Monday, June 17, 2013

Updating Addresses: Why We May Not Get A Chance To Be Counted Fully In The 2020 Census

Besides recent efforts in Congress to drastically change the nature of the decennial census as well as the American Communities Survey (see this previous post), there maybe be another hitch-in-the-get-along when it comes to being fully counted in the 2020 Census. The Census Bureau is presently considering changes to its Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) program, which serves as the ONLY opportunity that local communities have to provide review and input into the Census Bureau's master address file.

LUCA involves local communities reviewing the master address file for inaccuracies - incorrect addresses as well as missing addresses from the file that serves as the basis for mailing out the census forms. In the past this opportunity has been made to every single community; however, the Census Bureau is now considering offering the chance to review and update these addresses to only "targeted" areas that have been traditionally hard to get responses from. This may mean that many communities would not be in a "targeted" area and hence would lose out on a chance to improve their counts while other communities will reap the potential benefits.

To give this some perspective, in the 2010 Census, our office reviewed some 105,000 addresses in the two county region; we submitted some 17,000 address changes or new addresses that were missing from the master address file; and in the end some 11,000 addresses were added to the Census Bureau's files for our area. That is more than 10% of our region addresses that were added in as a result of LUCA. Assuming an average household population of 2.39 people, that translates into as many as 25,000 people that may have been found that would have otherwise been missed if we weren't part of the LUCA program. Below are two maps showing the block level increases in addresses as a result of our LUCA effort.
Herkimer County LUCA
Oneida County LUCA
This potential change in how LUCA is conducted could have HUGE implications for our next Census counts in 2020.