Under the designation census-designated place ( CDP , in German a settlement area defined for statistical purposes ) the United States Census Bureau records politically dependent areas in the United States Census , which takes place every ten years and which can be distinguished from their surroundings based on demographic characteristics. CDPs are given an official name, but are not incorporated places and therefore not corporations .
The term was introduced for the 1980 census and replaced the previously used, almost identically defined unincorporated place .
The basis for the population census in the USA has always been the municipalities ( incorporated places ), i.e. the politically independent administrative unit that is next lower than the county . In many counties, however, parishes do not cover the entire county area. Especially in the states in the Midwest and Southwest, there are large areas that are not assigned to any municipality. In theory, a county can exist without any parishes.
In order to capture these areas socio-demographically in the census, they are designated as census-designated place by the Census Bureau . The boundaries of these CDPs are determined in cooperation with local authorities and are based on the actual settlement structures. By dividing the CDPs, the aim is to map those settlements as best as possible, which are recognizable as such in terms of population distribution and location-like structures, but are not politically independent. In very sparsely populated areas, the CDPs are therefore often not very meaningful. In line with the objective of mapping settlement structures, the classification can be adjusted from census to census depending on the development of the settlement. Until 1990 there were minimum population numbers and special exceptions for Indian reservations . For the 2000 census, these regulations were abolished.
ZIP code tabulation areas
Since the informative value of the census-designated places is low in particularly sparsely populated areas, the Census Bureau evaluated the data after the 2000 census for the first time and again after the 2010 census using the ZIP code . Since the postal districts are not systematically oriented towards municipal, county and in a few cases not even state borders, the results of this evaluation cannot be directly compared with the other population data. In addition, ZIP codes are cut comparatively often, so that the assignment only reflects the current status.
- US Census Bureau: Geographic Terms and Concepts - Place - definition of a census designated area (English)
- US Census Bureau: Geographic Areas Reference Manual - Places
- US Census Bureau: ZIP Code Tabulation Areas
- US Census Bureau: Geographic Areas Reference Manual - Places, 9-20, 9-24