Frequently Asked Questions

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Top Questions

How do I find a Census tract code for a specific street address?
The Census Bureau offers an ... (more)

How many people reside in urban or rural areas for the 2010 Census? What percentage of the U.S. population ...
The urban areas of the United States for the 2010 Census contain ... (more)

Why am I receiving phone calls from the U.S. Census Bureau about the ACS?
Our telephone representatives attempt to call households to collect important survey information. If someone has cont... (more)

American FactFinder: How do I cite tables and maps in American FactFinder?
Dynamically generated tables, maps, and files from American FactFinder:(Use semicolons to separa... (more)

Does the Census Bureau have data for religion?
The Census Bureau conducted censuses of religious bodies ... (more)

What data can I get for ZIP Code Tabulation Areas?
You can get population and housing data for ... (more)

What specific questions are asked on the 2015 Census Test?
For each household member, we ask how many people live in the house, and for each person the name, sex, age, relationshi... (more)

Someone came to my home to interview me for the ACS. Is this legitimate?
If someone has contacted you about the ... (more)

What is the difference between EAR99 and NLR?
EAR99 is a classification for an item. It indicates that a particular item is subject to the Export Administration Re... (more)

When is the 2016 Census Test being conducted?
The testing will take place in portions of Harris County, Te... (more)

Do I have to respond to the 2015 Census Test?
Yes, participation in the test is mandated by law (per ... (more)

Where can I find historical census data on the population?
In addition to our Selected Historical ... (more)

Can I complete the ACS online?
In most instances, yes. If you received a letter or postcard inviting you to complete the American Community Survey o... (more)

How do I determine if my geographic area of interest is urban or rural?
In March 2012, the Census Bureau released the list of Urban Areas and their boundaries, based o... (more)

Where can I view the census tract and/or block boundaries for my area?
An easy way to view Census tract or block boundaries is to use our interactive web mapping application, ... (more)

What is sampling variability and how do I interpret it?
Because estimates are based on a sample rather than the entire population, the published estimates may differ from th... (more)

How do I find my import commodity code? How do I find my Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) number?
The United States International Trade Commission allows you to ... (more)

Does the U.S. Census Bureau provide any data by first names and surnames?
The Census Bureau provides first and surname da... (more)

What is the 2016 Census Test?
The 2016 Census Test will allow the Census Bureau to study a... (more)

American FactFinder: How do I find all the Census Tracts in a Place?
Select Advanced Search. Click the Geographies button located below Topics (left side of pa... (more)

I forgot my ACS PIN.
When you access the American Community Survey onl... (more)

American FactFinder: How do I find the population of my city, town, county, or state?
From the Main Page ( Enter the name of your state, county, city, town, ... (more)

How can I be sure my information is really going to the Census Bureau and not some third party?
Our secure server uses a digital certificate (digital ID) issued by a Certificate Authority (CA) as proof of identity... (more)

 In the United States Constitution, the census is required for the apportionment of representatives; w...
The United States Constitution states that "[An] Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting... (more)

I am using the American Community Survey (ACS) Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) data, and I see a geograp...
Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMAs) are non-overlapping areas that partition each state into areas containing about 10... (more)

Can you tell me more about group quarters (GQ) or group housing facilities in the American Community Survey...
Group Quarters (GQ) are places where people live or stay, in a group living arrangement, which ar... (more)

American FactFinder: What are the browser requirements for American FactFinder?
... (more)

Why does the ACS ask for my name and my telephone number?
The American Community Survey (ACS) asks for individuals' names for two reasons.  First, we have found over many... (more)

Why does the ACS ask such detailed questions?
We ask these questions because federal and state government require the data that we collect to manage or evaluate pr... (more)

Why was I chosen?
The U.S. Census Bureau randomly selected 5,000 housing units that responded to the 2015 Census Test. Your participation ... (more)

What if I don't know the exact answer to an ACS question?
On the American Community Survey (ACS), if no one in your household knows the answer to a question, and the informati... (more)

Can you please tell me where I can find the National Cost of Living Index for the last 10 years?
The Census Bureau does not produce a cost of living index.  In fact, we do not know of a national cost of living... (more)

How will I respond to this test?
The quickest and easiest way to respond is online. Mailed in... (more)

What is the difference between establishment and firm? What about companies?
These are terms used in our economic census and survey activities. ... (more)

What specifically is the Census Bureau testing in the 2016 Census Test?
Building on testing we conducted in 2014 and 2015, the Census Bureau will refine... (more)

Do I have to respond to the 2016 Census Test?
Yes, participation in the test is mandated by law (per ... (more)

Why was my address selected for the ACS?
Addresses selected for the American Community Survey (ACS) come from the Census Bureau’s Master Address File (MAF).... (more)

Why is the ACS information addressed to resident and not to me?
The American Community Survey (ACS) information is mailed to addresses, rather than to individuals, throughout the count... (more)

I am concerned about identity theft. How does the Census Bureau protect my ACS information?
We understand concerns about identity theft and privacy. We will ensure that only authorized persons with a work-rela... (more)

When will the Internet data collection begin for the 2016 Census Test?
Starting March 21, 2016, households will begin receiving not... (more)

How can I find the latitude and longitude of areas such as census tracts?
The Census Bureau’s Gazetteer ... (more)

Do you have data on literacy?
No, we have not collected data on literacy for many years. We do have data that might be of use to people interested ... (more)

Why were areas in Harris County, Texas, and Los Angeles County, California chosen for the 2016 Census Test?
The Census Bureau selected these areas a... (more)

How can I get permission to use or publish census data?
Copyright protection is not available for any work of the United States Government (Title 17 U.S.C., Section 105). ... (more)

How do I find statistics on beverage consumption in the U.S.?
The U.S. Census Bureau does not collect data on beverage consumption; however, information on the... (more)

What is the difference between apportionment and redistricting?
Population data from the decennial census provide the basis for both apportioning seats in the U.S. House of Represen... (more)

What is the TIGER/Line Shapefile metadata and how is it useful?
The Census Bureau releases TIGE... (more)

Is it safe to provide my ACS information over the Internet?
Yes.  American Community Survey information is encrypted at all times.  Our secure servers use "HT... (more)