Frequently Asked Questions

  ADA/508 friendly site


By Group Economic Planning and Coordination

What is the difference between establishment and firm? What about companies?
These are terms used in our economic census and survey activities. ... (more)

I am looking for statistics on total warehouse space (square footage) in the U.S.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration ( http://www... (more)

Can I get industry data for census tracts, block groups, townships, American Indian reservations or other s...
The only geographic area types shown in the economic census are states, metro areas, counties, places (e.g., towns an... (more)

Where can I find answers to several questions I have regarding the Quarterly Financial Report (QFR) program?
Below are some common questions and answers with regard to the Quarterly Financial Report program. Bes... (more)

Do you have information on the number of medical doctors?
Yes. The Census Bureau does collect limited data.Here are some sources:The best infor... (more)

Do you have information on hospital, hospice, and home care? Health care overall?
Yes, if your interest is in the health care industry, you have several options to consult.Health care in gener... (more)

How does the Census Bureau define the word self-employed worker?
The following are self-employed worker definitions:Self-employed in own not incorporated business wo... (more)

Where can I find business failure rates for small and large businesses?
The Census Bureau does not have statistics on business failure rates. Our ... (more)

How can I get statistics on patients using chiropractic care?
For information on chiropractic care, you may wish to try the following sources:National Institute o... (more)

What is NAICS? How do I find a NAICS code?
The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is a method of grouping establishments into industries base... (more)

Where can I get data about public sector jobs to complement the data in the economic census?
The Census of Governments, conducted for the same years as the economic... (more)

County Business Patterns: Why do letters appear in some of the columns instead of numbers?
The Census Bureau uses disclosure symbols to replace data that is suppressed to protect the confidentiality and the inte... (more)

Survey of Business Owners: How can I get data by company size?
Three programs in American FactFinder show size data: The ... (more)

How can I find totals for all industries for a geographic area?
Go to American FactFinder... (more)

How long will it take to complete the Survey of Business Owners (SBO) questionnaire?
Public reporting burden for this survey is estimated to average 10 to 12 minutes per response, including the time for... (more)

What is the Center for Economic Studies (CES)?
The Center for Economic Studies (CES) is a unit of the U.S. Census Bureau established to increase the utility and qua... (more)

Can I get access to the individual records or a list of participating businesses?
No. Individual records cannot be released. Information about individuals and businesses covered by Census Bureau cens... (more)

 I watch the economy closely. Where can I find the release dates for the official economic indicators?
 The Census Bureau issues a number of economic indicator reports that economists and policymakers watch to monit... (more)

Where can I get characteristics of the people working in an area, like occupation, sex, race, and age?
The Census Transportation Planning Package (C... (more)

County Business Patterns: How far back is County Business Patterns data available and how can I access hist...
County Business Patterns (CBP) data has been published every year since 1964 and at irregular intervals since 1946. The ... (more)

What is the difference between building permits and housing starts data?
Building permits data are based on those units authorized to be built.Housing starts data are based on the act... (more)

Survey of Business Owners: Can I get a list of companies enumerated in the Economic Census?
No. Title 13 of the U... (more)

Can I find data about small businesses?
The Census Bureau does not define "small" because the criteria can vary by intended use. However, the Census Bureau o... (more)

What is the Business Dynamics Statistics and what can it do?
The Busine... (more)

County Business Patterns: What information can I find in the County Business Patterns?
County Business Patterns (CBP) is an an... (more)

Survey of Business Owners: Is my response to the Survey of Business Owners required by law?
Yes. Your response to the 2012 Survey of Business Owners and Self-Employed Persons (SBO) questionnaire is required by la... (more)

Do you have Herfindahl-Hirschman indexes?
Herfindahl-Hirschman indexes, a measure of market concentration, are available for manufacturing industries:... (more)

County Business Patterns: Where can I find data on Auxiliary Establishments?
In the 1998 - 2002 County Business Patterns (CBP) publications, corporate, subsidiary, and regional managing offices wer... (more)

Do you have 2002 Economic Census data available for the Island Areas?
2002 Economic Census of Island Areas: Puerto Rico Constructi... (more)

County Business Patterns: Why are the numbers published in County Business Patterns different from those in...
The Economic Census generally uses respondent reported data. County Business Patterns (CBP) uses a combination of report... (more)

Survey of Business Owners: Where can I find sales, employment and payroll totals across all industries, not...
Three Census Bureau programs provide economy-wide totals at the national and local level; they are listed together with ... (more)

