U.S. Department of Commerce

USA Counties is part of a series of products featuring county-level data. The data files include all of the data published for counties in the latest editions of the State and Metropolitan Area Data Book and the County and City Data Book, as well as a number of data items not previously published. Emphasis has been placed on extending time series in contrast to most other statistical files, which feature data for the recent period.

These files contain a collection of data from the U. S. Census Bureau and other Federal agencies, such as the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration. The universe varies from item to item within the file, e.g., all persons, all housing units, all local governments, etc.

Subject Matter Description

Demographic, economic, and governmental data are presented for the purpose of multi-county comparisons or single county profiles. Current estimates and benchmark census results are included.

The data files cover the following general topics: Accommodation and Food Services, Age, Agriculture, Ancestry, Banking, Building Permits, County Business Patterns, Civilian Labor Force, Crime, Earnings, Education, Elections, Employment, Government, Health, Hispanic or Latino, Households, Housing, Income, Manufactures, Nonemployer Statistics, Population, Poverty, Race and Hispanic Origin, Retail Trade, Social Programs, Survey of Business Owners, Taxes, Veterans, Vital Statistics, Water Use, and Wholesale Trade.

Geographic Coverage

These files provide data for the United States, 50 states and the District of Columbia, and 3,143 counties or county equivalents defined as of July 2009. (This file also contains 3 previously deleted counties Yellowstone National Park, MT; Clifton Forge, VA; and South Boston, VA. For the purpose of data presentation, the said counties are shown up until the time of deletion. For further information, please see http://www.census.gov/geo/www/tiger/ctychng.html.

Time Period Coverage

The time periods covered for each data item vary. Generally, for data series that are available on an annual basis, several years of data will be presented (e.g., personal income data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis is available from 1969 through 2007). For decennial and economic census data, comparable information from a prior census is available in many cases (e.g., 1930, 1940, 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000 population; 1979, 1989 and 1999 per capita money income; 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997, 2002, and 2007 retail sales; 1978, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997, 2002, and 2007 value of farm products sold). 2005-2009 American Community Survey data are being introduced.

Limitations to the Data

Because the data comes from different source agencies and from different programs within the same source agency, the user is cautioned to check the related footnote file entries for the various data items. Footnotes can relate to either the data or geography being presented. All possible footnote text is presented underneath each of the tables appearing in the USA Counties application or presented as a link beside or in place of the data.

Many of the BEA footnotes, as well as some Census sources and most non-Census sources, relate to the geography of the county areas. Census geography defines independent cities as county equivalents; however, many sources combine the data for these cities with the surrounding or adjacent counties. Three states (Maryland, Missouri, and Nevada) have one independent city; Virginia has 39 independent cities. The counties with the data, as well as the independent cities with zero data, would have footnote entries, respectively.

Other areas with a significant number of footnotes would be Alaska, which has had several major changes in the way county areas have been handled over the years.

It should be noted that most of the crime footnotes relate to the completeness of the data; the data are as reported to the FBI. Many of the footnotes on State totals indicate that the State total includes data not distributed at the county level.