COVIDcast Geographic Coding
geo_value field returned by the API specifies the geographic location
whose estimate is being reported. Estimates are available for several possible
county: County-level estimates are labeled with the county’s five-digit FIPS code. All FIPS codes are reported using pre-2015 FIPS code assignments, except for FIPS codes used by the
usa-factssources. These are reported exactly as the sources report their data; see below. FIPS codes ending in
000are not valid counties, and instead represent “megacounties” we construct; see below.
hrr: Hospital Referral Region, units designed to represent regional health care markets. There are roughly 300 HRRs in the United States. A map is available here. We report HRRs by their number (non-consecutive, between 1 and 457).
hhs: values that are accepted are the numbers 1-10, corresponding to the US Department of Health & Human Services Regional Offices
msa: Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the Office of Management and Budget. The Census Bureau provides detailed definitions of these regions. We report MSAs by their CBSA ID number.
dma: Designated Market Areas represent geographic regions with their own media markets, as defined by Nielsen.
state: The 50 states, identified by their two-digit postal abbreviation (in lower case). Estimates for Puerto Rico are available as state
pr; Washington, D.C. is available as state
nation: accepted values are the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country codes. Currently the only nation we have data on is
Some signals are not available for all
geo_types since they may be reported
by their original sources at geographic resolutions which are too coarse.
Table of contents
Small Sample Sizes and “Megacounties”
Most sources do not report the same amount of data for every county; for example, since the survey sources rely on survey responses submitted each day, counties with small populations may have comparatively few survey responses. We do not report individual county estimates when small sample sizes would make estimates unreliable or would allow identification of respondents, violating privacy and confidentiality agreements. Additional considerations for specific signals are discussed in the source and signal documentation.
On each day, in each state, we collect the data from all counties with
insufficient data to be individually reported. These counties are combined into
a single “megacounty”. For example, if only five counties in a state have
sufficient data to be reported, the remaining counties will form one megacounty
representing the rest of that state. Megacounty estimates are reported with a
FIPS code ending with
000, which is never a FIPS code for a real county. For
example, megacounty estimates for the state of New York are reported with FIPS
36 is the FIPS code prefix for New York.
These megacounty estimates are used on our COVIDcast map and in the county maps produced by our API clients, to color in state backgrounds and graphically represent the “rest of” states whose counties are not all individually reported.
Warning: As sample sizes vary from day to day, the counties composing the
megacounty can vary daily; the geographic area covered by the megacounty is
simply the state minus the counties reported for that day. The megacounty
construction also depends on the specific source and signal. For example, on one day,
36000 may cover a different geographic area for the
source than it does for the
fb-survey source. Do not try to compare megacounty
estimates across time or between signals.
- The cases and deaths data from JHU CSSE has some geographic exceptions in its coding and reporting; see its documentation for more details.
- The cases and deaths data from USAFacts also has geographic exceptions; see its documentation for details.