I've been searching the web for zip code shapefiles (or equivalents) for years 2000 to 2010, and have only managed to find the following:


which carries the following TIGER/Line releases: 1990 | 2000 | 2000 Urban Area | 2002 | 2004 1st Ed. | 2004 2nd Ed. | 2005 1st Ed. | 2006 2nd Ed.

and http://www.census.gov/geo/www/tiger/shp.html

which carries the following TIGER/Line releases: 2006 2nd Ed. | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010

These releases contain most of the Zip Code Tabulation Areas that I need. However, the 2002 release in the above link does not appear to contain ZCTAs, and I cannot find releases for years 2001 and 2003. Does anyone have links to TIGER/Line releases for 2001, 2002, and 2003, or links to other sources that contain zip code shapefiles for those years? I've seen some online vendors that have this data available for a fee, but given the project's budget, free sources would be preferable.

1 Answer 1


The problem is that ZIP codes are defined by the Postal Service and change constantly. Also, Census wants geographies to be continuous, integral, and comprehensive; the ZIP code is none of these. At its heart, it is a list of addresses and not an "area." Census does realize, however, that many people like using ZIP codes for analysis (they're in every address, after all). Census therefore makes ZCTA's (which are not precisely like ZIP codes) for tabulation purposes. But they only do this for years in which there is a decennial census of population and housing.

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