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Initial Tennessee 2020 Public Use Microdata Area Alternatives Available

Draft Public Use Microdata Area (PUMA) geography are now available for review and comment through January 26, 2022.

Update (2/7/2021):
Tennessee’s proposed 2020 Public Use Microdata Area boundaries (PUMAs) were finalized and submitted to the U.S. Census Bureau in late January 2022. Maps and more information about the proposals are now available.

The Tennessee State Data Center (TNSDC), along with other similar organizations across the country, are tasked by the U.S. Census Bureau with drafting geographic features called Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMAs). This work follows the release of the 2020 Decennial Census results.

PUMAs are statistical areas based on counties and census tracts and contain at least 100,000 people. A sample of anonymized 2020 Census and American Community Survey responses, called microdata, are published for each PUMA.

TNSDC has posted two PUMA alternatives for review:

  1. Minimal changes to existing PUMAs to preserve continuity between decades.
  2. Increase data availability and better comply with Census Bureau guidance about PUMA boundaries.

A final alternative will be created based on feedback received from Tennessee data users. The deadline to submit comments to TNSDC is January 26, 2022. Each state must submit PUMA boundaries to the Census Bureau by January 31, 2022.

Learn More About the PUMA  Alternatives

PUMA delineation guidance, interactive maps, additional information and instructions for submitting comments are available on the TNSDC website.

More Background

Public Use Microdata Samples (PUMS) are used by researchers and analysts to create custom tabulations not available in precompiled tables accessed through

Because PUMS data includes both individual and household responses, PUMAs are revised after each decennial census to ensure that they include at least 100,000 residents. Population increases and decreases must be weighed along with a number of other criteria to ensure the data provided for each PUMA remains useful to researchers and analysts.

Questions and comments about the proposals can be directed to the Tennessee State Data Center at (865) 974-6070 or