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State & County QuickFacts

Land Area and Persons Per Square Mile

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, data file from Geography Division based on the TIGER/Geographic Identification Code Scheme (TIGER/GICS) computer file. Land area updated every 10 years. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/tiger/index.html or http://factfinder.census.gov.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Census of Population and Housing. Land area is based on current information in the TIGER® data base, calculated for use with Census 2000.

Definitions:

Land area is the size, in square units (metric and nonmetric) of all areas designated as land in the Census Bureau's national geographic (TIGER®) database.

Persons per square mile is the average number of inhabitants per square mile of land area. These figures are derived by dividing the total number of residents by the number of square miles of land area in the specified geographic area. The land area measurement is from the Census 2000. To determine population per square kilometer, multiply the population per square mile by .3861.

Scope and Methodology:

TIGER is an acronym for the digital (computer-readable) geographic database that automates the mapping and related geographic activities required to support the Census Bureau's census and survey programs. The Census Bureau developed the Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) System to automate the geographic support processes needed to meet the major geographic needs of the 1990 census. Land area was calculated from the specific set of boundaries recorded for the entity (in this case, counties, which were then aggregated to metropolitan totals) in the Census Bureau's geographic database.

Land area measurements are originally recorded as whole square meters (to convert square meters to square kilometers, divide by 1,000,000; to convert square kilometers to square miles, divide by 2.58999; to convert square meters to square miles, divide by 2,589,988).

Land area measurements may disagree with the information displayed on U.S. Census Bureau maps and in the TIGER® database because, for area measurement purposes, features identified as "intermittent water" and "glacier" are reported as land area.

The accuracy of any area measurement data is limited by the accuracy inherent in (1) the location and shape of the various boundary information in the TIGER® database and (2) rounding affecting the last digit in all operations that compute and/or sum the area measurements. Identification of land is for statistical purposes and does not necessarily reflect legal definitions.

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