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U.S. Census   Tags: demographic, economics, population, statistics  

Last Updated: Jul 9, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Small Geographic Areas

  • The smallest geographic areas that the Census Bureau collects data for are: Census Tracts, Block Groups, and Blocks. These areas are only covered in the decennial censuses. The Census Bureau and the Department of Agriculture also collect data at the ZIP Code level.
  • Census Tracts and Block Numbering Areas (Census Bureau)
  • ZIP Code Statistics (Census Bureau)



The Decennial Census

The federal census has been taken every 10 years (decennially) since 1790. The taking of the census is established in Article 1, Section 2 of the United States Constitution.


Census Geography

The Census Bureau reports data for a wide variety of geographic types, ranging from the entire United States down to a Census Block. Some geographic types follow recognized boundaries, such as counties and cities. Others are created by the Census Bureau.

Geographic Terms and Concepts (Census Bureau)

The diagram shows the many geographic types for which data are available. In general, larger geographic types (e.g., state) are shown near the top and smaller geographic types (e.g., census tract) are shown towards the bottom.


Census Geography help in American FactFinder.

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