Preparing and Entering: Region and Data Year


Where your impact is taking place is a pretty easy question to answer. However, you may want to talk about that impact at the local, regional, or state level as well. You may even want to look at how an Event in one Region impacts another Region.


The Region you define determines the boundary for which estimated spending is captured as an effect to the Region. The spending that does not affect the Region you’ve defined (according to the model) are called leakages.


Regions can be accessed by clicking Regions via the IMPLAN Dashboard at Built Regions can also be selected via the Region field of a Group in the Impact Screen. Data about a Region can be accessed from the Region Details once a Region is selected and built.

From the Regions screen, you can select a Region by typing the name of one of the following US geography levels in the Search field:

  • ZIP Codes 
  • Congressional Districts
  • Counties
  • States 
  • Country (United States) 


States and counties can also be selected by clicking the Region on the map.
Right-click on the state you’d like to view at the county level and choose “Show [state name] Counties”.


You can also right-click to hide counties and to zoom out when the map is zoomed in on a portion of the country.




IMPLAN release annual data sets. When selecting a Region, you are choosing the data set for the Region and Data Year. Typically, the most recent Data Year available in IMPLAN is the previous year. Times series data going back to 2001 can be selected from the Data Year dropdown on the Regions Screen and the Data Year field of a Group. 




Combined Regions

You may want to look at a change in your county and how that affects your county.  Pretty straightforward. In IMPLAN you can also combine smaller geographies to create a unique region.  To do this, navigate to your Regions screen and click on or type in the names of all of the geographies you want to combine into one new Combined Region.


Next, click on the Menu in the upper right corner of your screen just above your first listed Region.


A new box will pop up prompting you to give your Combined Region a name.  If you want to use this same combination in the future, give it a logical name that you will remember as IMPLAN will save all of your Combined Regions for you.


Click SAVE and IMPLAN will start building your new Combined Region. When the spinning wheel turns into the Region Details icon, the build is complete. The teal icon is an indication that the Region is  a Combined Region.


Be aware of aggregation bias – which stems from the loss of detail that occurs when you combine regions together to form a blended larger region.

Functional Economies

In addition to defining your analysis Region based on where the impact is taking place and where you want to measure the effect, it's also important to consider the functional economy. A functional economy encompasses the major labor and production shed of the impact or contribution being modeled. This means that the region captures the local supply chain and areas in which employees are living and spending their income.

A functional economy has established economic networks and can support demand for labor as well as goods and services needed by both households and businesses. How long spending will circulate within an economy depends on the functionality of the economy. This is because there will be less leakage of spending in a more functional economy, relatively. Leakages of spending into other Regions occurs primarily due to imports of goods and services into your Region as well as non-resident employees (in-commuters) working in your Region. IMPLAN estimates these leakages for you based on your defined Region. You can adjust your commuting rate if you know specific information that you would like to model.

ZIP Code Regions

A single ZIP code can rarely be considered a functional economy, but combining ZIP codes to build a particular Region is a great way to create a functional economy with a custom geographic boundary. 

It should be noted, our data sources are more robust at the county geographic level and higher. Not only is there a higher probability of non-disclosure with the data at the ZIP code level, there also is a significantly less amount of raw data available in general at the ZIP code level.  The main justification for using the ZIP code level data would be if a county is large and very different in different parts of it - for example, a mostly rural county that happens to have one large city within it, in which case the county as a whole is not a good representation of its distinct regions. If the user has good data with which they could customize the Event, we'd still recommend the county region in that case!

Comparing & Contrasting

IMPLAN has the ability to show you how the Event might look different if it were in Illinois, Indiana, or Ohio.  You can create one Event on your Impacts screen and drop it into all three Groups. Then on the Results screen, use your Filter between the Regions or Groups to see the differences.


Results Across Geographies

You can also link Regions using Multi-Regional Input-Output (MRIO) to capture the spillover effect that one Region has on another due to the analyzed Events. MRIO avoids aggregation bias while capturing the economic effect beyond the Region where the initial effects occur. Remember, different stakeholders may be interested in the results at different geographies. MRIO will estimate the interregional linkages of trade and commuting effects across these different geographies.

For example, if the site selection for the potential project is Illinois, the Event can be included in just the Illinois region. Checking the MRIO box in the upper right will allow IMPLAN to estimate the effects supported in the Indiana and Ohio economies due to the trade and commuting from the project happening in Illinois. 


MRIO analysis is often performed at the county level. Combined Regions can be included in an MRIO analysis, such as when you'd like to see the effects to the remainder of a state (which can be built as a Combined Region of counties) due to an Event taking place in a single county (which should not be included in the remainder of state Region). To learn more about interpreting and filtering the Results of an MRIO analysis here.


Framing Your Analysis

Introduction to Multi-Regional Input-Output Analysis

Data Year & Dollar Year

Written December 10, 2019

Updated Match 31, 2021