Every ten years the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a census of the population of the United States. The Decennial Census began in 1790 and each census involves years of planning to ensure a successful and complete count. With the 2020 Census approaching the U.S. Census Bureau is actively engaged in the planning for the 2020 Census and this planning process includes the need for input and information from state and local governments. This page includes details on the 2020 Census planning activities, training, and resources for state and local governments.
Mapping Hard to Count Communities for a Fair and Accurate 2020 Census
The goal of the decennial census is to count each person in the United States based on their residence as of April 1. In prior censuses, the self-response rate in many parts of the country has been relatively high. But in other parts of the country and for some population groups more than others, the self-response rate has been relatively low.
Households may not have submitted their census questionnaire for various reasons, such as having language difficulties, concerns about trust in government, or otherwise. These areas and population groups are considered “hard to count (HTC).” The map below shows areas from the past census that had low response rates. The below map was put together by: CUNY Mapping Service at the Center for Urban Research, CUNY Graduate Center.
2020 Census Boundaries
Every 10 years, the boundaries definitions are reviewed and updated and this presents an opportunity for local, state governments, and the public to provide input and assist in the defining of the boundaries and related details. The geographies of the U.S. Census are defined below and the boundaries where local, state government, and public input is valuable is the defining of Census Tracts, Block Groups, and Blocks.
Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS)
The U.S Census Bureau conducts the Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS) annually in order to collect information about selected legally defined geographic areas. The purpose of the BAS is to update information about legal boundary and names of all government units in the United States.
Each year in Connecticut, state, federally recognized American Indian tribes, and municipal officials receive a request from the U.S. Census Bureau to verify if there are any changes in the legally defined boundaries. The Connecticut State Data Center assists the U.S. Census Bureau with non-response follow-ups to ensure any changes are reported as well as to confirm that no changes occurred to legal boundaries.
The annual schedule for the BAS is as follows:
January – Materials are mailed to each state, federally recognized American Indian tribes, and municipal officials by the U.S. Census Bureau
March 1 – Deadline for submitting updates to the U.S. Census Bureau
March–May – Connecticut State Data Center assists U.S. Census Bureau on non-response follow-ups
Boundary Verification Program
The Boundary Verification Program occurs in 2020 and provides the highest elected or appointed official of a local government or tribal chair of tribal government a last opportunity to review and comment on the boundary of their entity and address range breaks at the boundary before the 2020 Census data is tabulated.
Tentative schedule for Boundary Verification Program is included below:
January 2020: Initial materials mailed to Highest Elected Official
March 2020: Deadline for sending changes to be included in final phase
August 2020: Receive certification from Highest Elected Official
2020 Master Address File (MAF)
The Master Address File is utilized by the U.S. Census Bureau to send questionnaires by mail and the success of the Decennial Census count depends on a high quality and complete of an address file as possible.
The U.S. Census Defines the Master Address File as:
The Census Bureau’s official inventory on known living quarters (HUs and GQ facilities) and selected non-residential units (public, private, and commercial) in the United States. The file contains mailing and location address information, geocodes, and other attribute information about each living quarters. The Census Bureau continues to update the MAF using the USPS Delivery Sequence Files and various automated, computer assisted, clerical, and field operations.
2020 Census – Workshops and Information Sessions
The U.S. Census Bureau and the Connecticut State Data Center provide a series of workshops and information sessions on the 2020 Census for local, state governments, and the public. A listing of events in Connecticut will be included on CTData’s Connecticut Census State Data Center page.
Local Update Census Addresses (LUCA)
Local Update Census Addresses (LUCA) is the only opportunity for tribal, state, and local governments to review and comment on the U.S. Census Bureau’s residential address list for their jurisdictions prior to the 2020 Census.
Prepare for LUCA by participating in the 2017 Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS). The BAS began in December 2016, and is the last opportunity to ensure that your jurisdiction’s boundaries are correct before LUCA begins. To ensure boundary updates are included on the LUCA materials, all boundary updates must be returned to the Census Bureau by May 31, 2017. For more information, visit the BAS Website.
January 2017: Advance notification of the LUCA operation mailed to the highest elected official (HEO) or Tribal Chairperson (TC) of all eligible governments and other LUCA contacts.
March 2017: LUCA promotional workshops begin.
July 2017: Invitation letter and registration forms mailed to the HEO or TC of all eligible governments.
October 2017: Training workshops begin. Self-training aids and Webinars will be available online at the LUCA website.
February 2018: Participation materials mailed to registered participants.
August 2019: Feedback materials offered to participants with the results of address canvassing.
April 1, 2020: Census Day.