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Population Estimates Program

The Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program produces estimates of the population for the United States, its states, counties, cities and towns, as well as for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and its municipios. Demographic components of population change (births, deaths, and migration) and demographic characteristics (age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin) are produced at the national, state, county, Puerto Rico Commonwealth and muncipio levels of geography. In addition, housing unit estimates are produced for the nation, states, and counties.

Each year, the Population Estimates Program utilizes current data on births, deaths, and migration to calculate population change since the most recent decennial census, and produces a time series of estimates of population. The annual time series of estimates begins with the most recent decennial census data and extends to the vintage year. The vintage year (e.g., V2016) refers to the final year of the time series. The reference date for all estimates is July 1, unless otherwise specified.

With each new issue of estimates, the Census Bureau revises estimates for years back to the last census. As each vintage of estimates includes all years since the most recent decennial census, the latest vintage of data available supersedes all previously produced estimates for those dates.

These estimates are used in federal funding allocations, as denominators for vital rates and per capita time series, as survey controls, and in monitoring recent demographic changes. Although the American Community Survey also produces population, demographic, and housing unit estimates, it is the Population Estimates Program that produces and disseminates the official estimates of the population for the nation, states, counties, cities and towns, and estimates of housing units for states and counties.

Vintage 2016 estimates will be released on American FactFinder on a flow basis in 2017. The following is a tentative schedule for these releases:

  • National, state, and Puerto Rico total resident population and demographic components of population change—January 2017
  • National resident, resident plus Armed Forces overseas, civilian, and civilian noninstitutionalized, and household populations—Monthly, beginning January 2017
  • County, and metropolitan and micropolitan statistical area total resident population and demographic components of population change (Note: metro and micro areas are composed of one or more whole counties or equivalent entities. Producing metro and micro area population estimates involves the aggregation of the appropriate county-level population estimates.)—March 2017
  • Puerto Rico municipio total resident population—March 2017
  • City, town, and other subcounty area total resident population—May 2017
  • National, state, and county housing units—May 2017
  • National, state, and county resident population by age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin—June 2017
  • Puerto Rico Commonwealth and municipio resident population by age and sex—June 2017