Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMAs) provide most detailed U.S. wall-to-wall geography (2,378 areas) for which current year demographic-economic data are available and annually updated. Use the related Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) data to develop custom-defined subject matter estimates for one or all PUMAs. While PUMS files contain data for respondents across the U.S., the PUMA is the most detailed unit of geography identified in the PUMS files.
PUMAs may now be one of the more obscure geographic areas for which American Community Survey (ACS) demographics are tabulated. Their usage popularity will change in the years ahead. In a sense PUMAs and PUMS are joined at the hip. But 2010 vintage PUMAs are now both new and offer many analytical opportunities on their own. “Using the PUMS data” will be blog topics in the near future.
2010 Vintage PUMA Geography
The 2,378 2010 vintage PUMAs are developed using Census 2010 geography, cover the U.S. wall-to-wall, conform to state boundaries, and where possible are comprised of whole Census 2010 census tracts. The first use of the 2010 vintage PUMAs is with the ACS 2012 PUMS and 1-year summary statistic data (released October 2013). Use this interactive table to examine 2010 PUMAs and PUMA component area geography.
PUMAs are special non-overlapping areas that partition each state into contiguous geographic units containing no fewer than 100,000 people each. 2010 PUMAs cover the entirety of the U.S. In addition to the U.S. wall-to-wall coverage, PUMAs offer good geographic drill-down for larger metro counties and central city areas. The graphic presented below shows PUMAs (red boundaries with yellow PUMA geocode label) in the Phoenix, AZ area. Viewing graphic with gesture/zoom enabled device suggested.
Where is My PUMA?
PUMA maps may be viewed in two ways. PUMA maps are shown in state by state Web pages that may be accessed via the scroll section in the right panel of the PUMA2010 section. The maps appear in the form shown above. Another option, providing more analytical opportunities, is to display the PUMA shapefile using GIS software such as CV XE GIS. The second option provides the ability to view PUMAs in context with other geography, such as census tracts, and to display thematic pattern maps using the ACS 2012 data.
Linking the Data to the Geography
The Phoenix area PUMA map above shows that PUMA 00110 intersects with the Scottsdale area. We could see exactly how by adding the city/place shapefile layer to the GIS project that is also using a PUMA shapefile layer. The five-digit code 00110 is unique only to Arizona. To make the PUMA code nationally unique requires adding the Arizona FIPS code (04) to the PUMA code: 0400110. Using the ACS 2012 PUMA economic characteristics interactive table (see above), we then navigate to the PUMA row of interest to see that the median household income for this PUMA (item E086) is $81,304. This value is shown in the graphic presented below in column/item E086 for the row highlighted in blue (PUMA 0400110). This is a close estimate to the $MHI for the Scottsdale area. Viewing graphic with gesture/zoom enabled device suggested.
The ACS 2012-1 year estimates were released in October 2013. The data are very fresh! The ACS 2013-1 year estimates will be released in the fall 2014, and similarly on an annual basis — for the same PUMA geographic area definitions. Soon we will have a time series . Then we will able to examine trends based on wide-ranging demographic-economic data for each or all of the 2010 vintage PUMAs.