IPUMS zip code data


Does IPUMS or Census ACS website provide zip code level data? If not, where should I access such information?



IPUMS NHGIS provides data tables and GIS boundary files for ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs), which are the Census Bureau’s approximations of the mail carrier routes that “ZIP codes” actually represent.

NHGIS has ZCTA data from decennial censuses and the American Community Survey. Note that the only data currently available from the 2020 census (the P.L. 94-171 Redistricting Data) do not include data for ZCTAs. The Bureau will likely provide 2020 census data for ZCTAs in future releases, but the release dates are not yet determined.

Thank you so much! A follow up question: Is county the finest level of geographic data in IPUMS? If I also want to access tract and group level data, should I also check IPUMS NHGIS?


The smallest identified units in recent public use microdata samples in IPUMS USA are “PUMAs” (Public Use Microdata Areas). PUMAs must contain at least 100,000 residents. Counties with large populations contain multiple PUMAs. In areas where county populations are small, PUMAs correspond to multiple counties. IPUMS USA identifies counties, cities, and metro areas where possible.

IPUMS NHGIS includes data for census tracts, block groups, and blocks, along with some other small sub-county units.

Thank you so much! Are tract and group variables available at Census ACS? I’m also knew to IPUMS NHGIS–does it only provide summary tables or micro data files where I can do the analysis? One of my question is to look at the percentage of employment status within tract/block group within NYC–does IPUMS NGGIS provide all these variables?

IPUMS NHGIS provides summary tables and boundary files for Census and ACS data; IPUMS USA provides microdata. Note that the microdata files will not include the same geographic detail available in the summary files to respect respondent confidentiality. When I search IPUMS NHGIS for tables at the block-group level with the “Labor Force and Employment Status” topic for the 2015-2019 5-year ACS, I see 47 tables (including “Employment Status for the Population 16 Years and Over”). I encourage you to try out the data finder (brief video tutorial here) and see if any of the available tables meet your needs as they will allow you much more geographic specificity than the microdata.