ZIP Code Database

  • Immediate download
  • Easily opened in Excel or imported into a database
  • No ongoing costs
  • Premium, enterprise quality zip code list
  • Cities, coordinates, demographics, and more
Commercial
$39.99
Personal
Free
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Samples
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CSV Format Download Sample Download Sample
License Terms
Download available 90 days N/A
Personal / Educational Use Yes Yes
Commercial application Yes No
Lookup tool on commercial website Yes No
Redistribution Internal only No
Data Included
All ZIP Codes Yes Yes
Cities Used by USPS Yes Yes
Timezone, area code, county Yes Yes
General Latitude / Longitude Yes Yes
Precise Latitude / Longitude Yes No
Estimated Population Yes Yes
Census Population Yes No
Annual Population Changes
(2005-2013)
Yes No
Housing Units Yes No
Age, Gender, and Race Stats Yes No
Income Levels Yes No
Home/Rent Costs Yes No
Education Levels Yes No

Why buy from us?

We've been providing data to our clients for years and over 225,000 different individuals, organizations, and corporations of all sizes have trusted us to provide them with the high quality data that they need. We don't just tell you about the quality, we show you the results of our verification and research (see below) and make sure you can quickly understand the most accurate ways to use the data we provide. All data is consistently labeled, there are no duplicates, quality data sources minimize any inaccuracies, and multiple data sources verify accuracy. We've done the work to combine data from multiple sources to make sure you have all of the fields you need. Plus, we haven't included dozens of fields that you will never use and only slow you down.

Is your data up-to-date? Why don't you offer monthly/quarterly updates?

  • No recurring fee lock-in. Update when you want.
  • We constantly monitor USPS for changes
  • We only issue updates for significant changes

We constantly monitor USPS data for major changes and release new data when there are significant changes. If you can find any major changes before we make data updates, we'll issue a full refund.

Instead of locking our users into a recurring fee, we let you decide when updates are significant enough to warrant the time and cost of updating. Quite frankly, we don't offer weekly/monthly updates because new ZIP codes aren't frequently introduced. We also don't issue data updates for insignificant changes like updating a ZIP to show it has 3869 deliverable addresses instead of 3866.

Because it can take up to 5 years for people to fully utilize a ZIP, ZIP changes are minimized and a 10 year old data set would still contain 99% of currently active 5 digit ZIP codes. Even so, when evaluating how often you want to update your data, keep in mind that many pieces of information about a ZIP code can be updated over time. We recommend you update your list between once every year and once every 5 years depending on your data needs. We've included the number of new ZIP codes added each year to assist you in making your decision.

Tax Returns Filed for ZIPs Introduced in 2008

Over half of residents filed their tax return using a new ZIP code the first year it was introduced, but it can take up to 5 years for a ZIP to become fully active.

New ZIP codes by year

  • 2016: 10+ new ZIPs serving 5,000+ deliverble addresses
  • 2015: 13 new ZIPs serving 48,000+ deliverble addresses
  • 2014: 25 new ZIPs serving 15,000+ deliverble addresses
  • 2013: 16 new ZIPs serving 10,000+ deliverble addresses
  • 2012: 13 new ZIPs serving 2,000+ deliverble addresses
  • 2011: 12 new ZIPs serving 36,000+ deliverble addresses
  • 2010: 29 new ZIPs serving 6,000+ deliverble addresses

About Redistribution

You may make unlimited copies as long as each copy you make is for internal company use only. For example, you are allowed to make copies for backups as long as those backups are not publicly available. You may also make copies for each workstation for each employee. You may not make the data set publicly available for download over the internet or distribute the complete data set as part of an application provided to customers. However, you may use on public networks such as the internet if used within a lookup application such as a "nearest store lookup" where the data set is not distributed to end users. If you would like to redistribute the data or have a question about acceptable usage, please contact us for further clarification and pricing options.

Existing Orders

If you have already submitted payment for the commercial version or filled out the questionnaire for the free version, you can look up your download links by entering your email address.

ZIP Code Database Schema

* Fields in bold with are only available in the commercial version.

