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Question I am curious about how the Gallery (Allocate) estimates ZIP Code demographics that might differ from what the Census Bureau does on their American Factfinder site. Would this be caused by the source of the Zip Codes? Or are we using a different method of pulling demographics for Zip Codes?
Answer ZIP Codes and ZCTAs are different. A major difference is ZCTAs are created at the time of the Census in 2010 and not typically updated. ZIP Codes in the Gallery are updated quarterly. So the physical area of the ZIP Codes being compared might be different even though they reference 2010 data. They could be looking at physically different areas. If one could visualize the ZIP Codes and ZCTAs on a map, the physical differences between the geographies would be easier to see. Here are a few informative links from the Census Bureau: https://ask.census.gov/faq.php?id=5000&faqId=10488 and http://www.census.gov/geo/reference/zctas.html.
Another note - The Gallery does not include ZIP Codes with Points but Allocate does, when registered). ZIP Code Points can be Post Office Boxes, business ZIP Codes in an office building, etc.. If a ZIP Code cannot be found check to see if it categorized as a polygon or point type.
Want to trouble shoot the validity of a ZIP Code on your own? Here are a few links:
Post Office web site: https://tools.usps.com/go/ZipLookupAction!input.action?mode=1&refresh=true
MelissaData web site: http://www.melissadata.com/lookups/cityzip.asp