Does the economic census collect data for all businesses, or is it a sample?
For all industry sectors except Construction, data are collected directly from all large businesses, and from a sampl... (more)

How can I get concentration ratios?
Concentration ratios of ... (more)

What are HUBZones? Are they Census Bureau geographic areas?
The HUBZone Empowerment Contracting Program stimulates economic development in urban and rural communities by providi... (more)

County Business Patterns: What is the source of the data?
County Business Pat... (more)

Why don't the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) categories within a sector add up to se...
First, you need to understand what is supposed to add up. Theoretically, any sector (2-digit NAICS) total should... (more)

County Business Patterns: I have further questions about County Business Patterns, who should I contact?
Contact the CBP staff either by phone or email, or visit our website for more information. Phone: (301)-763-2580... (more)

What if I don't have the information?
If your 2007 SBO form requests information that is not in your available business records, you may use estimates. The... (more)

County Business Patterns: Is this data only available by county?
County Business Pat... (more)

How are individual businesses classified?
The economic census classifies each business establishment by geography and industry.  We don't, as a rule,... (more)

County Business Patterns: What industries are included or excluded from coverage?
County Business Pat... (more)

Where can I find data classified by the size of the company?
For a discussion of the various ways of defining small business and large business, and links to all relevant data sourc... (more)

How do I extract employment data for multiple zip codes using the Zip Business Patterns CD/DVD-ROMS?
The Beyond 20/20 software included on the Zip Code Business Patterns CD/DVD-ROMS does not provide a feature which all... (more)

Can I download data from American FactFinder?
The Using American FactFinder ... (more)

How can I get a list of the places published within each county?
A reference file that contains the geographic codes, titles, and other information for every valid geographic area fo... (more)

Why don't the NAICS categories within an industry sector add to sector totals?
The NAICS codes are hierarchical, as are the rows of the data tables. It's important to add rows only at the same lev... (more)

Do you have data about chocolate, coffee, and other foods?
Yes, we have data on such items as imports, consumption, manufacture, and retail activities. Here are some ways to ... (more)

County Business Patterns: Are the summary total lines wrong?  Why does totaling the detailed lines not...
Summing up the column data at the detail level may count a single record multiple times.  County Business Patterns ... (more)

Nonemployer Statistics: What is a Nonemployer business?
A Nonemployer business is an establishment without paid employees that has annual receipts of $1,000 or more ($1 or more... (more)

County Business Patterns: Why are there different industry definitions between some years?
Since 1998, County Business P... (more)

Survey of Business Owners: Who establishes the ethnicity and race categories listed on the form?
The ethnicity and race categories listed on the SBO questionnaire are consistent... (more)

How can I convert NAICS-based data into the SIC categories I am familiar with? 
It's not easy. If you are trying to compare data for two years, use data that are classified on the same ba... (more)

Are all businesses included in the economic census?
The economic census covers nearly all businesses and industries in the private, non-farm U.S. Economy. For a list of ... (more)

Where can I find definitions of the data?
In American FactFinder tables, click on the column heading to find the definition of the data item.... (more)

County Business Patterns: Does CBP provide occupational data?
No. County Business Patterns presents the number of employees working in the primary industry of the establishment, rega... (more)

Nonemployer Statistics: Are Nonemployers the same as self-employed individuals?
No. While the majority of Nonemployer business owners are self-employed, a self-employed business owner may be an employ... (more)

Nonemployer Statistics: Do you have Nonemployer data for past years?
Yes. Nonemployer Statistics have been published on an annual basis since 1997. Prior to this, statistics for businesses ... (more)

Nonemployer Statistics: Is an establishment the same business entity as a firm?
An establishment is a single physical location at which business is conducted, services are rendered, or industrial oper... (more)

If a firm sells to both household consumers and businesses, are sales to businesses excluded?
No.  A firm is classified by its major source of receipts by establishment.  Firms are instructed... (more)

Nonemployer Statistics: What industries are included or excluded from the Nonemployer Statistics data?
Most economic industries are represented in Nonemployer Statistics data. This includes approximately 450 NAICS industrie... (more)

County Business Patterns: Can I get a special tabulation of County Business Patterns data?
Statistics of U.S. Businesses (SUSB) staff prepare special tabulations from the CBP data. Such tabulations are prepared ... (more)

Where did the real estate investment trusts (REITs) industry go?
For the 2007 Economic Census, equity real estate investment trusts (REITs) are included in Industry Group 5311, Lesso... (more)

