Major Land Uses
ERS has been a source of major land use estimates in the United States for over 60 years, and the related U.S. cropland used for crops series (Summary table 3 below) dates back to 1910 and is updated annually. The Major Land Uses (MLU) series is the longest running, most comprehensive accounting of all major uses of public and private land in the United States. The series was started in 1945, and has since been published about every 5 years, coinciding with the Census of Agriculture.
- See the latest ERS report in the series: Major Uses of Land in the United States, 2012
Data from all 15 Major Land Uses reports have been combined into a set of files showing major land use estimates by region and State from 1945 to 2012. Note that Alaska and Hawaii were added in 1959, when they achieved Statehood. Since Alaska contains such vast acreage, U.S. totals in all categories prior to 1959 may appear to change precipitously.
For citations for previous MLU reports and sources for the 2012 data update, see references. See the glossary for detailed definitions of major land uses and terms.
Errata: On March 27, 2023, some historical estimates in summary table 3, “Cropland used for crops” within the Major Land Uses data product, were revised. For the years 2017-20, values for total cropland used for crops, cropland harvested, double cropped, crop failure, and cultivated summer fallow were revised. The revisions to individual components changed the total for cropland used for crops in 2017; for 2018, 2019, and 2020, changes to components were offset such that total cropland used for crops remained unchanged. No other data were affected.
- Summary tables
- Total land
- - Cropland components
- Grassland pasture and range
- Forest-use land
- - Forest-use land components
- Special uses
- - Special use components
- Urban area
- Other or miscellaneous land uses
- CSV Format of Historical Data