Census Geography

To provide a computer generated set of maps for use in conducting censuses and surveys and for showing their results geographically; determine names and current boundaries of selected statistical areas; show these entities on a variety of maps; develop geographic code schemes; develop computer files
of area measurements, geographic boundaries, and map features with address ranges.

Agency - Department of Commerce

The Department of Commerce fosters and promotes the nation's economic development and technological advancement through vigilance in international trade policy, domestic business policy and growth, and promoting economic progress at all levels.

Office - See list of 12 Bureau of the Census Regional Offices listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog, or www.census.gov/field/www.
Website Address


Program Accomplishments

The Census Bureau maintains the MAF/TIGER data bases and related applications software to support the various censuses and household surveys managed by the Census Bureau with geographic products including geographic files and maps. Digital geospatial data, called TIGER/Line files, are available for the entire U.S. and its possessions. TIGER/Line files are available for the whole country from the Census Bureau's web site or on DVD. Additionally the MAF/TIGER data bases serve as the mapping base for many different automated, printed, and plotted map types required by the Census Bureau's programs. The Census Bureau's Internet site (address: http://www.census.gov/) includes mapping features and data displayed on maps, and PDF versions of the Census 2000 maps designed to be used with the data tabulations.

Uses and Use Restrictions

The U. S. Census Bureau prepares base maps that are used in the planning and conduct of its various censuses and surveys.

The Census Bureau also prepares for publication detailed maps showing States and State equivalents (i.e., the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the several U. S. territories and possessions), counties and county equivalents, Congressional districts, county subdivisions, places, American Indian reservations, urbanized areas, metropolitan areas, census tracts, block-numbered areas, blocks, and other geographic units.

Some of these maps show roads and other physical features, others show only area outlines and related identifiers.

The Census Bureau also issues U. S. maps showing boundaries (e.g., States and metropolitan areas) and sometimes data sets of maps.

For the 2000 Decennial Census, an automated geographic data base, called the Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) system was used to generate maps, and other geographic products, including digital geospatial data files (TIGER/Line files).

In addition, the Census Bureau, in conjunction with State, local and tribal governments, maintains records of changes in legally-defined areas, and delimits the boundaries of Census-defined statistical areas for use in the next Decennial Census, and develops geographic code systems that are used in the electronic data processing of the information.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Interested persons, organizations, or government agencies.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Interested persons, organizations, or government agencies.


Not applicable.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination


This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

By written request.

Award Procedures

Not applicable.


Not applicable.


Act of August 31, 1954, Public Law 83-740, 13 U.S.C. 8.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Not applicable.


Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Not applicable.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Not applicable.

Post Assistance Requirements




In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), audits of states, local governments, and non-profit organizations, nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in federal awards are exempt from federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.



Financial Information

Account Identification



FY 07 $40,210,000; FY 08 est not available; and FY 09 est not reported.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Not applicable. The Census Bureau is only an "information source" and not a fund granting agency; i.e., our assistance is limited to helping people understand what data are available to use in their analysis.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

The Census Catalog is available off the Census Bureau's homepage at https://censuscatalog.mso.census.gov/esales/start.swe. Please contact Customer Services, (301) 763-INFO (3646) for additional ordering information. Geographic information is available at http://www.census.gov/geo/www/index.html.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

See list of 12 Bureau of the Census Regional Offices listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog, or www.census.gov/field/www.

Headquarters Office

Geography Division, U.S. Census Bureau, Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20233-7400. Telephone: (301) 763-1128 or e-mail: geography@geo.census.gov. For more information on maps and other geographic products, contact Customer Services, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC 20233. Telephone: (301) 763-INFO (3646). Published maps are generally sold by Superintendent of Documents. Unpublished maps are sold by Customer Services.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Not applicable.

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