ArcGIS Business Analyst

Updated U.S. geographic boundaries in ArcGIS Business Analyst (June 2024)

With the June 2024 data release, there are boundary changes to several U.S. geography types used in ArcGIS Business Analyst Web App:  

As a result, saved sites and reports using out-of-date geographic boundaries will not be accessible in the Business Analyst Web App project pane. 

 

Using updated ZIP Codes 

U.S. ZIP Code boundaries are available for five-digit ZIP Codes. This year there are more than 50 changes to ZIP Code boundaries, including new boundaries and revisions due to population and delivery route changes. Additionally, the June 2024 Business Analyst release will use TomTom-based ZIP Code boundaries. This will result in changes to the geometry and number of geographies available in the Esri 2023 and Esri 2024 data sources. Consequently, there may be differences in previously saved sites that have used ZIP Codes or are built from a collection of ZIP Codes.  

ZIP Code changes impact saved sites 

Previously saved ZIP Code-based geographic sites may no longer be aligned with the two demographic vintages and should be updated. Old sites using historic ZIP Code boundaries will not be available in the project pane when using either the Esri 2023 or Esri 2024 data sources. Similarly, previously run reports and exported infographics will show the old boundaries. Where appropriate, we recommend rerunning those reports.  

ZIP Code changes impact reports and infographics 

There may be differences in infographics, comparison reports, and multi-area reports when comparing the updated ZIP Codes to previous years. This may be due to changes in the geographic boundaries or the underlying data. Where boundaries or data have changed, but the ZIP Code number has not, differences between the current and historic data are expected. 

 

Using planning regions instead of counties in Connecticut 

In the June 2024 Business Analyst Web App release, Connecticut administrative boundaries are updated to utilize planning regions instead of counties. Connecticut’s state administrative entities have changed from using eight counties to using nine planning regions. Planning regions replace counties at the level of geography below state level.  

Comparing Connecticut counties to Connecticut planning regions
To learn more about this geography change, see the blog article U.S. Census American Community Survey (ACS) Updated in ArcGIS Living Atlas (December 2023).

While this change was originally petitioned to Congress in 2019, it was not implemented by the U.S. Census Bureau until after the 2022 data was released. Data from Esri 2021, Esri 2022, and Esri 2023 data sources use the old Census boundaries. The forthcoming Esri 2024 data source will use the new planning regions. (The Esri 2021 and Esri 2022 data sources will be deprecated in the June 2024 release.) 

All Connecticut tracts and block groups within these new planning regions have a new FIPS code whose first five digits reflect the new administrative entities.  

 

Using CBSAs with updated delineations 

Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) are composed of central and outlying counties surrounding a population nucleus (such as a city), including related urban areas and adjacent communities. CBSAs are reclassified every Census with a combination of data and census information to reflect how urban areas and the people that live within them are integrated.  

A CBSA is either a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) with a population of over 50,000 people, or a micropolitan statistical area (μSA), with a population of 10,000 to 50,000 people. For instance, Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, is an MSA, whereas Seaford, Delaware, is a μSA. 

In the June 2024 Business Analyst Web App release, many CBSAs have updated delineations. There are a few reasons why CBSAs change. If the population size decreased, then a CBSA may be demoted from a metropolitan statistical area to a micropolitan statistical area or a non-CBSA. Conversely, if the population size increased, then a CBSA may be promoted from a micropolitan statistical area or a non-CBSA to a metropolitan statistical area. Likewise, the shifting population trends may result in a different allocation of counties to a CBSA.  

Twelve CBSAs experienced name changes from the last CBSA release in 2013 due to changes where a different principal city may be included or dropped.  

Map of CBSA changes
To interact with a map visualizing changes to CBSAs, see the web map 2023 Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas in the US. This web map was created by the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Tennessee.

 

Boundary changes impact saved sites and reports 

These geography boundary changes impact maps, reports, and analysis.  

The best practice is to update and refresh your reports and custom analytics with each annual release of Business Analyst data, or when boundaries change. To learn more about how changing boundaries can impact your work, check out these blog articles:  

About the authors

I'm the Product Engineering Lead for Business Analyst and GeoEnrichment. I've spent 30 years applying spatial analysis to enable business and government to overcome their organizational challenges big and small. Customer insight and feedback drive our product and industry strategy at Esri.

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Sarah David writes about ArcGIS Business Analyst. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and dog. Outside of work, she loves to read, hike, and cook plant-based meals.

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