Where can I find rankings showing the largest states in each industry or counties in each state?
American FactFinder allows you to sort output, and thus introduce ranking in any table. Once you have the industry an... (more)

County Business Patterns: Are sales and receipts data available from CBP?
No. Sales and receipts data are available from other Census Bureau programs. For more information, refer to the Census B... (more)

County Business Patterns: Are schools, colleges, or universities included in the County Business Patterns d...
Private education institutions are included in the ... (more)

Survey of Business Owners: When will the results of the 2012 Economic Census and the 2012 SBO be available?
The first 2012 Economic Cens... (more)

Why are data missing for some geographic areas?
To prevent disclosure of informatio... (more)

County Business Patterns: Where can I find information on government employment and payroll? 
Employment and payroll data for Federal, State, and Local governments are not part of the County Business Patterns data ... (more)

Where can I find totals across all industries, not just sector-by-sector totals?
Varying in methodology, there are several different sources to get cross-industry totals.... (more)

Nonemployer Statistics: Where can I find information about the characteristics of Nonemployer businesses or...
The Survey of Business Owner... (more)

Where can I find data on a certain topic?
If you know that the census has the information you want but you can't find the right table, you can use the ... (more)

Can I get county or metro area data for sectors not published at that level in the Economic Census?
chart i... (more)

County Business Patterns: How often is County Business Patterns published?
Statistics are published annually, approximately 18 months after the end of the reference year. ZIP Code Business Patter... (more)

Nonemployer Statistics: Is there any overlap between the number of businesses reported in the County Busine...
No, there is no double-counting of businesses between the two data sets. Statistics reported in the ... (more)

Nonemployer Statistics: I have further questions about Nonemployer Statistics, who should I contact?
Contact the Nonemployer Statistics staff either by phone or email, or visit our website to learn more. P... (more)

Can I get a list of the companies enumerated in the economic census?
No. Title... (more)

Nonemployer Statistics: Does Nonemployer data cover Island Areas businesses?
Nonemployer Statistics excludes businesses located in the island areas. However, the ... (more)

Nonemployer Statistics: Is there data published on the size of the receipts earned by Nonemployer businesses?
Starting with the 2009 Nonemployer Statistics data, a Receipts Size Class distribution is published to provide the numbe... (more)

Survey of Business Owners: I need detailed industry and geographic area data from the Economic Census ...
The most comprehensive and detailed industry and geographic area data come from the economic census every 5 years, for y... (more)

What do the symbols on the tables mean?
In American FactFinder tables the alphabetic and character symbols indicate data suppressions and other caveats about... (more)

Is rail transportation data included in the 2007 Economic Census?
No. Rail transportation is out of scope for the 2007 Economic Census. For a list of industries not cove... (more)

County Business Patterns: Can you provide a list of companies that correspond to the data in my county?
No. The Census Bureau is bound by ... (more)

Did you know there is a web site to help businesses understand the economic census and how it benefits them...
The site includes economic snapshots of selected industries a... (more)

What is the Commodity Flow Survey?
The most current data 2007 Commodity Flo... (more)

Survey of Business Owners: Why was I selected to receive the Survey of Business Owners?
You were randomly selected for the SBO sample to represent businesses in your industry and geographic area.  The SB... (more)

How do I find information on sales for my county?
Go to American FactFinder... (more)

What information do you have on the Synthetic Longitudinal Business Database (SynLBD)?
Please see the below questions and answers with regard to the Syntheti... (more)

Why aren't agriculture or public administration (government) data available?
Statistics about the agriculture sector are covered in the Census of Agr... (more)

Survey of Business Owners: Besides the economic census, what other business data are available from the Cen...
In addition to economic census-related surveys (the Survey of Business Owners and the Commodity Flow Survey), the Census... (more)

What is included in the grocery store estimate?
The grocery store estimate represents total receipts of stores that are primarily engaged in the sale of groceries. T... (more)

Survey of Business Owners: How do I locate companies by name and contact points?
The United States Code, ... (more)

Can I get select local area data for the economic census?
Yes.  See our economic census select data for your local... (more)

How do I use American FactFinder?
American FactFinder is an on-line database that allows data users to find, manipulate, and download selected Census B... (more)

County Business Patterns: What are statewide establishments?
The “Statewide” geography classification includes establishments with paid employees that lack a fixed location or t... (more)

Survey of Business Owners: What existing data can I get from the Survey of Business Owners (SBO) and/or the...
You can use the following Census Bureau websites to access the SBO and the Economic Census results: ... (more)

How can I find sales information for a specific industry?
Go to American FactFinder... (more)

