US Census Firm Concentration Data, 1972-2012 (ICPSR 37961)

Version Date: Aug 26, 2021 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Sharat Ganapati, Georgetown University

Version V1

Economic Census

Since the passing of the 1953 Title 13 U.S. Code, Congress gave the Census Bureau authority to conduct an economic census every 5 years on years that end in a 2 or 7. This code mandated that all economic firms must provide requested information, and it required the Bureau to maintain the confidentiality of the individual records. Respondents are asked to provide a range of operational and performance data for their companies.

This collection is compiled from publicly available U.S. Census Bureau data and publications. This data comes from a mix of digitized paper documents, CD-ROMs/Floppy discs, now-discontinued FTP servers, and the US Census Bureau website. However, this data is not a complete sample of the US economic census. This collection has variables related to the type of establishment, year, business sector, payroll, number of employees, number of firms, and shipments. Some inquiries apply to some industries but not others, such as materials consumed and franchising

Ganapati, Sharat. US Census Firm Concentration Data, 1972-2012. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2021-08-26.

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United States

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
1972 -- 2012
1972 -- 2012
  1. This data is organized by different industry classification systems over the years. Prior to 1997, the US Census used the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) classification. In 1997 and after, the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) classification system was used.


The purpose of this collection is to monitor American economic activities. The economic census provides the framework for measures for the gross domestic product (GDP), price indexes, industries, input and output measures, a how they relate to each other. Businesses use Census data to make decisions about where to locate, how much to produce, and to compare their performance to other businesses in their industry or community. Local communities use Economic Census results to attract new businesses, assess the economic health of their localities, understand the characteristics of their business base, and compare their community to other geographical areas. Individuals can use census results to identify emerging job markets and growing industries.

The Census Bureau enumerated these companies using administrative records from other federal agencies, primarily the Internal Revenue Service, with additional information from the Social Security Administration and Bureau of Labor Statistics. Forms go out to nearly 4 million businesses, including large, medium, and small companies representing all U.S. locations and industries.


All formal United States firms in the years of 1972-2012.



2021-08-26 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Performed consistency checks.


  • Curation and dissemination of this study is provided by the institutional members of ICPSR, and data is available only to users at ICPSR member institutions. To determine if you are at a member institution, check the list of ICPSR member institutions, or learn more about becoming a member.