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What about appending county data?

Question

Last Updated: April 18, 2013

What do I need to know about appending county data?

Answer

There's a little more to it than you might think.

Did you know...

County data cannot be determined by just the ZIP Code.

Contrary to popular belief, ZIP Codes are not shapes. They are lines or routes traveled by mail carriers. They are allocated, changed, and even retired according to the needs dictated by efficient mail delivery. This means that ZIP Codes do not line up with municipal boundaries like those of a city, county, or even a state. There are even some ZIPs that cross as many as six counties and some that cross state lines!

Why would I need county information?

There are many reasons for wanting to determine the county of a particular address, including:

  • Proper assignment of voting districts.
  • Correct calculation of sales tax.
  • Demographic profiling using MSA (CBSA) analysis.
  • Regulatory compliance, such as medical or insurance-related compliance.
How can I determine the county?

The only way to properly determine which county a particular address is found in is to perform address standardization and verification against the official file, such as with our LiveAddress service. Once the address has been properly pinpointed and verified, the county is matched and returned.