What is a FIPS Code?

The FIPS Codes shown here are 5-digit codes that are assigned to each county. The first two digits are for the State and the last three identify the County, or county equivalent. So, each State has its own 2-digit number, and each County within the state has its own 3-digit number, which are combined into a 5-digit number to uniquely identify every US county. For Example: Georgia's state number is 13, and Bryan county, GA is 029, so Bryan county's FIPS code is 13029. FIPS Codes are easier to handle in information systems than are county and state names.

For more technical details :

Federal Information Processing Standards Publications (FIPS PUBS) are issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) after approval by the Secretary of Commerce pursuant to Section 111 (d) of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 as amended by the Computer Security Act of 1987, Public Law 100-235.

Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 6-4, Counties and Equivalent Entities of the U.S., Its Possessions, and Associated Areas -- 90 Aug 31 , provides the names and codes that represent the counties and other entities treated as equivalent legal and/or statistical subdivisions of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the possessions and freely associated areas of the United States. Counties are considered to be the "first-order subdivisions" of each State and statistically equivalent entity, regardless of their local designations (county, parish, borough, etc.).

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