Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the difference between establishment and firm? What about companies?

These are terms used in our economic census and survey activities. 

  • Establishment:  A business or industrial unit at a single location that distributes goods or performs services.
    • It is not necessarily identical with a company or enterprise, which may consist of one or more establishments.

    • When two or more activities are carried on at a single location under a single ownership, all activities generally are grouped together as a single establishment. The entire establishment is classified on the basis of its major activity and all data are included in that classification.

  • Firm:  A business organization or entity consisting of one domestic establishment (location) or more under common ownership or control. All establishments of subsidiary firms are included as part of the owning or controlling firm.

  • Company:  For the economic census and other economic programs, the terms "firm" and "company" are synonymous.

Check the American FactFinder for a general glossary of census terms (on the top banner).


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