If you’re using Mara’s excellent instructions for working with Census 2010 data, you’ll need to know about Summary Levels or SUMLEVs in step 6.

What are Census Summary Levels (SUMLEV)?

Simple Answer: SUMLEV is a Census Bureau code to indicate geography type. For example, in the raw Census 2010 data, all states have a SUMLEV code of “040.”

A Touch of Complexity: SUMLEVs also designate hierarchical relationships for the geographies. For example, a SUMLEV of “050” indicates a County WITHIN a State. A SUMLEV of “140” indicates a Census Tract within a County within a State.

Census Summary Levels

Below is a chart showing SUMLEVs for common geographies.

Geographies SUMELV Hierarchy
Census 2000 & 2010
State 040 State
County 050 State-County
County Subdivison 060 State-County-County Subdivision
Tract 140 State-County-Tract
Block Group 150 State-County-Tract-Block Group
Place(aka City) 160 State-Place

Odd Man Out: Census Blocks

Census Blocks have different Summary levels for Census 2000 and Census 2010.

  • For Census 2000, the SUMLEV for Census Blocks is 101. The geographical hierarchy is State-County-County Subdivision-Place/Remainder-Tract-Block Group-Block.
  • For the Census 2010, the SUMLEV for Census Blocks are either 750 with a hierarchy of State-County-VotingDistrict/Remainder-County Subdivision-Place/Remainder-Tract-Block Group-Block OR 755 with a hierarchy of State-County-VotingDistrict/Remainder-County Subdivision-Subminor Civil Division-Tract-Block Group-Block.

Below are the original sources for Summary Level data from the Census Bureau. Use these to look up a geography types and SUMLEVs that aren’t listed above.

2 replies on “What are Census Summary Levels (SUMLEV)?”

Comments are closed.