Census.gov usually makes available the shapefiles containing school zone boundaries. Due to the US government shutdown, census.gov is down. Does anyone know where to download a recently archived copy?


Code for America has a collection of data backed up from the census.gov websites, including the school zone data.

Another (privately curated?) collection of backups, including the unified school districts, can be found at https://census-backup.s3.amazonaws.com/index.html.

  • The census data is not for all school, is it? It has half of the schools in my area. – user2060451 Jan 20 at 16:28

A better place is SDDS (School District Demographic System) from the Dept of Education where you can download public schools (points), district boundaries(polygons), school attendance boundaries (polygons), private schools (points), universities(points) and NAEP State-wide data(polygons).

Inside of the map viewer there is a tools menu where you can download data based on your selected state.

A couple of reason why I think SDDS is the best place to get school data:

  • It contains the latest school attendance areas for the top 500 districts (by population). A school attendance area is the polygon which encompasses students enrollment in a school. Census simply does not collect this information. This data is updated about every 6 months as new attendance areas are collected.

  • The school district data contains a custom tabulation of the 2000 and 2010 decennial census information aggregated to the district geography, along with the American Community Survey (ACS) 1,3,5-year estimates. This was done through a join effort between Census and Dept. Ed.

  • Outside of just downloading the shapefile, there is a build a table tool where you can access more than 100,000 different demographic estimates at the school district level which you can then join on to your spatial data. The tool is called "build a table", its a little clunky, but has improved.

Unfortunately right now the government is shutdown, but when that is resolve you can visit:


The map viewer is a flash application, if you can't load flash let me know and I'll get you some direct links for downloading the data you need.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.