The ACS is the premier dataset for state and local data

The Census Bureau asks State Data Centers to involve interested data users, such as those in tribal, state, and local (e.g., county, incorporated place, and town/township) governments, as well as regional planning agencies or organizations, to ensure that Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMAs) meet the needs of a variety of data users.

PUMA Geographic Delineations

PUMAs are nonoverlapping, statistical geographic areas that partition each state or equivalent entity into geographic areas containing no fewer than 100,000 people each. They cover the entirety of the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Census Bureau defines PUMAs for the tabulation and dissemination of Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) data. Additionally, the American Community Survey and Puerto Rico Community Survey use them to disseminate their respective period estimates. 

The Census has published a sixty-day Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) notice in the Federal Register for the PUMAs.  

Comments on this sixty-day PRA notice will be due by September 4, 2020.

Click here for the publication version of the notice.


The Census Bureau invites State Data Centers from each state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to delineate PUMAs. States or equivalent entities with less than 200,000 people (e.g., Guam and U.S. Virgin Islands) are not eligible to participate because their populations do not meet the minimum threshold to delineate more than one PUMA.

The Census Bureau provides a 90-day review period for State Data Centers to prepare their 2020 PUMA submission. The Census Bureau only accepts PUMA delineations from each state's respective state data center.

The Geographic Update Partnership Software (GUPS), required for use in 2020 PUMA delineation, allows for the sharing of work performed by multiple participants to facilitate a collaborative effort. Though collaboration is encouraged, the State Data Centers are the official participants for this program and must coordinate the delineation work suggested or prepared from others. 

About the SDC Program.

The State Data Center (SDC) Program is one of the Census Bureau's longest and most successful partnerships. This partnership between the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the island areas and the Census Bureau was created in 1978 to make data available locally to the public through a network of state agencies, universities, libraries, and regional and local governments.

The SDC lead organization is appointed by the governor of each state/commonwealth, Puerto Rico, island area (American Samoa, Guam, The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Virgin Islands) or the mayor of the District of Columbia.

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