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Block groups are clusters of blocks within the same census tract that have the same first digit of their 4-digit census block number.  For example, blocks 3001, 3002, 3003, …., 3999 in census tract 1210.02 belong to Block Group 3.  Due to boundary and feature changes that occur throughout the decade, current block groups do not always maintain these same block number to block group relationships.  Block groups delineated for the 2010 Census generally contain between 600 and 3,000 people.


A block group usually covers a contiguous area.  Each census tract contains at least one block group and block groups are uniquely numbered within census tract.  Within the standard census geographic hierarchy, block groups never cross county or census tract boundaries, but may cross the boundaries of county subdivisions, places, urban areas, voting districts, congressional districts, and American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian areas.  


Block groups have a valid range of 0 through 9.  Block groups beginning with a zero generally are in coastal and Great Lakes water and territorial seas.  Rather than extending a census tract boundary into the Great Lakes or out to the three-mile territorial sea limit, the Census Bureau delineated some census tract boundaries along the shoreline or just offshore.  The Census Bureau assigned a default census tract number of zero and block group of zero to the offshore areas not included in regularly numbered census tract areas.    


Block Group State-based Shapefile Record Layout (Current)
tl_year_[state FIPS]_bg.shp
STATEFP2StringCurrent state FIPS code
COUNTYFP3StringCurrent county FIPS code
TRACTCE6StringCurrent census tract code BLKGRPCE 1 String Current block group number
GEOID12StringCensus block group identifier; a concatenation of the current state FIPS code, county FIPS code, census tract code and block group number.
NAMELSAD13StringCurrent translated legal/statistical area description and the block group number
MTFCC5String MAF/TIGER feature class code (G5030)
FUNCSTAT1StringCurrent functional status ALAND 14 Number Current land area
AWATER14NumberCurrent water area
INTPTLAT11StringCurrent latitude of the internal point
INTPTLON12StringCurrent longitude of the internal point


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