Monday, February 26, 2018

What Is A CDP Anyway?

Occasionally someone will ask me "What is a CDP anyways?"

CDPs, in the world of the Census Bureau, stands for Census Designated Places. Technically the definition goes something like this - Census designated places (CDPs) are closely settled, named, unincorporated communities that generally contain a mixture of residential, commercial, and retail areas similar to those found in incorporated places of similar sizes. Got it ?

Let's look at this a little more closely. First, they are closely settled, meaning that CDPs have multiple residents that are housed (in some sense) relatively close to one another. Second, they are unincorporated, meaning that they are NOT a village. Villages already get special consideration in the census. Often, CDPs are what might be called "hamlets", although that designation does have a special connotation to it as well in New York. Third, they contain a mixture of residential, commercial and retail areas. This isn't a strict requirement but it would bolster the argument for creating or selecting an area as a CDP.

Probably MOST important in the process is the fact that they are NAMED ! So if you were to say "I'm heading to CDPville," people would know pretty much exactly where you were talking about. The names are something that are commonly used to describe the location in question.

The best example of a CDP (at least since the 2010 census was conducted) is Old Forge in northern Herkimer County. Old Forge is NOT a village - it is not incorporated as such. Yet people know exactly where you mean if you say you are heading to Old Forge. It also has a nice mix of residential, commercial and retail areas. And clearly, it is closely settled. So Old Forge was a perfect spot for the creation of a CDP in order to gain census data about that specific area.

Oh course the devil is always in the details - and specifically that means the details of EXACTLY what you include when you designate the place as Old Forge. For example, should it include Thendara ? Or should it stop on its southern border at the Moose River ? And how far north does it stretch, to say nothing about east and west? Regardless, through conversations with locals and the Census Bureau, a boundary was arrived at. As a result, there is now census data available for the CDP of Old Forge !

In the Fall of 2018, the regional affiliate office will be revisiting the creation of NEW CDPs as part of the 2020 Census. If you have an idea as to an area that should be considered for designation as a CDP, contact me at !