Is there a data source available that has the full history (right back to the 1960's) of each US zip code?
By history I mean, for each zip code:
- the date it was created, if later than 1 July 1963,
- the date it ceased to exist, if it no longer exists
- any splits/merges/swaps/renumbering of any part of the zip code, and the date it happened
- the named places (primary and alternate) for the zip code (or any other way to locate it), and the dates of any changes
Even better (for GIS) if it has:
- the center point (geographic or population) of the zip code, on a given date or range of dates
- the pseudo “boundary” of the zip code (or closely related polygons like ZCTAs, in recent years), again for a specific date or period.
The project I'm working on is attaching locations to historical data from the 1960's, 70's and 80's (and beyond), where the locations are identified by the zip code as it existed at the time.
In most cases, these are are same as today, but especially in faster-growing states it can be wrong to assume that a zip code covers the same area 20-50 years later, and there have been many other changes including renumbering.
Knowing the extent of each zip code decades ago is also useful for long-running social and medical studies, where a zip code (from the period) is often the only geographic identifier available (despite being unsuitable for this purpose).
I've researched this for a while and believe I can reconstruct a large part of the history from primary sources I've located. I think that it would be useful to many others, and I'd release the results as open data. But it's a sizable task, I don't want to reinvent the wheel.
There are some commercial sources that might go back to the 1990's, but my main interest is the earlier period, and I want the results to be open data that I can share, so they're unlikely to be suitable or have the right license.
So, does a history of every US zip code (from the 1960's on, not just recent years), ideally with geographic co-ordinates, already exist, in a form that can be re-used?