Using Data

All Tracts in a MSA

Is it possible to get all tracts within a MSA, as in (an attempt to get all tracts in the DC metro):*&in=metropolitan+statistical+area/micropolitan+statistical+area:47900

This returns:

"error: unknown/unsupported geography heirarchy"

If not this would be useful!


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  1. Comment
    Phillip Thomas

    That is correct, the API can only support geographies provided by the data. These geographies are defined at Currently there is no MSA/Tract definition in our copy of the data.

  2. Comment

    Is there any kind of MSA definition accessible in the geography? I'm trying to get places/counties in a MSA but I'm guessing that it's not possible either.

  3. Comment

    You can try downloading ArcExplorer from where you would be able to import the TIGER files for the MSA and the tracts and find all of the tracts you are interested in. The link is: but I'm not sure if it allows you to do a select by location function. If not, then it won't help you as you need to find which tracts intersect the MSAs. Then you can use the API to pull those specific tracts that you want. This is what a GIS is utilized for in doing these layered analyses, same with places. Counties are part of the definition of the MSA itself, that you can look up on the Census site but be aware that they do change over time so what was an MSA in 2000 may be different in 2010. The MSAs are made up of counties.

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