U.S. Geographic Summary Data and Boundary Files

The National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS) provides population, housing, agricultural, and economic data, along with GIS-compatible boundary files for geographic units in the United States from 1790 to the present. (Collection level DOI: 10.18128/C050)

Through the NHGIS, users can download:

  • Boundary files for states and counties back to 1790, for census tracts back to 1910, and for all standard census units, including census blocks, since 1990.
  • Summary tables from all decennial censuses, the American Community Survey, agricultural and manufacturing censuses, and County Business Patterns.
  • Time series tables that link together comparable statistics from multiple censuses using standardized categories and codes.

Research using NHGIS data has examined topics like state-by-state comparisons of health outcomes, segregation and diversity, food deserts, the implications of economic growth on surrounding areas, city location and economic development, gentrification and displacement, and the relationship between hate crimes and terrorism. For a complete list of NHGIS publications, please see the IPUMS bibliography.

Principal Investigators and senior personnel:

  • John S. Adams
  • Catherine Fitch
  • Steven Manson
  • Steven Ruggles
  • Jonathan Schroeder
  • David Van Riper

Supported by:

  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver Institute for Child Health and Human Development
  • National Science Foundation
  • University of Minnesota

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