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Census Tracts and Tract Codes

Census tracts are statistical geographic areas and subdivisions of counties (or county equivalent). Census tracts cover the U.S. from wall-to-wall. Each county is comprised of one or more census tracts. Use the interactive table in this section to view Census 2010 tallies of census tracts, block groups and census blocks.

Using the Census Tracts Shapefile/Layer in the CV XE GIS US1 GIS Project
New, April 17, 2019 ... view, locate, examine, map, geospatially analyze census tract geodemographics -- in context of other geography and subject matter. The U.S. census tract shapefile has been added to the ProximityOne "US1" GIS project (included with installation). We have made it easy and free to visually locate census tracts of interest and view the boundaries in context of counties and general topology. Install CV XE GIS or run update if already installed. Examining tracts related to the Opportunity Zones? Each tract includes an identifier enabling you to select or find only those tracts. See details below.

See related sections:
census blocks and block codes
census block groups and block group codes
Tracts: estimates & projections to 2024
Tracts: ACS 2017 demographic-economic interactive tables
Tracts: ACS 2012-2017 5-year change demographic-economic interactive table
Tracts: Employment by Occupation: ACS 2012-2017 5-year change table
boundaries defined by TIGER/Line shapefiles
Warren Glimpse blog on this topic ... searchable list of blog posts

Use the AddressCoder software to:
• determine/assign latitude-longitude coordinates to your address data.
• assign tract, block group and block codes to your address data.
• assign subject matter (demographics) to your address data.
• create a shapefile to map your addresses in context of other geography.

Determine Census Tract Codes Based on Address
  • Use the LBD tool ... key in an address to find codes/names based on address.
  • Get a demographic profile for the address based on the block group or tract.
  • Create a shapefile to map the address(s).

Census tracts within a county are identified by a 4-digit basic code between 0001 and 9999, and may have a 2-digit suffix ranging from .01 to .98; for example, 6059.02. The decimal point separating the 4-digit basic tract code from the 2-digit suffix is shown in U.S. Census Bureau printed reports and maps.

Subject Matter Data
Census tracts average 4,000 population and may be disaggregated in census blocks and census block groups. Census tracts cover the U.S. from wall-to-wall. They are the smallest geography for which American Community Survey data are tabulated for all types subject matter tables. Their "hierarchical" structure makes it possible to aggregate subject matter data, such as the population of a certain age, to higher level geography including counties and metros (but not cities and legislative districts, in general).

Vintages
Census tracts are statistical area geography (as differentiated from political areas). Boundaries and codes may be redefined for each decennial census. Census 2010 tract boundaries and codes will generally remain unchanged until Census 2020. There are a few exceptions.

Codes, Geocodes & Referencing
A census tract code may not be used more than once in a single county, but it may be used again in a different county in the same state or in a county in a different state. Therefore, a particular census tract within the nation must be identified by: its state, its county, and its tract code. One way this is done by the Census Bureau and by data users is to identify a particular tract using an 11-digit code consisting of a 2- digit code for the state, a 3-digit code for the county (either of which may include one or more "leading" zeros), and 6 digits for the census tract (including any leading zeros, and also two “trailing” zeros in the many cases in which the basic tract code has no suffix). For example, the Office of the California Secretary of State, located at 1500 11th St, Sacramento, CA 95814, can be fully identified by the 11-digit code 06067001101, in which:

• States and the territories are identified by a 2-digit code.
• Counties within states are identified by a 3-digit code.
• Tracts within counties are identified 6-digit code.

Combine these codes to uniquely identify a tract in the U.S. (11 characters). For example, the census tract containing the Office of the California Secretary of State, located at 1500 11th St, Sacramento, CA 95814, is uniquely identified by the code 06067001101. In the map views shown below the table, the address has been geocoded using the APIGeocoder and is shown as a red marker.



Some ranges of Census 2010 census tract codes are used to identify distinctive types of census tracts. The code range in the 9400s is used for those census tracts with a majority of population, housing, or land area associated with an American Indian area and matches the numbering used in Census 2000. The code range in the 9800s is new for 2010 and is used to specifically identify special land-use census tracts; that is, census tracts defined to encompass a large area with little or no residential population with special characteristics, such as large parks or employment areas. Census tract codes in the 9900s represent census tracts delineated specifically to cover large bodies of water.

Tracts. Block Groups & Blocks by State/Area -- interactive table
  Click ShowAll button to refresh/reset; click column header to sort on that column; click again to sort other direction.
  See ranking table usage notes below ranking table. See related ranking tables -- http://proximityone.com/rankingtables.htm.


Map View: Census Tracts
Tracts are labeled with green tract codes.
Address 1500 11th St, Sacramento, CA 95814 is shown by red marker.

View created using CV XE GIS.

Is the tract code 11.01 or 001101?
Both. Census tracts within a county are identified by a 4-digit basic code between 0001 and 9999, and may have a 2-digit suffix ranging from .01 to .98; for example, 6059.02. The decimal point separating the 4-digit basic tract code from the 2-digit suffix is shown in Census Bureau printed reports and maps. For geo-referencing, the decimal point is implied and does not appear; the 6-character tract code with lead zeroes is used -- a character string with no blanks and all numbers.

Using the Census Tracts Shapefile/Layer in the CV XE GIS US1 GIS Project
These notes provide information on use of the census tracts layer in the CV XE GIS US1 GIS project.

Install the CV XE GIS software on a windows computer using this installer:
http://proximityone.com/cv/1/cvxe_installer.exe
Requires your Uer Group userid and password.

Method 1 -- Navigate to the Las Vegas area
With CV running and the US1 project open:
Uncheck these layers in the legend panel:
.. Population Gain ...
.. Population Loss ...
Check on the Base Layer

Use the pan and zoom tools on the toolbar to set the map window in that area of interest.
.. Next check on the "Tracts" layer to left of map window. The tract boundaries appear.
.. Next you can optionally check on the Tract Codes layer so that the 11 character tract codes show.
.. Use the pan and zoom tools to further navigate to areas of interest.



Method 2 -- Locate a Tract.
Suppose that you know (hypothetical) that tract 32017950200 (aka 9502.00 in county 017) is a tract of interest. You can zoom to a tract in the follow manner.

With CV running and the US1 project open:
Uncheck these layers in the legend panel:
.. Population Gain ...
.. Population Loss ...
Check on the Base Layer
Click the Tracts layer on

Click the binoculars (find shape) on the toolbar.
Complete the settings as shown in the Find Shape form (shown below)
Click Find button
The zoom operation automatically zooms to that tract.
Click the Tracts Label layer on to view the tract code


Support Using these Resources
Learn more about accessing and using demographic-economic data and related analytical tools. Join us in a Data Analytics Lab session. There is no fee for these one-hour Web sessions. Each informal session is focused on a specific topic. The open structure also provides for Q&A and discussion of application issues of interest to participants.

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Join the ProximityOne User Group to keep up-to-date with new developments relating to geographic-demographic-economic decision-making information resources. Receive updates and access to tools and resources available only to members. Use this form to join the User Group.

Additional Information
ProximityOne develops geographic-demographic-economic data and analytical tools and helps organizations knit together and use diverse data in a decision-making and analytical framework. We develop custom demographic/economic estimates and projections, develop geographic and geocoded address files, and assist with impact and geospatial analyses. Wide-ranging organizations use our tools (software, data, methodologies) to analyze their own data integrated with other data. Follow ProximityOne on Twitter at www.twitter.com/proximityone. Contact ProximityOne (888-364-7656) with questions about data covered in this section or to discuss custom estimates, projections or analyses for your areas of interest.


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