What encoding does the Census distribute TIGER data in? The example on page 88 of PostGIS in Action, Second Edition seems to indicate latin1.

shp2pgsql -s 4269 -g geom_4269 -I -W "latin1"
➥ "tl_2012_states" staging.tl_2012_states |
➥ psql -h localhost -p 5432 -d postgis_in_action -U postgres

1 Answer 1


According to this FAQ entry,

  • TIGER/Line Files and Shapefiles through 2014
  • Cartographic Boundary Files – Shapefiles through 2014
  • Partnership Shapefiles – through 2014

Were all delivered in ISO-8859-1 (latin1), and

  • TIGER/Line Files and Shapefiles 2015*
  • Cartographic Boundary Files – Shapefiles 2015*
  • Partnership Shapefiles – 2015*

While 2015 and later is UTF-8.

*: This data and all future dates

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