You can search for small geographies including census tracts and block groups. Finding census tracts and block groups is useful on the Maps page if you want to quickly zoom in to a neighborhood or on the Tables page if you want to compare smaller geographies. To search for these small geographies, just select the census tract or block group option from the Location Search drop down menu.
PolicyMap lets users enter a FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard) code. Enter the FIPS code and the map will locate and highlight the boundary for that geography.
Census tract codes are always 11 digits, and block groups are always 12. The easiest way to search for a census tract or block group is to copy the code from another source, or from PolicyMap. Census tracts and block groups follow a specific format, where the first two digits represent the state, the next three represent the county within the state, and the next six represent the census tract within the county. Block groups have one additional digit at the end, which represents the block group.
Occasionally, census tracts will be given in a shorter format, as a 1-4 digit number, possibly with two decimal places. This number can be converted into the six-digit code referenced above that represents the census tract within the county and state. If the number has decimal values, remove the decimal (for example, "4.02" would become "402"). If the number has no decimal places, add “00” to the right of the number (for example, “4” would become “400”). Then, if the number has fewer than six digits, add zeros to the left of the number until there are six total digits (for example, “400” would become “000400”). You will still need to look up the state and county code to insert the full code into the Location Search bar; those codes can be looked up at the Missouri Census Data Center’s Geographic Codes Lookup site.
Here are some examples of suggested geographies in the Location Search bar and what they mean:
- Census tracts and other geographies labeled "2000 and 2010 boundary" indicate that the FIPS code did not change and the boundary did not significantly change between the 2000 and 2010 census.
- Census tracts and other geographies labeled "2000 boundary" or "2010 boundary" indicate that between the 2000 and 2010 census a geography was added or removed, the boundary significantly changed, or both.
- Census tracts and other geographies which appear twice, with "2000 boundary" or "2010 boundary" as separate items, indicate that between the 2000 and 2010 census, a FIPS code was retained but the boundary significantly changed.
Please note: Block group suggested locations will never display a FIPS code with "2000 and 2010 boundary" and will always show the FIPS code with either "2000 boundary" or "2010 boundary," because block group boundaries generally changed significantly from 2000 to 2010.
If you do not know the census tract or block group number that an address is in, here are simple instructions on how to retrieve the information using PolicyMap:
- Go to PolicyMap and clear any data layer.
- Search for a general geography your area would be located in (e.g. city, county, zip code, or actual address).
- Click on the location of your area. The information bubble will display a variety of geographies including the census tract and block group number.
- The geography in bold will be the geography highlighted on the map.
- The block group number will generally be the last geography in the bubble and contain the full 12-digit FIPS code and then the 11-digit census tract code above.
Read our Quick Start Guide to learn the basics of PolicyMap and jump right into using the power of data. If you want to know more about a feature or topic, send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org subject "PolicyMap Tutorial."