I have two datasets with columns described below:

A list of all "place" names derived from here (US Census):

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And this one, a list of county FIPS codes, also derived from the US Census (here)

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I need to match the placefp codes (shown above in the first able) with the countyfips codes (shown above in second table), e.g. get the county for every "place." I can't seem to find a mapping of the place FIPS to the county FIPS, and it doesn't appear that the counties are included

Where could I find a mapping of the "place" FIPS codes to the county FIPS codes?

  • If this is open data then it may be worth researching/asking at the Open Data Stack Exchange.
    – PolyGeo
    Apr 11, 2018 at 23:42
  • You can do a join on state code and county name
    – Ian Turton
    Apr 12, 2018 at 7:26
  • @IanTurton just didn't know if that would be sufficient to accurately match up the records.
    – quantif
    Apr 12, 2018 at 16:03

3 Answers 3


I think the reason you were having so much trouble is that many cities cross into more than one county. You'll see that in the PLACElist.txt file from the Census Bureau's FTP site - it will list all the counties that a city is in - for example Sedona, Arizona is in both Coconino and Yavapai counties.

  • 1
    That's a great file considering how deep they buried it in the file server. Mar 28, 2021 at 8:24

The Census FIPS files do NOT correlate place with counties since for some reason they set the county code to 000 for each place. I have not been able to find a correlation mapping yet. This is odd since many maps display places within county boundaries.

EDIT: I found a correlation file on the Census FTP2 site by poking around their folders. it is: /geo/docs/reference/codes/PLACElist.txt .


Check out the Urban Area Relationship Files published by the Census.

The 2010 urban area relationship files provide simple relationships between the 2010 urban areas and other 2010 Census tabulation geography: counties, county subdivisions (in states with governmental minor civil divisions only), places (incorporated places and census designated places), metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas, New England city and town metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas (NECTAs), and ZIP Code tabulation areas (ZCTAs). A 2010 urban area relationship file also describes the relationship between 2010 and Census 2000 urban areas. From these files, data users may determine which urban areas exist within the other geographies and vice versa.

EDIT: Actually, this appears to only map UA to county, UA to place, etc. not the place to county. Have you tried any spatial joins between the place and the county layers?

EDIT2: Found a FIPS reference file produced by the Census for year 2016. There's probably a similar file for your year of interest, although I did not immediately find the 2010 file.

2016 FIPS file: https://www.census.gov/geographies/reference-files/2016/demo/popest/2016-fips.html

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