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Cornell Program on Applied Demographics
DISCLAIMER

Census 2020: What State and Local governments need to Know

 

General Purpose Governmental areas

The Census Bureau defines these Local General Purpose Governments:

  • Counties: Organized local governments established to provide general government services; includes those governments designed as counties, parishes in Louisiana, and boroughs in Alaska.
  • Municipalities: Organized subcounty local governments established to provide general government services for a specific concentration of population in a defined area; includes those governments designated as cities, villages, boroughs (except in Alaska), and towns (except in the six New England states, Minnesota, New York, and Wisconsin)
  • Townships: Organized subcounty local governments established to provide general government services for areas defined without regard to population concentration; includes those governments designated as towns in the six New England states, Minnesota, New York, and Wisconsin and townships in other states.
Census 2020 uses boundaries as they are on January 1, 2020 to publish the results.

Updating/correcting boundaries

The Census Bureau depends on local and state governments to update and correct the boundaries of these areas. It is important to have correct boundaries, not only for the Decennial Census, but also for other programs that publish data for these areas, like the Economic Census, the American Community Survey and the Population Estimates.

There are two operations that ask local and state governments to inform the Census Bureau on any boundary changes or corrections:

  • The annual Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS)
  • The Boundary Verification Program (BVP)

Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS)

The U.S. Census Bureau conducts the Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS) annually to collect information about selected legally defined geographic areas. The BAS is used to update information about the legal boundaries and names of all governmental units in the United States.

The Census Bureau is emailing annual response information to all federally recognized American Indian tribes with reservations or off-reservation trust land, governmental counties (and equivalent areas), incorporated places, consolidated cities, and governmental Minor Civil Divisions (MCDs).

More information on BAS can be found at the Census Bureau BAS page. This include information on time schedules, links to current maps and shapefiles and information on consolidating submissions.

Tentative schedule

January Mailout of materials
March 1 Deadline for sending updates

Boundary Verification Program

BVP is conducted in 2020 and provides the highest elected or appointed official (HEO) of a local government or tribal chair of a tribal government a last opportunity to review and comment on the boundary of their entity and any address range breaks at the boundary before the tabulation of the 2020 Census data.

Tentative schedule

January 2020 Mailout of initial materials to Highest Elected official
March 2020 Deadline for sending changes to be included in final phase
June 2020 Mailout of initial materials to Highest Elected official
August 2020 Receive certification from Highest Elected official

Last modified: October 18, 2016