecting Launch and accessing the entire disc menu or by selecting HSFDR.EXE and opening just the 2008 Redistricting Data Prototype application.

Burning to a disc

Should you wish to create a CD or DVD with the updated application file, be sure to specify the contents of the new directory rather than the directory itself for disc creation. In the example below, using Nero Burn, we added the files from the 2008 PL Prototype directory into a disc layout named "2008 PL Revised". For the menu system and application to work properly, the file structure of the disc must be maintained in this manner.

Snapshot of new directory contents in Nero Burn

Additional Information

  • Technical Documentation PDF [9.6 MB] - full documentation from the DVD including data dictionary and table matrices
  • How To Use This DVD PDF [1.7 MB] - brief overview of how to use the features of the 2008 Redistricting Data application

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Administrative and Customer Services Division | (301) 763-7710 |  Last Revised: April 17, 2013