2010 - 2020 Tract Geographic Crosswalk?

Hi, we are hoping to use a 2010-2020 tract geographic crosswalk (built from the block crosswalk) in order to avoid going down to the block-level every time we transform data across census vintages. Is there a pre-existing crosswalk at the tract-level on the NHGIS website that I’m missing?

If not, would this be an appropriate way to transform block weights to the tract-level?

Multiply 2010 block population by WEIGHT to get partial block population counts. Sum partial block population counts up to the tract level (grouping by 2010 and 2020 tracts) to get partial tract population counts. Divide these partial counts by the 2010 tract population to get WEIGHT_TRACT.

We’ve begun work on tract-to-tract crosswalks and aim to release them in a few weeks, hopefully by the end of August.

Until then, yes, the method you describe is a good way to generate a tract-to-tract crosswalk. We’ll essentially use that same method for our crosswalk, doing the same thing with block counts of housing units & households, etc., in addition to population, in order to produce various interpolation weights.

That said, as explained on our crosswalks page, we recommend starting from smaller units than tracts if possible. If you start with tract data, it often requires disaggregating from large tracts to smaller tracts and tract parts; if you start from smaller units, you can avoid much of that disaggregation and the errors that come with it. E.g., if there’s data on your characteristics of interest for block groups, you could use our crosswalk from 2010 block groups to 2020 tracts to get more accurate standardized tract data than if you start with 2010 tract data.

Looking forward to using the tract-to-tract crosswalks! Any updates on when they might be available?

Thanks for your interest. Unfortunately, other priorities have come up here. It may yet be another month or two before we release the tract-to-tract crosswalks.

Ahh, too bad! I know how that goes, though.

Thanks for getting back to me. I’ll keep my eye on the site.



On a similar note, will NHGIS release time series tables with geographic integration standardized to 2020 in the next month or so? If not, I assume we use the 2010 geographic integration and apply the 2010-2020 crosswalk. Is that correct?

I’ve responded to Peter’s question here in this separate related post.

Hi Jonathan, has there been any progress on the tract-to-tract crosswalks? I am working with a dataset which I hope to assess change from 2010 to 2020 but the finest scale for the source data is tract level. Do you have a solution is the crosswalk walks are not yet available?

I’m sorry, Catherine. Various other demands keep delaying the tract-to-tract crosswalk release. It’s in the mix for things I hope to get done this spring, but there remain some other more pressing things that may still push it out farther.

In the meantime, with an extra step (and some much larger files), you could use the NHGIS block-to-block crosswalks to standardize data from tracts–or to create your own tract-to-tract crosswalks–following the instructions I provided in this post. There I describe how to use block-to-block crosswalks to standardize data from block groups–which is no longer necessary now that we’ve released block group crosswalks. But the instructions apply the same to tracts if you just replace “block group” with “tract”.


Hi Jonathan! Thank you for your answers to this thread! Since it’s been a few months since your last comment I’m wondering if you have a update on the tract to tract crosswalk for 2010 to 2020?

I’m doing some work this year where we are definitely going to be using tract to tract conversion. Based on your previous comments I’ve figured out how we can accomplish this using the IPUMS block group crosswalk, but of course a tract to tract crosswalk would be better. Thanks again for your previous answers and for all the great resource you are publishing!

Hi Rachel, still no definite date, but it’s a top priority for the next few weeks. I’ll try to post back here when they’re out, but we’ll also definitely announce it in an email to IPUMS users.