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Info: County and Independent City Definitions - BEA vs. Census
Monday, 22 Sep 2008 16:15 ET
By Andrew Vickrey
In 48 states, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and Census Bureau report county detail in the same way, including cities within their respective counties. In Hawaii and Virginia, however, the Census disaggregates city and county detail, whereas the BEA has defined codes to identify these county/independent city combinations.

The U.S. federal document FIPS PUB 6-4 defines identifiers for "first-order subdivisions of each state and statistically equivalent entity," i.e., areas such as county, parish, borough, or independent city.  We used these identifiers to create our geo codes for counties, which have the form AAnnn -- two letters identifying the state, and three digits for the county within.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) defined codes in the 9000 series to represent county/independent city combinations in Hawaii and Virginia; these combined areas are reported separately by the Census Bureau.  For consistency with other county codes, we changed these to three-digit values.

For example:

  • BEA-based code VA901 - Albemarle + Charlottesville (VA) - FIPS 51901
  • Census-based code VA003 - Albemarle County (VA) - FIPS 51003
  • Census-based code VA540 - Charlottesville City (VA) - FIPS 51540

Note: As of the 1994 publication of the Census Bureau's Geographic Areas Reference Manual, there were 3,141 counties or statistical equivalents in the 50 states and District of Columbia, a number that sometimes changes.  However, the BEA's reporting is based on only 3,111 counties (geo list CT_BEA.LST), and our Census Bureau geo list  (CT_CEN.LST) includes 3,219 areas.  Geo lists are available from the "Tools" menu in DataBuffet.com.

The Moody's Economy.com county forecasts are produced using the BEA's county definitions.

BEA-based code Census-based codes Note
HI901 HI005, HI009  
VA901 VA003, VA540  
VA903 VA005, VA560, VA580  
VA907 VA015, VA790, VA820  
VA909 VA019, VA515  
VA911 VA031, VA680  
VA913 VA035, VA640  
VA918 VA053, VA570, VA730  
VA919 VA059, VA600, VA610  
VA921 VA069, VA840  
VA923 VA081, VA595  
VA929 VA089, VA690  
VA931 VA095, VA830  
VA933 VA121, VA750  
VA939 VA143, VA590  
VA941 VA149, VA670  
VA942 VA153, VA683, VA685  
VA944 VA161, VA775  
VA945 VA163, VA530, VA678  
VA947 VA165, VA660  
VA949 VA175, VA620  
VA951 VA177, VA630  
VA953 VA191, VA520  
VA955 VA195, VA720  
VA958 VA199, VA735  
VA925 VA083, VA780 Note

Note: VA925 and VA780 were removed. The independent city of South Boston (VA780) was made and incorporated within Halifax County (VA083).

Related ReleaseCensus of Employment & Wages (QCEW)
SourceU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
GeographyUnited States
Release DateReference date
21 Aug 20191Q 2019
04 Sep 20191Q 2019
20 Nov 20192Q 2019
04 Dec 20192Q 2019