Data Statistics

  • Total ZIP Codes: 42,613
  • 41,950 active and 663 decommissioned ZIP codes
  • ZIP code types:
    • 29,982 STANDARD
    • 9,468 PO BOX
    • 2,462 UNIQUE
    • 701 MILITARY
  • ZIP code locations:
    • 41,399 from the 50 US states
    • 7 AF
    • 81 AS
    • 6 AU
    • 8 CA
    • 146 EU
    • 80 ME
    • 881 NA
    • 4 SA
    • 1 WW
  • Excel file size: 8.84MB
  • CSV file size: 4.24MB

Data Sources

  • Current ZIP codes
    • ZIP code, type, cities: USPS
    • Military place names: MPSA Election Ballot
    • Estimated population: IRS (2005-2013)
    • Latitude/longitude: National Weather Service
    • County, time zone, area codes, and country: Yahoo
    • Population, housing units, demographics: Census (2010)
    • Income, real estate, and education: Census ACS (2013)

Understanding the Relationship Between ZIPs and Cities

Primary, Acceptable, and Unacceptable

When addressing mail, the USPS prefers everyone use the primary city whenever possible. However, we realize that there are many other uses for this data set so we have included lists of other cities that are recognized by USPS. Acceptable cities are recognized by the USPS and should not result in delivery delays. As you will learn below, certain geographic areas are frequently referred to by multiple names. The boundaries of a ZIP code generally have nothing to do with city limits. ZIP boundaries are set to aid mail delivery. As a result, the USPS may refer to an area by a name which may be inside an incorporated city's city limits that uses another name and still have other names that are used in common conversation. The list of unaccpetable cities may be fine for everyday conversation. However, using them when addressing mail will likely result in delivery delays.

ZIP Code Boundaries Do Not Match City Limits

One of the most frequent questions we get is related to matching ZIPs to cities. Remember that the boundaries of a ZIP code generally have nothing to do with city limits. ZIP boundaries are set to aid mail delivery. City limits are not.

Generally, USPS determines a mail route that best suites their needs, they assign a ZIP to that area, and they name the "city" of the ZIP after the post office(s) in that ZIP. As you can see from the example image, about the only time the city limits and ZIP boundaries match up are across state lines and that isn't even universally true. Many ZIPs cross state boundaries.

Think of it this way: if the postal carrier is driving down a road delivering mail and happens to cross the city limits, it makes little sense to have them stop delivering for the rest of the houses on the street simply because the city limits changed. Instead, they'll keep delivering along the street to the next intersection or some other boundary that makes more sense to allocating their available resources (aka drivers).


ZIP "Cities" Often Aren't Incorporated Cities

Futher, USPS does not always use the name of the incorporated city in which the ZIP code is located. The assignment of cities to ZIP codes is more general. The city is usually the name of the main post office.

The image example of New York, NY illustrates this point. The black outline shows the area of the official city limits. Every color coded region within is a different ZIP code. ZIPs with the same city according to USPS have the same color. To avoid overcrowding, only a few labels are shown.

As you can see, the area inside New York city is actually split into many ZIP codes that are each named after different places. Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Bronx are all famous parts of NYC that can easily be picked out in the example. None of them are actually an incorporated city. However, USPS uses those names to indicate the city for the ZIP codes located in those areas. Because the area is so densely populated, many different areas within NYC are given names that are not "New York." Only a small subset of ZIPs in Manhattan use the designation "New York" even though many others exist within the city limits.


ZIP Codes Include Rural Areas

Official City Limits

Cities According to ZIP/ZCTA Boundaries

Explanation

Remember that people in rural areas outside of city limits still need to receive mail. So, ZIP codes cover a much larger portion of the land area in the US than city limits.

This coverage is easily seen in the image examples shown for the area around Memphis, TN. One map shows the color coded areas that make up the official city limits for the various cities in the region. The second map shows all ZIP codes with the same primary city shaded using the same color. Notice how many rural areas are grouped with nearby cities because they share delivery resources.


GeoLocation Information

ZIP coordinate explanation

The latitude and longitude coordinates that are rounded to 2 decimal places should be sufficient for many use cases. Remember that a ZIP code often covers a large geographic area and that very precise latitude and longitude coordinates may be precise down to a very small radius - down to very small fractions of a mile which is much smaller than the geographic area covered by a ZIP code. Changing the latitude or longitude coordinate by a single hundredth of a decimal place results in a shift of approximately 1 mile in any direction. The radius of this shift is shown in the graphic in green. As you can see, the lack of precision due to rounding to two decimal places is insignificant when compared to the reduction in precision caused by reducing a complex shape to a single point. Many of these coordinates have been hand chosen. The lack of additional digits after the decimal serves as a reminder to keep precision in mind when performing any calculations.

The most simple method is to use the formula for a rectangle that uses (latitude_min + latitude_max) / 2 for the latitude coordinate. This method is shown in the example graphic in red. As you can see, this can frequently result in coordinates that do not actually lie within the region covered by the ZIP code. The point chosen using this method is actually located within a small area that is not covered by the ZIP code.

