About the U.S. Census Zip Code Data
Not all areas in the United States have Zip Codes. The Zip Code data from Census does not provide Zip Codes for very rural areas and public lands (in western states a lot of the "public" land is military) because Zip Codes do not exist for many of these areas. Some vendors do sell "full coverage" Zip Code shapefiles. These full coverage shapefiles are not accurate as they assign Zip Codes to areas that actually do not have Zip Codes.
See the discussion below and also search the web - you'll find plenty of information about the problems associated with Zip Code data. Of the many many individuals and companies that use the shapefiles provided by MapCruzin.com only one has deemed them unsuitable. Chances are that you can save yourself a bundle and end up with very useable Zip Code data from MapCruzin.com. If you prefer to pay more, a search of the internet will list plenty of vendors. The following is from the Census FAQ.
Q15: Does the ZIP Code file you have available for downloading contain a
complete and up-to-date list of ZIP Codes?
The ZIP file doesn't include all ZIP Codes because it was based only on those
areas for which we had city-style addresses (which leaves out a lot of rural
areas). The file was created as a byproduct of another operation (a data
product based on the ZIP codes we collected with the 1990 Census data). For
this Census data product, we took advantage of the fact that we had some
ZIP Code data as a consequence of trying to collect addresses for the Census
questionnaire mailout so we published data for those ZIP Codes. This ZIP
internal point file is basically the lat/long for the ZIP Codes in that product.
We put it on the Web in case anyone found it useful. It was not intended to
be an authoritative source on ZIP Codes.
Note that the task of creating a lat/long or polygon file of all ZIP Codes is
not as easy as it seems since ZIP Codes are not designed to be polygons and
can't easily be forced into them - particularly in rural areas. To our knowledge
there are no official internal point or polygon files available. However, because
of the demand for ZIP Code data and maps, the Census Bureau, for Census 2000,
created a new statistical area called the ZIP Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA).
ZCTAs are close area approximations of U.S. Postal Service ZIP Codes and
were designed to overcome the difficulties of defining clear boundaries to which
data could be attached.
Copyright and Use of Shapefiles
The shapefiles on this page are copyrighted as follows. Copyright © 2017 Michael R. Meuser, All Rights Reserved. You may use these shapefiles in any GIS project or to make maps. You may not create copies of the shapefiles for the use of others whether for personal or commercial use. You may not resell the shapefiles. If you require multiple copies of the same shapefile, please contact Mike at [email protected]. Thank You.
About Quality, Accuracy and Suitability
The geodata and shapefiles found at MapCruzin.com may come from a variety of
government, non-governmental and self-reporting private
sources. While we try to assure the accuracy of
this material, we cannot promise that it is
absolutely accurate. We do promise that using the
map layer will be fun, entertaining or educational - possibly even frustrating.
Beyond this, we make no guarantee as to its
suitability for any purpose. We assume no liability
or responsibility for errors or inaccuracies. Please
understand that you download and use these map layers and data at your own
<-- Return to Do It Yourself GIS Maps
Didn't find what you are looking for? We've been online since 1996 and have created 1000's of pages. Search below and you may find just what you are looking for.
Michael R. Meuser
Data Research & GIS Specialist
MapCruzin.com is an independent firm
specializing in GIS project development and data research.
We created the first U.S. based
interactive toxic chemical facility
maps on the internet in 1996 and we
have been online ever since. Learn more about us and our services.
Have a project in mind? If you have data, GIS project or custom shapefile needs contact Mike.
Report Broken Links
Subscribe for Updates