Where can I find data from previous economic censuses?
Data are available online for some previous economic censuses:2002 Economic Census data are in American F... (more)

Do the published sales include nonemployer firms?
Yes. The estimate includes both employer and nonemployer firms.For more information, visit the ... (more)

Are foreign sales included in the e-commerce estimate?
The e-commerce and total sales estimates include sales covering all store and non-store retail locations in the Unite... (more)

What is seasonal adjustment?
Seasonal adjustment is the process of estimating and removing seasonal effects from a time series in order to better ... (more)

Nonemployer Statistics: What is the source of the Nonemployer data?
Nonemployer Statistics data originate primarily from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Business income tax records are... (more)

Do you have industry ratio data available?
Yes. See our economic census industry ratio page.... (more)

Where can I find information on the business forms, and whether they can be submitted online?
Our Economic Division has developed a website that ... (more)

Where is the Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey's frequently asked questions?
Please refer to our Vehicle Inventory and Use Surv... (more)

Are there any more current data?
The U.S. Census Bureau publishes a variety of annual, quarterly, and monthly surveys that provide more timely data th... (more)

What kind of test was used to identify untypical levels?
Each data series was analyzed by comparing the September and October 2001 levels to a range of typical levels as dete... (more)

Nonemployer Statistics: Why do letters appear in some of the columns instead of numbers?
The Census Bureau uses disclosure symbols to replace data that is suppressed to protect the confidentiality and the inte... (more)

Nonemployer Statistics: Are nonprofit organizations included in the Nonemployer Statistics data?
No. Tax-exempt organizations are excluded. ... (more)

Do you have the procedural histories of the Economic Census and the Population and Housing Census...
For procedural histories of the Economic Census, go to:... (more)

Do you have a website where I can find the Economic Programs frequently asked questions?
In addition to questions at the Answer Center, see our ... (more)

Survey of Business Owners: Are my survey responses kept confidential? (External)
Yes.  By law (Title 13, United States Code, Sections 9 and 214) your responses are completely confidential and may ... (more)

Survey of Business Owners: Why does the Survey of Business Owners ask about gender, ethnicity, race, and ve...
The SBO is the only source of statistics about the demographic characteristics of the owners of approximately 26 million... (more)

Survey of Business Owners: Who uses the Survey of Business Owners data?
Government program officials, industry organization leaders, economic and social analysts, and business entrepreneurs ro... (more)

How has NAICS industry classification changed since the 2002 Economic Census?
Only six of the twenty NAICS sectors had ch... (more)

Can I get copies of economic census forms my company filed?
Yes. In order to protect the confidentiality of your company's information, requests must be made in writing from an ... (more)

Survey of Business Owners: How do I use demographic or population data with economic data?
Since the codes used to identify each geographic area in the 2007 Economic Census are consistent with the codes used in ... (more)

County Business Patterns: Are businesses that are owned and operated by Native American tribes included in ...
Yes, these businesses are included as part of the ... (more)

Nonemployer Statistics: Are Nonemployer data available for my local area?
Nonemployer data are published down to the County level. Data are also tabulated at the Metropolitan/Micropolitan area, ... (more)

What kinds of data are available?
Generally, economic data can be classified by industry and geography.See how economic census data are org... (more)

What do the geographic types (Place, Metropolitan/Micropolitan Statistical Areas, Region, etc.) mean?
Geographic types are defined in the sidebar of the ... (more)

Can the Census Bureau estimate the effect of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Advance Monthly Retail Trad...
No. We cannot isolate the effect of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Advance Monthly Retail Trade and Food Services... (more)

Survey of Business Owners: Why does the government take the Survey of Business Owners?
The SBO is part of the Economic Census program, which the Census Bureau is required by law (Title 13 of the United State... (more)

Survey of Business Owners: Why ask now about the 2007 Survey of Business Owners?
The SBO requests 2007 information now because the survey sample cannot be selected until all business income tax returns... (more)

When do new data come out? How do I check to see when the data I'm interested in will be released?
All data from the 2007 Economic Census have been released on ... (more)

Why do I need to go to American FactFinder? Where are the PDF and HTML tables?
Starting with the 2007 Economic Census, data are no longer available in print, PDF, HTML or CD/DVD-ROM formats. Limit... (more)

The 2007 data I am looking for are not available yet. Where can I find older data?
Because 2007 Economic Census data are released over time, the 200... (more)

How many firms are surveyed to estimate e-commerce sales?
E-commerce sales for the Monthly Retail Trade and Food Services Survey are estimated based on the monthly activity of... (more)

