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Thin Python wrapper for the US Census Geocoder

Project Description

Census Geocode

Python 2 and 3 wrapper for the US Census Geocoder API. It comes packaged with a simple command line tool for geocoding an address to a longitude and latitude.

Census Geocode is very lightweight - it has no prerequisites in Python 3, and relies only on requests in Python 2.

Basic example:

from censusgeocode import CensusGeocode

cg = CensusGeocode()

cg.coordinates(x=-76, y=41)
cg.onelineaddress('1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC')
cg.address('1600 Pennsylvania Avenue', city='Washington', state='DC', zipcode='22052')

Use the returntype keyword to specify ‘locations’ or ‘geographies’. ‘Locations’ yields structured information about the address, and ‘geographies’ yields information about the Census geographies. Geographies is the default.

cg.onelineaddress('1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC', returntype='locations')

Queries return a CensusResult object, which is basically a Python list with an extra ‘input’ property, which the Census returns to tell you how they interpreted your request.

>>> result = cg.coordinates(x=-76, y=41)

>>> result.input
    u'vintage': {
        u'vintageName': u'Current_Current',
        u'id': u'4',
        u'vintageDescription': u'Current Vintage - Current Benchmark',
        u'isDefault': True
    u'benchmark': {
        u'benchmarkName': u'Public_AR_Current',
        u'id': u'4',
        u'isDefault': False,
        u'benchmarkDescription': u'Public Address Ranges - Current Benchmark'
    u'location': {
        u'y': 41.0,
        u'x': -76.0

>>> result
    '2010 Census Blocks': [{
        'AREALAND': 1409023,
        'AREAWATER': 0,
        'BASENAME': '1045',
        'BLKGRP': '1',
        'BLOCK': '1045',
        'CENTLAT': '+40.9957436',
        'CENTLON': '-076.0089338',
        'COUNTY': '079',
        'FUNCSTAT': 'S',
        'GEOID': '420792166001045',
        'INTPTLAT': '+40.9957436',
        'INTPTLON': '-076.0089338',
        'LSADC': 'BK',
        'LWBLKTYP': 'L',
        'MTFCC': 'G5040',
        'NAME': 'Block 1045',
        'OBJECTID': 9940449,
        'OID': 210404020212114,
        'STATE': '42',
        'SUFFIX': '',
        'TRACT': '216600'
    'Census Tracts': [{
        'AREALAND': 86404594,
        'AREAWATER': 650526,
        'BASENAME': '2166',
        'CENTLAT': '+41.0361462',
        'CENTLON': '-075.9801252',
        'COUNTY': '079',
        'FUNCSTAT': 'S',
        'GEOID': '42079216600',
        'INTPTLAT': '+41.0379841',
        'INTPTLON': '-075.9743749',
        'LSADC': 'CT',
        'MTFCC': 'G5020',
        'NAME': 'Census Tract 2166',
        'OBJECTID': 61245,
        'OID': 20790277158250,
        'STATE': '42',
        'TRACT': '216600'
    'Counties': [{
        'AREALAND': 2305974186,
        'AREAWATER': 41240020,
        'BASENAME': 'Luzerne',
        'CENTLAT': '+41.1768961',
        'CENTLON': '-075.9890400',
        'COUNTY': '079',
        'COUNTYCC': 'H1',
        'COUNTYNS': '01209183',
        'FUNCSTAT': 'A',
        'GEOID': '42079',
        'INTPTLAT': '+41.1727868',
        'INTPTLON': '-075.9760345',
        'LSADC': '06',
        'MTFCC': 'G4020',
        'NAME': 'Luzerne County',
        'OBJECTID': 866,
        'OID': 27590277115518,
        'STATE': '42'
    'States': [{
        'AREALAND': 115884236236,
        'AREAWATER': 3395797284,
        'BASENAME': 'Pennsylvania',
        'CENTLAT': '+40.9011252',
        'CENTLON': '-077.8369164',
        'DIVISION': '2',
        'FUNCSTAT': 'A',
        'GEOID': '42',
        'INTPTLAT': '+40.9024957',
        'INTPTLON': '-077.8334514',
        'LSADC': '00',
        'MTFCC': 'G4000',
        'NAME': 'Pennsylvania',
        'OBJECTID': 37,
        'OID': 27490163788605,
        'REGION': '1',
        'STATE': '42',
        'STATENS': '01779798',
        'STUSAB': 'PA'

Command line tool

The censusgeocode tool is bare bones. It takes one argument, an address, and returns a comma-delimited longitude, latitude pair.

censusgeocode '100 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY'
-73.992195, 40.73797

censusgeocode '1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC'
-77.03535, 38.898754

The Census geocoder is reasonably good at recognizing non-standard addresses.

censusgeocode 'Hollywood & Vine, LA, CA'
-118.32668, 34.101624


This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see

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