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County Business Patterns

County Business Patterns website

Why are there disrepencies between County Business Patterns establishment total figures and Dun & Bradstreet totals?
County Business Patterns obtains data fron the Standard Statistical Establishment List (SSEL), a file of all businesses in the U.S. with paid employees. The SSEL obtains timely information from the business-related tax filings of the IRS, and from annual reports from our own Company Organization Survey.

Census receives quarterly employment and payroll data from employer businesses almost immediately after the business files its payroll return. This employment and payroll file from IRS accurately identifies the business universe. Our Company Organization Survey is mailed to multi-location companies for information on separate business locations. These two sources produce a timely and accurate business universe. We have conducted regular studies that compare our published data to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The studies show comparable universes.

Both Census and BLS vary considerably from the Dun & Bradstreet files. The D&B file contains many businesses that are no longer active. D&B also claims to have several self-employed businesses on its files, whereas the County Business Patterns contains only employer businesses. We began publishing the self-employed component as part of our 1998 CBP series; there are approximately 15 million non-employer businesses that Census considers as true businesses (as opposed to hobby activities).


Windows software [ZIP, 79 KB] (fixes a display problem experienced by some users).
Geographic and SIC Reference files [ZIP, 39 KB]

DOS software [ZIP, 204 KB]

ZIP Code Business Patterns

2000, 2001 [ZIP, 27.1 MB] Windows 2000 and Windows XP users

1999 [ZIP, 62 KB] download and copy extracted file to folder (directory) where software is installed.

1996-1997 [ZIP, 63 KB] Windows - Copy extracted file to folder where the software is installed. Update (1/21/2005) fixes "Run-time error '6' - Overflow" error message when attempting to Copy data to an output file.

1994-1995 [EXE, 116 KB] Windows software (for use with 1994 disc only)

The Copy function would return an error if the first ZIP Code did not contain data for a selected SIC. This is corrected by the new version.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Administrative and Customer Services Division | (301) 763-7710 |  Last Revised: July 03, 2014