Counties & Equivalent Entities


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Counties and Equivalent Entities are primary legal divisions.  In most states, these entities are termed “counties.”  In Louisiana, these divisions are known as “parishes.”  In Alaska, the equivalent entities are the organized boroughs, city and boroughs, and municipalities, and for the unorganized areas, census areas.  The latter are delineated cooperatively for statistical purposes by the State of Alaska and the Census Bureau.  In four states (Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, and Virginia), there are one or more incorporated places that are independent of any county organization and thus constitute primary divisions of their states.  These incorporated places are known as independent cities and are treated as county equivalent entities for purposes of data presentation.  The District of Columbia and Guam have no primary divisions and each area is considered a county equivalent entity for purposes of data presentation.  The Census Bureau treats the following entities as equivalents of counties for purposes of data presentation: municipios in Puerto Rico, districts and islands in America Samoa, municipalities in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and islands in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Each county or statistically equivalent entity is assigned a threedigit FIPS code that is unique within a state, as well as an eight-digit ANSI code.


The 2013 TIGER/Line Shapefiles are based on available governmental unit boundaries of the counties and equivalent entities as of January 1, 2013.  


Detailed information about changes in the inventory and codes for county and equivalent areas can be found at:

Core-based Statistical Area (CBSA) Codes – The 2013 county and equivalent entity shapefiles also contain fields with codes for combined statistical area, metropolitan or micropolitan statistical area, and metropolitan division.  Counties form the building blocks for CBSAs.


County and Equivalent Entity National Shapefile Record Layout (Current)
STATEFP2StringCurrent state FIPS code
COUNTYFP3StringCurrent county FIPS code
COUNTYNS8StringCurrent county ANSI code
GEOID5StringCounty identifier; a concatenation of current state FIPS code and county FIPS code
NAME100StringCurrent county name
NAMELSAD100StringCurrent name and the translated legal/statistical area description for county
LSAD2StringCurrent legal/statistical area description code for county
CLASSFP2StringCurrent FIPS class code
MTFCC5String MAF/TIGER feature class code (G4020)
CSAFP3StringCurrent combined statistical area code
CBSAFP5StringCurrent metropolitan statistical area/micropolitan statistical area code
METDIVFP5StringCurrent metropolitan division code
FUNCSTAT1StringCurrent functional status
ALAND14NumberCurrent land area
AWATER14NumberCurrent water area
INTPTLAT11StringCurrent latitude of the internal point
INTPTLON12StringCurrent longitude of the internal point

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