The Tennessee State Data Center is tasked with leading the update to the state’s PUMA boundaries and will be seeking input from Census microdata users. Researchers, planners and other data users will be asked to weigh in with proposals and feedback on suggested boundaries.
Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMAs) are statistical boundaries used in conjunction with the Public Use Microdata (PUM) products published by the United States Census Bureau. The PUMA boundaries will be updated following the release of 2020 Census data to ensure they meet standards that protect the confidentiality of individual microdata responses.
U.S. Census Bureau PUMA Update Program
PUMA and PUM data are U.S. Census Bureau products related in conjunction with the decennial census and American Community Survey. You can learn more about the program, read Federal Register notices and draft proposals on the 2020 Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMA) Program website.
|February 8, 2021 – April 30, 2021||Proposed 2020 PUMA criteria posted to Census Bureau website for comments. The comment period ends on April 30, 2021.|
|Spring 2021||U.S. Census Bureau publishes 30-day notice to the Federal Register for comment and concurrently submits final package for review|
|September 2021||State Data Centers notified of program and participant materials shared|
|Fall 2021||Census Bureau conducts training for participating State Data Centers|
|November 2021 – January 2022||90-day review period for State Data Centers to delineate and submit PUMAs|
|Summer 2022||Final 2020 PUMAs and their associated 2020 data available online for use|
2020 PUMA Criteria
Current Status: Draft
On February 8, 2020, proposed criteria and requests for comments were posted to the U.S. Census Bureau’s website. Comments on the proposal will be accepted through April 30, 2021.
2010 PUMA Boundaries and Population
The 2010 PUMA boundaries were delineated following the release of decennial census data in 2011. Data contained in the 2010 Public Use Microdata Sample and American Community Survey Public Microdata Samples for 2012 to 2019 utilize the 2010 PUMA boundaries.
Frequently Asked Questions
Public Use Microdata Areas, or PUMAs, are non-overlapping, statistical geographic areas that partition each state into geographic areas containing no fewer than 100,000 people each. They primarily follow county and census tract boundaries. Public Use Microdata Samples (PUMS) that coincide with these statistical areas are released, including the American Community Survey and the decennial census.
The Census Bureau provides resources to help data users learn more about PUMS including a recorded webinar hosted on March 11, 2020 and a handbook which provides an introduction PUMS data including how the data are organized and can be accessed.
State Data Centers (SDCs) define PUMAs with the cooperation of regional, state, local and tribal governments; organizations; and other interested data users. In Tennessee, the State Data Center is housed at the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Tennessee. In conjunction with the Greater Nashville Regional Council, the State Data Center will lead a process to engage the state’s data users to collect input on the proposed boundary changes.
More information about outreach will be made available in fall 2021 following the U.S. Census Bureau’s release of participant materials and training.
Most PUMA boundaries don’t need to be updated and often are preserved to facilitate comparisons over time. However, some areas will need to be revisited including:
- Identifying PUMAs with more than 200,000 people that can be split into separate areas with at least 100,000 people while meeting other PUMA delineation criteria
- Existing PUMA boundaries falling below the 100,000 person minimum population thresholds
- Areas where portions of PUMAs cross county lines and contain fewer than 10,000 people
Many of the key elements of the PUMA boundary delineation are unchanged, meaning most areas within the state should remain unchanged. However two new criteria to help maintain the anonymity of the microdata survey responses have been introduced.
- Where PUMAs cross a county boundary, each county part must have a minimum population of 10,000 people
- PUMAs may include non-contiguous areas to more fully encompass areas with homogenous population but the each non-contiguous part must have a minimum population of 10,000 people
The Public Microdata Use Sample (PUMS) and the associated PUMA geography are anonymized single-person and single-household responses to American Community Survey questions. They are used in advanced analysis to construct custom tabulations that are not provided thought pre-compiled tables available data.census.gov.
PUMS data can be downloaded and analyzed using statistical software or through the web-based Microdata Access Tool.
The State Data Center is collaborating with the Greater Nashville Regional Council to conduct the 2020 PUMA geography update. Please direct questions or feedback to: