|Excel (xls) Format||
|CSV Format||Download Sample||Download Sample|
|Download available||90 days||N/A|
|Personal / Educational Use||Yes||Yes|
|Lookup tool on commercial website||Yes||No|
|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|
|Annual Population Changes
|Age, Gender, and Race Stats||Yes||No|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
* Fields in bold with are only available in the commercial version.
|All ZIP Codes|
|type||Military, PO Box, Standard, or Unique|
|decommissioned||Whether this zip has been decommissioned|
|Matching to Other Regions||Learn more|
|primary_city||Primary city according to USPS|
|acceptable_cities||Acceptable cities according to USPS|
|unacceptable_cities||Unacceptable cities according to USPS|
|state||U.S. state abbreviation|
|county||County within state|
|area_codes||Telephone area codes within this ZIP|
|country||Alpha-2 country code|
|Latitude & Longitude Coordinates||Learn more|
|latitude||Latitude, precise to approximately 1 mile radius|
|longitude||Longitude, precise to approximately 1 mile radius|
|precise_latitude||Latitude centered within largest section of ZIP code|
|precise_longitude||Longitude centered within largest section of ZIP code|
|latitude_min||The min latitude to determine ZIP code bounding box|
|latitude_max||The max latitude to determine ZIP code bounding box|
|longitude_min||The min longitude to determine ZIP code bounding box|
|longitude_max||The max longitude to determine ZIP code bounding box|
|area_land||Land area in square meters (divide by 2,589,988.110336 for square miles)|
|Housing Unit Estimates||Learn more|
|housing_unit_count||Recommended: Housing units using Census data (Learn why)|
|estimated_households_2005||Estimated households using IRS data|
|estimated_households_2006||Estimated households using IRS data|
|estimated_households_2007||Estimated households using IRS data|
|estimated_households_2008||Estimated households using IRS data|
|estimated_households_2009||Estimated households using IRS data|
|estimated_households_2010||Estimated households using IRS data|
|estimated_households_2011||Estimated households using IRS data|
|estimated_households_2012||Estimated households using IRS data|
|estimated_households_2013||Estimated households using IRS data|
|Population Estimates||Learn more|
|population_count||Recommended: Population using Census data (Learn why)|
|estimated_population_2005||Estimated population using IRS data|
|estimated_population_2006||Estimated population using IRS data|
|estimated_population_2007||Estimated population using IRS data|
|estimated_population_2008||Estimated population using IRS data|
|estimated_population_2009||Estimated population using IRS data|
|estimated_population_2010||Estimated population using IRS data|
|estimated_population_2011||Estimated population using IRS data|
|estimated_population_2012||Estimated population using IRS data|
|estimated_population_2013||Estimated population using IRS data|
|black_or_african_american||Black or African American population|
|american_indian_or_alaskan_native||American Indian population|
|native_hawaiian_and_other_pacific_islander||Native Hawaiian population|
|other_race||Other race population|
|two_or_more_races||Two or more race population|
|total_male_population||Total male population|
|total_female_population||Total female population|
|pop_under_10||Population under 10 years old|
|pop_10_to_19||Population 10 to 19 years old|
|pop_20_to_29||Population 20 to 29 years old|
|pop_30_to_39||Population 30 to 39 years old|
|pop_40_to_49||Population 40 to 49 years old|
|pop_50_to_59||Population 50 to 59 years old|
|pop_60_to_69||Population 60 to 69 years old|
|pop_70_to_79||Population 70 to 79 years old|
|pop_80_plus||Population 80 years or older|
|percent_population_in_poverty||Percent of the population living below the poverty level|
|median_earnings_past_year||Median individual earnings within past year|
|median_household_income||Median household income within past year|
|median_gross_rent||For renters, median gross rent paid per month|
|median_home_value||Median owner occupied home value|
|percent_high_school_graduate||Percent of population with at least a high school diploma|
|percent_bachelors_degree||Percent of population with at least a bachelors degree|
|percent_graduate_degree||Percent of population with a graduate degree|
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.
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).
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.
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.
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_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.
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).
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:
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.
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.