NHGIS
National Historical Geographic Information System

Data Availability

Tabular data availability
Time series table availability
GIS boundary file availability

Tabular data availability

NHGIS includes summary tables from all U.S. decennial censuses, from the American Community Survey, and from a selection of other U.S. surveys.

Highlights:

  • Decennial census data
    • County and state tables since 1790
    • Census tract tables since 1910
    • Tables for all original census summary levels, down to census blocks, since 1970
  • 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 American Community Survey 1-, 3-, and 5-Year Summary Files
  • 2009 American Community Survey 5-Year Summary File
  • County Business Patterns data (1970-2002, annual)
  • Agricultural census data (1840-1950)
  • Religious bodies data (1850-1952)
  • Manufacturing census data (1840-1940)
  • 2010 Census data for SABINS school attendance areas

The NHGIS Data Finder allows users to explore which tables are available by geographic level, by year, by topic, and/or by source dataset.

More details:

Time series table availability

NHGIS time series tables cover a range of basic 100%-count statistics from the 1970-2010 censuses as well as several popular sample-based statistics from the 1970-2000 long-form surveys and the 2008-2012 5-Year American Community Survey. There is also a Total Population table for states and counties from 1790 to 2010 and a Persons by Sex table for 1820 to 2010.

Time series tables cover up to 8 geographic levels ranging from the nation down to census tracts. The set of covered levels varies among tables according to which statistics are available for each level in each source year.

To see all topics for which time series are available, open the Topics filter window through the NHGIS Data Finder and look for topics marked with the "TS" icon.

Details for all available time series tables:

NHGIS Time Series Tables Details (PDF)

GIS boundary file availability

The table below summarizes the geographic units and years covered by NHGIS shapefiles. Note that the extent of coverage may vary among geographic units and across years. For example, census tracts covered only 8 cities in 1910 and did not cover the entire U.S. until 1990. More detailed coverage information is provided through the links in the table.

The years in the table generally identify the survey years for which the boundaries were used in tabulations, which may differ from the vintages of the boundaries. For example, 2011 NHGIS boundary files represent areas used in 2011 American Community Survey tabulations, including 2009 Core Based Statistical Areas and 2000 Public Use Microdata Sample Areas.

Unless otherwise noted, the basis for 2000 and all earlier NHGIS boundaries is the 2000 TIGER/Line files, and the basis for 2010 and later years' boundaries is the TIGER/Line release of the same year.

More information on boundary file years and sources is provided here.

Boundary File Availability by Geographic Unit and Year

Primary Census Divisions 2012-2013 2011 2010 2009 2000 1990 1980 1950-1970 1910-1940 1790-1900
Nation X X X X Xa          
Region X X X X Xa          
Division X X X X Xa          
State [map] [list] X X X X Xb X X X X X
County [map] [list] X X X X Xc Xd Xd Xd Xd Xd
Census Tract [map] [list] X X X * Xc Xd Xd Xd Xd  
Block Group X X X * Xb X        
Block     X   Xb X        
 
Civil / Urban / Metropolitan Units 2012-2013 2011 2010 2009 2000 1990 1980 1950-1970 1910-1940 1790-1900
County Subdivision X X X X Xb X Xe      
Subminor Civil Division [map] X X X              
Place [map] X X X X Xb X Xe      
Consolidated City [map] X X X X Xa          
Urban Area [map] X   X X X X        
Core Based (Metropolitan/Micropolitan) Statistical Area X X X X            
Metropolitan Division X X X X            
Combined Statistical Area X X X X            
Metropolitan Statistical Area/
Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area [map]
        X X        
Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area         X X        
Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area [map]             X X    
Standard Consolidated Statistical Area [map]             X      
New England City and Town Area [map] X X X X            
New England City and Town Area Division X X X X            
Combined New England City and Town Area [map] X X X X            
New England County Metropolitan Area [map]         X X        
 
Legislative / Electoral Units 2012-2013 2011 2010 2009 2000 1990 1980 1950-1970 1910-1940 1790-1900
Congressional District [map] Xf X X X Xb X        
State Legislative District (Upper Chamber) [map] X X X X Xa          
State Legislative District (Lower Chamber) [map] X X X X Xa          
Voting District [map] Xk   X   Xb X        
 
School Units 2012-2013 2011 2010 2009 2000 1990 1980 1950-1970 1910-1940 1790-1900
School District (Elementary) [map] X X X X            
School District (Secondary) [map] X X X X            
School District (Unified) [map] X X X X            
SABINS School Attendance Area [map]     Xg              
 
Native American / Alaskan / Hawaiian Units 2012-2013 2011 2010 2009 2000 1990 1980 1950-1970 1910-1940 1790-1900
Alaska Native Regional Corporation X X X X Xa          
American Indian Area/Alaska Native Area/Hawaiian Home Land [map] X X X X Xb X        
American Indian Area/Alaska Native Area (Reservation or Statistical Entity Only) X X X X Xa          
American Indian Area (Off-Reservation Trust Land Only)/Hawaiian Home Land X X X X Xb          
Tribal Subdivision X X X X Xb          
Tribal Census Tract X X X              
Tribal Block Group X X X              
 
Other Units 2012-2013 2011 2010 2009 2000 1990 1980 1950-1970 1910-1940 1790-1900
5-Digit ZIP Code Tabulation Area X   X   Xb          
Public Use Microdata Sample Area (PUMA) X Xh Xh X X          

Table notes:
a. Based on 2010 (not 2000) TIGER/Line features
b. 2 versions based on 2000 or 2010 TIGER/Line features
c. 3 versions based on 2000, 2008, or 2010 TIGER/Line features
d. 2 versions based on 2000 TIGER/Line features or conflated to 2008 TIGER/Line features
e. Based on 1992 (not 2000) TIGER/Line features
f. Boundaries for the 113th Congress are based on features from the special 113th Congress TIGER/Line release (not 2012 TIGER/Line features)
g. Boundaries available for 2009-2010, 2010-2011, and 2011-2012 school years. All are based on 2010 TIGER/Line features, and corresponding tabular data is derived from the 2010 Census.
h. Based on 2000 TIGER/Line features. (Not available in 2010 or 2011 TIGER/Line source files.)
i. 4 versions based on 2000, 2008, 2009, or 2010 TIGER/Line features
j. 3 versions based on 2000, 2009, or 2010 TIGER/Line features
k. Available for 2012 basis only. (Not available in 2013 TIGER/Line source files.)

* Census tract and block group boundaries derived from the 2009 TIGER/Line files are available, but NHGIS identifies these boundaries with 2000, not 2009, because they do not completely correspond to the units used in 2009 ACS tables. More information is available here.