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PSAP: Census Tracts and Block Groups for the Next Decade

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This spring, metro and regional planning agencies and county governments are reviewing, validating and redrawing Census Tracts, Block Groups, and Census Designated Places that will be used for data tabulations over the next decade.

Documentation, software, and data for the Participant Statistical Areas Program (PSAP) is published on census.gov.

Delineation of Census Tracts, Block Groups, and Census Designated Places is being coordinated by metro and regional planning agencies and county governments across the county. Even if you are not a registered participant, you can still provide input and comments. Census Bureau has published a list of 2020 Census PSAP contacts who are coordinating the review in each county in the nation. Find your county or counties here: https://www2.census.gov/geo/pdfs/partnerships/psap/Primary_PSAP_Participant_Contact_Information.pdf

Additional resources


Presentation: Making Tracts: Metro and Local Governments’ Roles in the 2020 Participant Statistical Areas Program (March 2019)

SDC Network Webinar on PSAP (December 2018>

CTPP Program Webinar on PSAP (October 2018)

Comments on the 2020 Census data collection plan

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The SDC steering committee has submitted comments on the 2020 Census data collection plan, in response to last month’s Federal Register Notice. We identify issues related to Nonresponse Followup, Internet Self-Response, and Redistricting Data. Also we advise, again, that a citizenship self-response question is not the only available approach for obtaining citizen population counts — and that the proposed self-response question introduces unnecessary risks to 2020 Census’s validity.

This letter was sent to US OMB on January 22, 2019.  Letter commenting on the 2020 Census data collection plan

Call for SDC Steering Committee Nominations

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Nominations are now open!

The Steering Committee consists of nine members, elected to represent the 56 states and territories enrolled in the State Data Center Program. Three members’ terms end each year, and three members are elected (or re-elected). We have vacancies due to departures of long-serving members. And nominations are now open!

Nominate yourself, or someone else! We are looking for SDC network colleagues who are motivated to serve the data user community, partner with the Census Bureau, and represent our States’ interests in Census. Employees of SDC Coordinating Agencies and State Lead Agencies are all eligible.

We value having a representative mix of people. To accomplish balance, this year we especially encourage nominations of people of color, and also nominations from State Leads and state government agencies. (Our 2018 Steering Committee is mostly members from state universities.) Again, employees of SDC Coordinating Agencies and State Lead Agencies are all eligible. New members will be chosen through a general election. (see below.)

New Steering Committee members elected this winter will begin their terms in February. This will be an in-person meeting at Census Bureau headquarters; the Census Bureau fully covers Committee Members’ travel expenses.

How to nominate.

A nomination must include a brief biography, and concise answers to the following:

  1. For the brief biography: Where does the nominee work? Any special professional interests? Relevant related professional or program roles?
  2. What special perspective or goals would the nominee bring as a Steering Committee member?
  3. What is your vision for the SDC network and our partnership with the Census Bureau?
  • If you are nominating yourself, please answer all questions.
  • If you are nominating someone else – with their permission – please answer questions 1 and 2.

Please e-mail complete nominations to Todd Graham (todd.graham@metc.state.mn.us) by December 22, 2018.

The real story.

If you are elected to the Steering Committee, you are signing up for monthly Steering Committee conference calls, and an expectation of volunteered time on committee initiatives, webinars, and other small projects. Before nominating yourself, determine whether you have the time and job-flexibility to contribute. Steering Committee members need to work for organizations that support these time commitments. 

There are also three trips a year for in-person meetings, usually in February, April, and late summer. These trips are usually 3 days. The Census Bureau fully covers Committee Members’ transportation, hotel and per diem expenses.

Upcoming election.

The Steering Committee election will be held in January. Every State Lead Agency will have one ballot to cast.

Nomination directions are above. Additional details on Steering Committee eligibility, term, and election can be found in the SDC Steering Committee By Laws, section 4.

What does the SDC Steering Committee do?

The Steering Committee consists of nine members, elected to represent the 56 states and territories enrolled in the State Data Center Program.

Per SDC Steering Committee By Laws, section 2. the Steering Committee advises the Census Bureau on the administration of the State Data Center Program; assists the Census Bureau in supporting decennial censuses and other surveys and programs; works with the Census Bureau to plan and conduct the Annual Training Conference; and improves the flow of information and ideas among member agencies and between member agencies and the Census Bureau.

In plain language: We’re here to serve the data user community, partner with the Census Bureau, and represent our States’ interests in Census.

If you have any questions, please contact Todd Graham or any member of the Steering Committee.

2020 Gustafson Award Nominations

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The SDC Steering Committee is seeking nominations for the Gustafson Award. If you know a SDC agency or person within a SDC that has been doing great work and deserves some recognition, please nominate them!

The Gustafson Award was established in 2012 to remember one of our dear colleagues, Randy Gustafson from the Tennessee SDC, who also served on the SDC Steering Committee. Randy was a wonderful person and a big part of the SDC family. The Gustafson Award was created in his memory to honor outstanding contributions to the SDC network.

The Gustafson Award nomination form is here: Gustafson Nominating Form

Anyone can submit a nomination. Nominations are due to Jennifer Shultz jjb131@psu.edu or Michael Moser michael.moser@uvm.edu by Friday, November 15, 2019.

The winner will be announced during the SDC Annual Meeting in June 2020. (Tentative; dates for the SDC Annual Meeting have not been finalized.)

Past awardees:

  • 2013 – Pam Schenker, FL
  • 2014 – Julie Hoang, CA
  • 2015 – John Blodgett, MO
  • 2016 – David Drozd, NE
  • 2017 – The Minnesota Population Center, specifically the project team that designed the National Historical Geographic Info System, including Wendy Thomas, Steven Ruggles, and Mark Lindberg, MN
  • 2018 – Bob Coats, NC
  • 2019 – Dan Veroff, WI

Plan to Plan for 2020 webinar series

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The “Plan to Plan” webinar series provides orientation and training on specific 2020 Census programs and operations. Numerous state-based partners are involved, and the series will discuss the possible roles of SDCs and state networks. Our presenters include both Census Bureau program managers and state-based experts, invited to present their experience, best practices and tips for successful state involvement.

The “Plan to Plan” webinar series is organized by the SDC Steering Committee, and hosted by program staff at Census Bureau. Comments, suggestions and volunteers are invited. You can contact Jennifer Shultz, Pennsylvania SDC, or any Steering Committee member.

Webinar recordings

Upcoming: Continuing the series

Additional webinars are being planned. This list of topics is subject to change, additions, and rescheduling.

  • Building Custom Reports with APIs. Proposed, 2019.

The “Plan to Plan” webinar series is organized by the SDC Steering Committee, and hosted by program staff at Census Bureau. Comments, suggestions and volunteers are invited. You can contact Jennifer Shultz, Pennsylvania SDC, or any Steering Committee member.

Letter commenting on the 2020 Census design and data collection plan

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Here is a letter from the steering committee, commenting on the 2020 Census design and data collection plan, in response to US Commerce Department’s Federal Register Notice. The letter was sent August 6, 2018.

In this letter, the steering committee comments that methods and processes matter: If a new citizenship data element is needed, then the processes to obtain and use such data should be thoughtfully planned, should maximize the accuracy and completeness of the 2020 Census, and should avoid introducing risks to validity. The steering committee endorses Census Bureau’s broader strategy of substituting validated administrative records data – data that already exists – where such substitution reduces response burdens or mitigates asking sensitive questions. Finally, the steering committee recommends that the Bureau make distinctions between essential, priority questions and non-priority questions. These distinctions should be reflected in the planning and programming of field followup operations and the online (internet) census questionnaire system.

Letter commenting on the 2020 Census design and data collection plan