The final method for calculating the ZIP coordinates involves complex shape analysis of the polygon that represents the ZIP code. The result is a coordinate that will be within the largest section of the ZIP code. As you can see from the image where this method is shown in black, this may be significantly different from the other two calculation methods. It can also result in a point that is a much more significant distance from some sections of the ZIP code. For instance, the example has a point that is very far from the south west portion of the ZIP.

When doing any type of calculation from these coordinates, it is important to consider that one is trying to describe a large shape by a single point. Please take the above into consideration when choosing which set of coordinates to use. Each can be useful in different types of situations.

A Comparison of IRS vs Census Population Estimates

Unless you have a specific need for using data from a specific year, we suggest using the population estimates from the Census Bureau (population_count). Our goal is to provide you with the most complete estimates provided by the Census as well as the most current from the IRS while giving you the knowledge to make the choice of which is best in your situation.

Methods of Estimating Population Using IRS Data

While other competitors that offer a free download with IRS data have suggested using the formula of "returns + joint returns + dependents" to estimate population size, the IRS suggests using the number of exemptions. Our research backs up the suggestions put forth by the IRS. Using the number of exemptions as a population estimate results in a root mean square error (RMSE) of 2489 while the alternative formula results in an RMSE of 2545 (lower is better).

Coverage

The Census Bureau conducts the decennial census every 10 years with the most recent in 2010. It is the only population estimate that makes an attempt to count every member of the population (as opposed to sampling). As such, the census provides population estimates for the broadest range of ZIP codes.

Another source of population estimates comes from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). As confirmed by the IRS, the number of tax returns filed for a ZIP code can be used to approximate the number of households and the number of exemptions can be used to approximate the population. We compared the 2010 IRS population estimates with the 2010 Census population estimates.

The IRS lacks data in 3 key areas:

  1. The IRS data omits population estimates for almost all PO Box and unique ZIP codes (approximately 3,730 ZIPs with a total population of 2 million).
  2. The IRS does not provide estimates for Puerto Rico (approximately 125 ZIPs with a total population of 3.7 million).
  3. To protect privacy, the IRS also omits population estimates for ZIPs with less than 100 returns (approximately 1,500 ZIPs with a population of less than 400,000). Of the remaining ZIPs not included in #1 and #2 above that are omitted by the IRS, nearly 95% have a population under 500. Other estimates for ZIPs with a very low population should be viewed with skepticism because the IRS data implements other privacy protection measures.
Readers should notice that the ZIP codes omitted from the IRS data set only account for around 2% of the total population.

ZIPs Omitted from IRS Estimates by Population Size

As you can see most ZIPs omitted from the IRS data also have low population estimates from the Census Bureau. In fact, over 1200 of the missing ZIPs are estimated to have a population of less than 100 people.

Accuracy

The largest objection to the census data is that it tabulates population based on ZIP Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA) as opposed to actual ZIP code. Read more about the differences between ZIP codes and ZCTAs on our home page. In response, the Census Bureau made significant changes in 2010 to how ZCTAs are tabulated.

"There are significant changes to the 2010 Code Tabulation Areas delineation from that used in 2000. For 2010 only legitimate five-digit areas are defined so there is no longer full nation-wide coverage. The 2010 ZCTAs will better represent the actual Zip Code service areas because the Census Bureau initiated a process before creation of 2010 blocks to add block boundaries that split polygons with large numbers of addresses using different ZIP Codes."

"Data users should not use Code Tabulation Areas to identify the official USPS ZIP Code for mail delivery. The USPS makes periodic changes to ZIP Codes to support more efficient mail delivery. The Code Tabulation Areas process used primarily residential addresses and was biased towards ZIP Codes used for city-style mail delivery, thus there may be ZIP Codes that are primarily nonresidential or boxes only that may not have a corresponding ZCTA."

-- U.S. Census Bureau

In general, the IRS underestimates the population of a ZIP as compared to ZCTAs by 10% to 20% for two reason. Both of which are documented by the IRS.

  1. The full U.S. population is not represented because many individuals are not required to file an income tax return. The IRS documents only around 289 million exemptions compared to a population of 312 million estimated by the Census.
  2. Privacy protection measures prevent the IRS from disclosing ZIP level data for all income brackets. While 289 million exemptions are reported when examining state level data that is not subject to privacy protection, only 277 million are reported after privacy protection eliminates some data.

IRS Estimates Compared to Census

What is more important? Accuracy vs More Recent Data

Estimated Annual Change in ZIP Population

Estimated 5-Year Change in ZIP Population