Python wrapper for the US Census Geocoder
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Census Geocode

Census Geocode is a light weight Python wrapper for the US Census Geocoder API, compatible with both Python 2 and 3. It comes packaged with a simple command line tool for geocoding an address to a longitude and latitude, or a batch file into a parsed address and coordinates.

It's strongly recommended to review the Census Geocoder docs before using this module.

Basic example:

import censusgeocode as cg

cg.coordinates(x=-76, y=41)
cg.onelineaddress('1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC')
cg.address('1600 Pennsylvania Avenue', city='Washington', state='DC', zipcode='22052')

Use the returntype keyword to specify 'locations' or 'geographies'. 'Locations' yields structured information about the address, and 'geographies' yields information about the Census geographies. Geographies is the default.

cg.onelineaddress('1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC', returntype='locations')

Queries return a CensusResult object, which is basically a Python list with an extra 'input' property, which the Census returns to tell you how they interpreted your request.

>>> result = cg.coordinates(x=-76, y=41)
>>> result.input
    u'vintage': {
        u'vintageName': u'Current_Current',
        u'id': u'4',
        u'vintageDescription': u'Current Vintage - Current Benchmark',
        u'isDefault': True
    u'benchmark': {
        u'benchmarkName': u'Public_AR_Current',
        u'id': u'4',
        u'isDefault': False,
        u'benchmarkDescription': u'Public Address Ranges - Current Benchmark'
    u'location': {
        u'y': 41.0,
        u'x': -76.0
>>> result
    '2010 Census Blocks': [{
        'AREALAND': 1409023,
        'AREAWATER': 0,
        'BASENAME': '1045',
        'BLKGRP': '1',
        'BLOCK': '1045',
        'CENTLAT': '+40.9957436',
        'CENTLON': '-076.0089338',
        'COUNTY': '079',
        'FUNCSTAT': 'S',
        'GEOID': '420792166001045',
        'INTPTLAT': '+40.9957436',
        'INTPTLON': '-076.0089338',
        'LSADC': 'BK',
        'LWBLKTYP': 'L',
        'MTFCC': 'G5040',
        'NAME': 'Block 1045',
        'OBJECTID': 9940449,
        'OID': 210404020212114,
        'STATE': '42',
        'SUFFIX': '',
        'TRACT': '216600'
    'Census Tracts': [{
        'AREALAND': 86404594,
        'AREAWATER': 650526,
        'BASENAME': '2166',
        'CENTLAT': '+41.0361462',
        'CENTLON': '-075.9801252',
        'COUNTY': '079',
        'FUNCSTAT': 'S',
        'GEOID': '42079216600',
        'INTPTLAT': '+41.0379841',
        'INTPTLON': '-075.9743749',
        'LSADC': 'CT',
        'MTFCC': 'G5020',
        'NAME': 'Census Tract 2166',
        'OBJECTID': 61245,
        'OID': 20790277158250,
        'STATE': '42',
        'TRACT': '216600'
    'Counties': [{
        'AREALAND': 2305974186,
        'AREAWATER': 41240020,
        'BASENAME': 'Luzerne',
        'CENTLAT': '+41.1768961',
        'CENTLON': '-075.9890400',
        'COUNTY': '079',
        'COUNTYCC': 'H1',
        'COUNTYNS': '01209183',
        'FUNCSTAT': 'A',
        'GEOID': '42079',
        'INTPTLAT': '+41.1727868',
        'INTPTLON': '-075.9760345',
        'LSADC': '06',
        'MTFCC': 'G4020',
        'NAME': 'Luzerne County',
        'OBJECTID': 866,
        'OID': 27590277115518,
        'STATE': '42'
    'States': [{
        'AREALAND': 115884236236,
        'AREAWATER': 3395797284,
        'BASENAME': 'Pennsylvania',
        'CENTLAT': '+40.9011252',
        'CENTLON': '-077.8369164',
        'DIVISION': '2',
        'FUNCSTAT': 'A',
        'GEOID': '42',
        'INTPTLAT': '+40.9024957',
        'INTPTLON': '-077.8334514',
        'LSADC': '00',
        'MTFCC': 'G4000',
        'NAME': 'Pennsylvania',
        'OBJECTID': 37,
        'OID': 27490163788605,
        'REGION': '1',
        'STATE': '42',
        'STATENS': '01779798',
        'STUSAB': 'PA'


By default, the geocoder uses the "Current" vintage and benchmarks. To use another vintage or benchmark, use the CensusGeocode class:

import censusgeocode
cg = censusgeocode.CensusGeocode(benchmark='Public_AR_Census2010', vintage='Census2010_Census2010')

The Census may update the available benchmarks and vintages. Review the Census Geocoder docs for the currently available benchmarks and vintages.

Command line tool

The censusgeocode tool has two settings.

At the simplest, it takes one argument, an address, and returns a comma-delimited longitude, latitude pair.

censusgeocode '100 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY'

censusgeocode '1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC'

The Census geocoder is reasonably good at recognizing non-standard addresses.

censusgeocode 'Hollywood & Vine, LA, CA'

It can also use the Census Geocoder's batch function to process an entire file. The file must be comma-delimited, have no header, and include the following columns:

unique id, street address, state, city, zip code

The geocoder can read from a file:

censusgeocode --csv tests/fixtures/batch.csv

(example file)

Or from stdin, using - as the filename:

cat tests/fixtures/batch.csv | censusgeocode --csv -

According to the Census docs, the batch geocoder is limited to 1000 rows.

The output will be a CSV file (with a header) and the columns:

  • id
  • address
  • match
  • matchtype
  • parsed
  • tigerlineid
  • side
  • lat
  • lon

If your data doesn't have a unique id, try adding line numbers with the Unix command line utility nl:

nl -s , input.csv | censusgeocode --csv - > output.csv


This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see