From the census page on gazetteer files, only 2010 contains data for public use microdata areas. 2012 and onwards have other files but nothing on PUMAs. Are PUMA boundaries redrawn once a decade?

  • Not sure if this question belongs here or the open data community. I figured I'd try this place first since more people here might be familiar with the ACS.
    – Michael Wu
    Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 19:56

1 Answer 1


The US Census Bureau's statistical areas are only redrawn once each decade, including the PUMAs. Even through the census tracts and ZIP Code Tabulation Areas appear in each year of the gazetteer files, in reality they are only redrawn once every ten years (although it's possible they may update them to fix errors and make small adjustments). The boundaries that can change each year are legal ones (like counties and places) or ones defined by other agencies (like metro areas, designated by the OMB).

The PUMAs are a bit out of synch with the other statistical areas; most statistical geographies are redrawn and published with each decennial census, but new PUMA boundaries are usually released a couple years later (since summary decennial census data is not tabulated at the PUMA level; PUMAs are used for the American Community Survey summary data and for microdata from both series).

I checked those gazetteer files and the PUMAs listed under 2010 are the current boundaries; it's easy to tell because they have ID numbers and names. In contrast the 2000 PUMAs only had id numbers.

Here are a couple of good resources that describe the 2010 PUMA geographies:

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