At A Glance

Noteworthy Characteristics

  • May be helpful for research related to physical activity.
  • Useful for researchers familiar with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software, because TIGER/Line® Shapefiles can be used to construct local sprawl measures (usually in combination with other data sources, such as census demographic data).
  • Allows mapping of census demographic information.
  • Contains underlying road files that include name and address ranges for most streets.
  • Legal and statistical boundaries correspond to the American Community Survey, Population Estimates, Economic Census, and United States Decennial Census.

Website

http://www.census.gov/geo/maps-data/data/tiger.html

Purpose

To publish spatial data on the location and relationship of various geographic features (e.g., streets, rivers, railways, legal, and statistical boundaries) in the United States (US) and its territories.

Target Population

Geographic location/feature (with latitude/longitude coordinates) in the US and its territories.

Conducted

Began in 1990 (earliest files available from the Census Bureau are from 1992). Updated annually. Most recent year published was 2012.

Sponsor

Census Bureau, US Department of Commerce

Special Note(s)

To make use of these data, a user must have mapping or GIS software that can read shapefiles. The TIGER/Line® Shapefiles contain geographic entity codes that can be linked to the Census Bureau’s demographic data, available on the Census Bureau’s American FactFinder.

TIGER/Line® Files in ASCII text format were published on a semiannual basis before 2007. Beginning in 2007, the format changed from ASCII text to shapefiles. TIGER/Line® Shapefiles are now published annually.

Please refer to the TIGER Web site for updates as the data become available.

See also American Community Survey, Population Estimates, Economic Census, and United States Decennial Census.

Use the contact information below if TIGER/Line® Shapefiles are obtained directly from the US Census Bureau and further information is needed concerning the content of the files.

Contact:
Geographic Products Branch, Geography Division
Email: geo.tiger@census.gov.
Phone: +1 (301) 763-1128.

Sampling

Sample Design

Not a survey. Census of specified geographic features (see Geocode/Linkage section) throughout the US and its territories. Geographic features rather than populations are covered. This census attempts to include specified geographic features in all areas of the US and its territories, so sampling is not performed.

Sample Size

Data gathering does not involve sampling. Number of units available for analysis depends upon the geographic feature of interest. Data on geographic features and legal and statistical areas are available for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and island territories.

Special Note(s)

Data reflect geographic features and legal/statistical areas in effect as of January 1 of each year.

Key Variables

Geocode/Linkage

NameMethods of Assessment
Congressional and state legislative districts, zip code tabulation areas (ZCTAs), address range, tribal areas, area hydrography and landmarks, block, block group, census tract, commercial region, consolidated city, county or equivalent, school districts, metropolitan statistical area, military installation, traffic analysis zone, urban area, urban growth area, voting districtVaries

Other

NameMethods of Assessment
Average block length in square milesTopographic survey
Count of 3-way and 4-way intersections (for ratio of these intersections to all intersections)Topographic survey
Count of intersections (for intersection density measure)Topographic survey
Percentage of small blocks (<0.01 square mile)Topographic survey
Street classification (use to construct traffic safety measure)Topographic survey

Data Access and Cost

Data Availability

2006-2012 TIGER/Line® Shapefile data are available.

Cost

Free of charge online.

Special Note(s)

The TIGER/Line® Shapefiles are available to download by nation, state, county, or American Indian Area (AIA). For example, the state boundaries are available in one nation based shapefile or in individual state based shapefiles. This dataset contains both 2010 and Census 2000 boundary information.

Geocode/Linkage

Geocode Variable(s)

Geocode linkage is flexible, and investigators can obtain data at multiple levels. Investigators also can construct a radius around a geographic area of interest. Shapefiles can be generated around the following geographic areas: Congressional and state legislative districts, zip code tabulation areas (ZCTAs), address range, various tribal areas, area hydrography and landmarks, block, block group, census tract, commercial region, consolidated city, county or equivalent, unified, secondary, and elementary school districts, metropolitan statistical area, military installation, traffic analysis zone, urban area, urban growth area, voting district, and more.

Existing Linkages

Census TIGER/Line® Shapefiles data on geographic locations and relationships can be linked to the Census Bureau’s demographic data by using geographic entity codes included in the TIGER/Line® Shapefiles.

Selected Publications

General

Carver A, Timperio AF, Crawford DA. Neighborhood road environments and physical activity among youth: The CLAN study. Journal of Urban Health; 2008;85(4):532-544.

Ewing R, Schmid T, Killingsworth R, Zlot A, Raudenbush S. Relationship between urban sprawl and physical activity, obesity and morbidity. American Journal of Health Promotion 2003;18(1):47-57.

Methods

Carbaugh LW, Marx RW. The TIGER system: A Census Bureau innovation serving data analysts. Government Information Quarterly 1990;7(3):285-306.

Rizzardi M, Mohr MS, Merrill DW, Selvin S. Interfacing US census map files with statistical graphics software: Application and use in epidemiology. Statistics in Medicine 1993;12(19-20):1953-1964.