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Government 90dn

Mapping the Census

Lecture 4: Geographical Units

Sumeeta Srinivasan
Outline for Today
ƒ Geographical Units in Census
ƒ How to compare across time/ space
ƒ Discussion
Major Units: Blocks, Census Blocks, Tracts

ƒ Blocks, Block groups, tracts do not cross the
boundaries of any entity for which the U.S.
Census Bureau tabulates
ƒ Tabulation blocks are identified uniquely within
census tract and block groups
ƒ Census 2000 collection blocks, block groups
and tracts are numbered uniquely within county
(or statistically equivalent entity)
Major Units: Counties

ƒ The primary legal divisions of most states are
termed counties.
ƒ In Louisiana, these divisions are known as
ƒ In Alaska, statistically equivalent entities are
organized boroughs and the census areas
ƒ Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, and Virginia have
one or more incorporated places that are
independent cities
ƒ DC is one county
Major Units: County subdivisions

ƒ Census county divisions CCD, census subareas,
minor civil divisions MCD, and unorganized
ƒ The boundaries of CCD, MCD etc. follow visible
features, and coincide with census tracts where
ƒ CCD delineated by Census – 21 states (includes
ƒ MCDs are the governmental or administrative
divisions of a county in 28 states (includes Mass.)
Counties and County Subdivisions
Major Units: Metropolitan Areas

ƒ Concept of a metropolitan area (MA): large population nucleus,
with communities that have economic/ social integration
ƒ Each MA must contain a place with minimum population 50,000
or a U.S. Census Bureau-defined urbanized area
ƒ An MA contains one or more central counties (with specified
level of commuting)
ƒ Classified as:
ƒ Metropolitan statistical area (MSA) or
ƒ Consolidated metropolitan statistical area (CMSA) divided into primary
ƒ If MA has more than 1 million people 2 or more PMSAs may be
Metropolitan Areas
ƒ Each MSA, PMSA and CMSA was assigned a unique 4-digit
FIPS code, inherited usually from Standard Metropolitan
Statistical Areas SMSA of the same or similar name in previous
ƒ For Massachusetts:
Major Units: Places

ƒ Place is a concentration of population
ƒ Include census designated places CDP, consolidated cities, and
incorporated place
ƒ CDPs are delineated to provide data for population that are
identifiable by name but are not legally incorporated
ƒ A consolidated city is a unit for which the functions of an
incorporated place and its county or MCD merged
ƒ An incorporated place is established for governmental functions
for a concentration of people as opposed to a MCD created to
provide services or administer an area without regard to
Major Units: Urban or Rural

ƒ U.S. Census classifies as urban all territory,
population, and housing units located within an
urbanized area (UA) or an urban cluster (UC)
ƒ An urban cluster (UC) consists of densely settled
territory that has at least 2,500 people but fewer than
50,000 people
ƒ An urbanized area (UA) consists of densely settled
territory that contains 50,000 or more people. A UA
may contain both place and nonplace territory
UA and UC
ƒ For Massachusetts:
Comparing across geographic unit
and time
ƒ Across time:
ƒ Across unit: