Tips and Documentation

Preparing for Local Update of Census Addresses webinar

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The State Data Center Program hosted a webinar, November 29, 2017, on preparing for Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA), from the viewpoint of state and local governments participating in the review.

This webinar provides an overview of the LUCA process, followed by information on identifying and preparing local address sources, using the block level housing unit counts available from Census, and tools to assist with local address file development.

The presenters are Robert Scardamalia and Dale Miller. Robert Scardamalia served as New York’s Chief Demographer for over 20 years, and was a member of the SDC Steering Committee ahead of the 2000 an 2010 Censuses. Dale Miller is the Principal Planner with the Herkimer and Oneida Counties (New York) Planning Program. He has been involved with each census since 1990, and participated in his region’s LUCA review in 2000 and 2010.

The complete slidedeck from November 29 can be downloaded as a PowerPoint file.

Acknowledgements: The SDC Steering Committee thanks Robert Scardamalia and Dale Miller for delivering this presentation; Census Bureau for hosting the live webinar; and Minnesota State Demographic Center for repackaging this webinar as YouTube videos.

This webinar is the second in a series of Plan to Plan for 2020 webinars organized by the SDC Steering Committee and hosted by the SDC Program.

Building the State Data Center brand

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One of our network goals is to build awareness of the great population analysts, demographers, and data pros working at State Data Centers around the country. As opportunities arise, we’re presenting State Data Center products and materials alongside those of the Census Bureau. And we’re publicizing the SDC brand.

Government leaders are an important audience right now. States, counties and cities, tribal governments and regional agencies all have a stake in the 2020 Census, and the broader collection of Census products.

This fall, the Steering Committee has been in contact with the National Association of Regional Councils and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Both organizations wanted to hear about preparations for 2020 and partnerships between states and Census programs. We were happy to fill out their agenda, matching these organizations with state demographers who could address their national meetings. (Thank you, Lloyd Potter, Texas State Demographer, and Jeff Hardcastle, Nevada State Demographer, for representing the SDC network at these meetings!)

We are looking for similar opportunities — other national meetings and associations interested in the State Data Center network story.  If you have a connection to the program committees or boards of other national groups, please contact Todd Graham, or any SDC Steering Committee member. We want to make use of those connections.

We’re building the SDC brand in small ways as well.  At our annual training conference in 2016, we distributed a new logo for everyone’s use.  (Thank you, Montana Department of Commerce, for this in-kind contribution to the network!)  Many States are now using that logo.

The SDC Program does expect that each State Lead agency maintain a webpage identifying your role as a State Data Center, and identifying how the public can make contact and access more information. We recommend using the SDC logo alongside your own. Also, the State Lead’s webpage should include a list of Coordinating and Affiliate agencies in your State network, with contact information.

Expectations for Coordinating and Affiliate agencies are more flexible, and vary by state. SDC Coordinating and Affiliate agencies are welcome to use and publicize the SDC logo, brand, and online resources.

2018 will be a busy year for Census partners. Keep up the good work, everyone!

States’ Preparations for the 2020 Census: Findings

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The 2020 Census is just two-and-a-half years away. The Census Bureau is setting up field operations and data capture systems, address lists, geographic data, and more. States and State Data Centers are partners in some of this preparation. States share an interest in the Census’s goal of a complete and accurate count of the nation’s population.

To assess readiness and identify needs, the State Data Center Steering Committee conducted a survey in September 2017 of states’ early-stage preparations and plans for participation in 2020 Census programs and support.  Responses were received from 66 agencies in 52 states and territories. Forty-nine of these agencies are SDC State Leads; the remaining respondents are Governor’s Liaisons to the Census or FSCPE participants in agencies separate from the SDC State Leads. (In many cases, the FSCPE participants are SDC coordinating agencies.)

This report summarizes the state’s answers and status of preparations as of September  2017. These answers will change over the next 1-2 years, particularly with respect to upcoming program activities that are expected but will not formally begin until 2018 or beyond.


Question: Does your SDC or State government have plans for 2020 Census outreach, engagement, or promotion? If so, please describe.

  • 5 states responded “No.”
  • 46 states responded “Yes” and provided details. The most frequent answers are as follows:
    • Outreach and promotion, including creation of new websites (n= 11)
    • Complete Count Committee development (10)
    • LUCA training, information sessions, and outreach (7)
    • Events – Workshops, Annual conferences (7)
    • Connections with other agencies, governments (5)
    • Connections with other organizations, i.e. nonprofits, libraries (4)
    • Still in planning: details not provided (12)
  • 4 states did not participate in the survey.
  • 1 state skipped this question on the survey.

Question: Does your SDC or State government have plans for LUCA? Choose one (or more) statements that best describes plans.

  • 35 states have agencies (including 26 SDC State Leads) registering for LUCA data review.
  • 21 states (and 21 SDC State Leads) are providing outreach and promotion, or hosting meetings.
  • 17 states (including 14 SDC State Leads) are providing technical expertise or consultation.
  • 8 states (including 5 SDC State Leads) are providing validation data resources to local LUCA participants.
  • 7 states (and 7 SDC State Leads) indicated they were considering the LUCA program and had not reached a decision at the time of survey.

Question: Does your SDC or State government plan to participate in OTHER 2020 Census preparations? If so, please describe.

  • 40 States responded “Yes.” States were invited to provide open-ended descriptions of their plans. Thus the tallies here are likely to be incomplete. The most frequent answers are as follows:
    • Outreach, promotion, and engagement (9)
    • Whatever we can/whatever is included in our MOU (7)
    • Participant Statistical Area Program (PSAP) (6)
    • Redistricting in the state (6)
    • FSCPE – Count review (6)
    • FSCPE – Group quarters (5)
    • Plan still being developed (5)

Question: Does your SDC or State government have (or plan to have) DEDICATED FUNDING for any of the 2020 Census activities discussed above?

  • 4 states answered “Yes, my SDC or agency has dedicated funding.”
  • 11 states answered “Not yet, we will request (or have requested) such funding.”
  • 12 states answered “Don’t know, or still to be determined.”
  • 25 states answered “No, our state has no dedicated budget for 2020 Census.”

Question: If you answered ‘Yes’ or ‘Not Yet’ to the previous question, please provide budget details.

  • California – $10 million
  • Massachusetts – $190,000
  • Minnesota – $190,000
  • Michigan – 2 FTE
  • North Carolina – $1 million (requested, not yet finalized)
  • Virginia – $115,000 (requested, not yet finalized)
  • Other states were in the process of requesting funding, but did not indicate an amount

Question: What are your SDC or agency’s roles in 2020 Census? Check all that apply.

  • 35 states have agencies (including 26 SDC State Leads) registering for LUCA data review
  • 19 states have agencies (including 17 SDC State Leads) that will staff state-level Complete Count Commissions
    • More states are likely to become involved; these numbers will likely rise.
  • 18 states have agencies (including 17 SDC State Leads) that will be involved in redistricting at the state-level
    • More states are likely to become involved; these numbers will likely rise.

Question: Does your SDC need any advice in preparing for 2020 Census? Please describe your greatest concern or need.

  • 21 states responded “No.”
  • 30 states responded “Yes.” The most frequent answers are as follows:
    • Help from Census Bureau – including prioritized list of needed state input, calendar outline of important programs, Complete Count Committee process and details (5)
    • What other states are doing – including their budgets, operations plans (5)
    • “All of us are new, so any advice is welcome!” (4)
    • How to create a plan with no new funding or staff (3)
    • Ideas and best practices, sharing promotional materials across SDC network (2)
    • How to improve outreach, reaching Hard to Count populations (2)
    • Coordination and resources needed for all the activities/programs (2)
    • Coordination with Island Areas Branch – everything is planned by IAB (2)
  • 4 states did not participate in the survey.
  • 1 state skipped this question on the survey.

Question: What were your SDC or agency’s roles in 2010 Census programs? Check all that apply.

  • 26 states (including 21 SDC State Leads) participated in LUCA (2007-2008).
  • 23 states (including 19 SDC States Leads) staffed Complete Count Commissions (2008-2010).
  • 16 states (including 15 SDC States Leads) participated in PSAP (2008-2009).
  • 26 states (including 25 SDC States Leads) participated in PUMA areas delineation (2011).
  • 35 states (including 33 SDC States Leads) were involved in outreach and promotion of 2010 Census.
  • 11 states (including 9 SDC States Leads) had a role in post-2010 redistricting.


This survey was administered by Metropolitan Council, a government agency in Minnesota, as a service to the Census SDC steering committee. The information collected here is public data, per the disclosure notice provided to respondents, and per Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 13.

Collected data is available to SDC agencies and Census Bureau staff.

This summary report was prepared by Mallory Bateman, Utah SDC, and Todd Graham, Metropolitan Council (Minnesota).

Comments and corrections can be directed to Todd Graham, SDC Steering Committee.


Census Bureau’s partnership with states and territories

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The US Census Bureau has multiple efforts that involve states and territories. Four permanent, ongoing partnerships are State Data Centers, the Federal-State Cooperative for Population Estimates, the Governors’ Liaisons Network, and the Redistricting Data Program. These partnerships enable the Census Bureau to reach state leaders and stakeholders, transmit data to the states, improve data collection, and extend expert guidance and access to Census data and products.

Partnership program Scope of partnership
State Data Centers Extension of Census products and data to reach state and local data users
FSCPE Production of state and local population and housing unit estimates
Governors’ Liaisons List Communication on decennial census preparations
Redistricting Data Program Preparation and specification of legislative geographies and data tabs

State Data Centers

  • Established in 1978 for data assistance to state and local governments and the general public.
  • 56 State Leads, representing each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and US Island Areas.
  • Supported by 1,600 coordinating agencies and affiliates, which include local governments, university research centers, libraries and nonprofits.
  • Members are premier partners who extend Census’s reach and provide Census products, data, and training resources to interested audiences and the general public.
  • Support various Bureau programs including BAS, LUCA, Building Permits, and Census of Governments.
  • Provide feedback on data users’ needs and operational issues.
  • At the Census Bureau, the SDC program is coordinated by the Customer Liaison and Marketing Services Office.
  • A steering committee representing the states works with Census Bureau staff to identify priorities and coordinate activities.

Federal-State Cooperative for Population Estimates

  • Established in 1967 to assist the Census Bureau with state and local population and housing unit estimates.
  • 56 members representing each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and US Island Areas.
  • Members are demographic experts who provide their local knowledge and insight to the Population Estimates Program, the media, and the public.
  • FSCPEs supply vital statistics, information about group quarters (such as college dorms or prisons), and housing unit components.
  • FSCPEs support efforts to improve the accuracy and timeliness of Census Bureau estimates by reviewing and providing comments on the population and housing unit estimates and methodology.
  • Participate in Decennial Count Review.
  • At the Census Bureau, the FSCPE program is coordinated by the Population Division.
  • A steering committee representing the states works with Census Bureau staff to identify priorities and coordinate activities.

Governors’ Liaisons List

  • Staff or appointees of governors, representing the governors of most states, Puerto Rico, and US Island Areas, and the District of Columbia.
  • During the 2020 Census cycle, the Governors’ Liaisons are a conduit for official communications. Communications include news of upcoming phases of preparation and Census activities in states, as well as discussions of state participation in 2020 Census partnership programs and geographic programs.
  • Throughout the decade, Census Bureau keeps the Governors’ Liaisons informed of the planning and implementation of the Economic Census, the Census of Governments, and major household surveys.
  • At the Census Bureau, the Governors’ Liaisons List is coordinated by the Intergovernmental Affairs Office.
  • There is not a steering committee of participants.

The roles of State Data Centers, FSCPEs, and Governor’s Liaisons may be overlapping. In some states, a single office may participate in two or three of these roles.

The map below identifies states where the State Data Center lead agency also has staff serving as FSCPE members (red), or Governor’s Liaisons (blue), or both (purple).



Source: US Census Bureau, June 2019. Information may change over time as governors reassign roles. Please notify our webteam of corrections.

Redistricting Data Program

  • State officials responsible for legislative apportionment or districting in each state and Puerto Rico.
  • During the 2020 Census cycle, this geographic designation program provides opportunity to specify the geographic bounds of legislative districts, voting districts, and related areas needing tabulations of population. The specification, transmittal and receipt of tabulations is a nonpartisan process that follows the political decisions concerning legislative and voting districts.
  • The US Census Bureau will deliver the specified 2020 Census tabulations to Governors and public bodies (Legislatures or Commissions) no later than April 1, 2021.
  • The Redistricting Data Program continues throughout the decade. State participants have a biennial opportunity to specify changes to legislative districts.
  • At the Census Bureau, the Redistricting Data Program is administered by the Redistricting Data Office.
  • There is not a steering committee of participants.

Refresher on Census’s embargo data access program

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Many of you have embargo data access privileges with the Census Bureau. This post is a refresher on the rules associated with the embargo access program.

Your embargo data access allows you to download, review and analyze data 1-2 days prior to public release. This early access enables you to prepare a local news release to coincide with the public release day, prepare your own SDC agency’s website for the public release day, and respond to press requests for comment.(Note: Members of the press will need to get any data downloads via their own embargo data access logins.) 

If you have embargo data access privileges, this access is for you alone; your username and password cannot to be shared.

Within your SDC, if there are co-workers who need their own embargo data access, these co-workers can request it. Please contact any member of the SDC Steering Committee to discuss and/or apply for embargo data access on the website.

Some SDC coordinating agencies have or need access. Please share this email with them, as they are subject to the same rules.

With this access, certain rules apply. Census Bureau’s embargo policy is online, here:

Embargo access is granted on an individual basis only and cannot be shared with unapproved colleagues or associates

Embargoed news releases and data files may not be released to the public by any means… before the specified date and time of release. Failure to adhere to this embargo policy will result in the removal of the embargo privileges for the entire state or organization’s contacts as follows:

  1. First breach – six-month suspension of embargo privileges.
  2. Subsequent breach – one-year suspension of embargo privileges. Reinstatement must be requested in writing.

The Census Bureau, through its Public Information Office, reserves the right to deny access to embargoed information to any entity that abuses embargo privileges.

If an embargo is broken, the Census Bureau will immediately release the data to the public and a notification will be sent alerting data users that the information is now available to the public.

The Assistant Director for Communications or his/her designee has final approval on all matters pertaining to embargo access.

If you have questions about appropriate use of embargo data, please ask Census Bureau CLMSO staff.

Finally, if you know of co-workers or SDC network colleagues who need embargo access, please contact any member of the SDC Steering Committee to discuss and/or apply for embargo data access on the website.

Plan to Plan for the 2020 Census: Part 1 webinar

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New from North Carolina SDC
Plan to Plan for the 2020 Census: Part 1 webinar
The “Plan to Plan” webinar series will provide sessions on specific 2020 Census programs and operations. Numerous state-based partners are involved, and the series will discuss the possible roles of SDCs and their state networks. Webinar from December 13, 2016.
Find it here:

GSS Initiative – Draft Address Data Content Guidelines

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Geographic Support System (GSS) Initiative Announcement from the U.S. Census Bureau – Geography Divsion.

Draft address data content guidelines are now available as part of the U.S. Census Bureau – Geography Division’s GSS Initiative.

As a part of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Geographic Support System Initiative (GSS-I), the Census Bureau is committed to accepting address and structure point data from our partners beginning in the second quarter of fiscal year 2013. These documents outline the address data elements and metadata that the Census Bureau identifies as optimal components in address and structure datasets.   Learn more

Optimal Address Data Submission Guidelines (Draft) – PDF

Census Address to FGDC Address Standard Crosswalk (Draft)  – PDF

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