County Business Patterns: Does County Business Patterns cover Island Areas businesses?
Since 1998, data for Puerto Rico has been published as part of the ... (more)

Where can I find what business data are available for my geographic area?
The Business page shows which business census progra... (more)

How have the geographic areas changed since the 2002 Economic Census?
Geography changes from the 2002 Economic Census can be found in the ... (more)

Are you estimating total retail sales differently as a result of measuring e-commerce sales?
No. The Monthly Retail Trade Survey covers all sales of establishments primarily engaged in retail activities, includ... (more)

Nonemployer Statistics: How often are Nonemployer Statistics published?
Statistics are published annually, approximately 18 months after the end of the reference year. ... (more)

Survey of Business Owners: Can I complete the Survey of Business Owners online?
Not at this time.  Since the 2007 Survey of Business Owners (SBO) has been completed, recipients of the 2007 SBO-1 ... (more)

Survey of Business Owners: Who was eligible to receive the Survey of Business Owners?
Businesses were eligible to be selected for this survey if they reported any business activity on any one of the followi... (more)

Why does it take so long to get economic census data?
Forms are mailed at the end of the reference year (i.e., 2007), and data collection continues throughout most of the ... (more)

Do you have plans to release quarterly industry data?
No. More detailed information, including industry and merchandise category detail, can be obtained from the annual su... (more)

Did you calculate the August to September and September to October percent changes without the alteration?
No. The alteration enabled the Census Bureau to produce the best estimates of adjusted sales values and percent chang... (more)

Are post offices included in the 2007 Economic Census?
No.  The U.S. Postal Service is out of scope for the 2007 Economic Census.  For a list of ... (more)

Is there a census of agriculture?
Indeed there is a census of agriculture, and the United States has collected such data since 1840. Prior to 1992... (more)

Survey of Business Owners: How can I get more information for the 2007 Survey of Business Owners?
Call 1-888-225-4022 Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Eastern time.  Our telephone staff can answer questions ... (more)

Are sales of lottery tickets included in the retail sales estimates?
No. Sales and commissions from sales of government lottery tickets are excluded from the retail sales estimates.... (more)

Are new retail businesses selling via the Internet added to the monthly and annual survey?
Yes. We update our sample regularly to account for new businesses, including retailers selling exclusively via the In... (more)

Are all businesses engaged in e-commerce sales covered in the monthly and annual surveys?
No. The Monthly Retail Trade and Food Services Survey and Annual Retail Trade Survey include only retail firms. It ex... (more)

How do you know that the sample is representative of all retail e-commerce?
All retail firms, including those engaged in e-commerce, are included in the sample selection process.For more... (more)

What corrections are there to the 2002 Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey?
An error with the ADM_MAKE variable exists on the 2002 VIUS CD-ROM.... (more)

Do you have anything on the conversion from analog to digital-TV?
Yes, we do. On Feb. 17, 2009, all full-power TV stations will cease to broadcast analog programming. This transition ... (more)

What kinds of seasonal effects are removed during seasonal adjustment?
Seasonal adjustment procedures for monthly time series estimate effects that occur in the same calendar month with si... (more)

Do you have FAQ's on the Economic Census for American Samoa?
General questions1. ... (more)

Survey of Business Owners: How can a business use economic census data? 
See Uses of the Data on the 2007 Economic Census webpage to learn more about how g... (more)

Did the Census Bureau modify its Advance Monthly Retail Trade and Food Services Survey non-response or esti...
No. Ordinarily, no imputation is done for individual nonrespondents. The MARTS survey accounts for missing data when ... (more)

What is the difference between modular & manufactured homes?
Modular homes require a building permit and are subject to local zoning and building code standards. Manufactured hom... (more)

My question is, do you have a site for the 2002 Economic Census FAQs?
Questions can be found at the Answer Center and also at the Economic Planning and Coordination Division of the U.S. C... (more)

How often is the Monthly Retail Trade Survey sample revised?
The sample is revised approximately every five years. During the life of the sample, we apply quarterly updates which... (more)

Can the Census Bureau estimate the effect of Hurricane Katrina on the Monthly Retail Trade Survey sales and...
No. We cannot isolate the effect of Hurricane Katrina on the August and September 2005 retail sales and inventories a... (more)

Why is there such a large increase in the air transportation industry numbers, specifically NAICS 481111, S...
For the 2007 Economic Census, data on large certificated air passenger carriers are being included for the first time... (more)