A Public Use Microdata Area (PUMA) is a type of geographic unit created for statistical purposes. PUMAs represent geographic areas with a population size of 100,000–200,000 within a state (PUMAs cannot cross state lines). PUMAs are the smallest level of geography available in American Community Survey (ACS) microdata and summary tables. They are designed to protect respondent confidentiality while simultaneously allowing analysts to produce estimates for small geographic areas.

Every ten years, the decennial census results are used to redefine ACS PUMA boundaries to account for shifts in population and continue to maintain respondent confidentiality. This process is intended to yield geographic definitions that are meaningful to many stakeholders.

Most recently, new PUMAs were created based on the 2020 Census; these 2020 PUMAs were implemented in the ACS starting in the 2022 data year. Although Public Use Microdata Area components remain consistent to the extent possible, they are updated based on census results and revised criteria. Therefore, they are not directly comparable with PUMAs from any previous ACS data years. For example, the 2020 PUMAs used in the 2022 data year are distinct from the 2010 PUMAs, which were used in the 2012–2021 ACS data years.