I'm basically trying to duplicate broadbandmap.gov and how you can enter a zip code and return local broadband providers for a project. I downloaded their data files here. They use census blocks to identify locations. Then if you search by zip code or city, they say, "The list above only displays the broadband providers offering service in the Census Block that is in the center of your search results. The results do not display a summary of the search area, only the center of the search. For example, if you search for a city name only, then the search would return the approximate center of that city and only the information in the Census Block at the center of the city would be displayed."

How do I convert this data from census block to geo-center of zip code? Is there a resource available somewhere?


1 Answer 1


So, you want to convert this broadband provider data from Census Block, a division of geography specifically designed for population research that is intended to be slightly more stable over time, to zip code, a service route that is in no way intended for population research and is not stable over time?

There are no resources out there that convert Census Block to Zip Code. The closest one can convert Census Block to Zip Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA), which are approximations of the plural zip code occurring for addresses within a single Census Block in 2010.

I would recommend using the Census Block, or Census Tract, instead. Census Blocks are unique within city, county, state, and cover the entire United States; zip codes on the other hand cross-over cities, counties, and even on a few occasions cross-over states. Not only that, but zip codes don't cover the United States landscape. It is only meant as a tool for delivering parcels.

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    Is there a cross reference for census block/tract to city or any geographic identifier? the block/tract is great but it's meaningless without being able to easily see the physical location that it references. Thanks!
    – user7084
    Commented Jul 18, 2015 at 1:14

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