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Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS) FAQs

Who authorized the survey?

The Boundary and Annexation Survey is authorized by Section 6 of Title 13 of the United States Code Census. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approves the survey materials. The current valid OMB control number is: OMB No. 0607-0151; approval expires on 12-31-2015. The BAS is a voluntary survey.

How is the information used?

The BAS information is used to provide an appropriate record for reporting the results of the decennial and economic censuses, and annual estimates and surveys such as the Population Estimates Program and the American Community Survey.

In compliance with the Office of Management and Budget, Circular A-16, the BAS supports the spatial data steward responsibilities of the Link to a non-federal Web site and the National Map by updating the inventory of boundaries for governmental units.

Will my government be surveyed?

The Census Bureau surveys all federally recognized American Indian areas, governmental counties (and equivalent areas), incorporated places, and governmental minor civil divisions (MCDs). This survey includes approximately 40,000 entities and is conducted every year to provide the geographic support needed for the American Community Survey. The number of entities included in the BAS in a particular year may vary after 2010 depending on funding and the needs of the Census Bureau in fulfilling the requirements for its censuses and surveys.

As part of our geographic partnership program, the Census Bureau has entered into several agreements with state and county governments. These agreements most commonly modify the list of entitites invited to participate in the survey, where knowledge of local areas identifies only those governments known to have boundary changes. Alaska, Georgia, Kentucky, Lousiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Utah, Wisconsin, and Puerto Rico currently have agreements with the Census Bureau. For a list of county agreements, please go to the County Consolidations Agreement page.

When will I receive the survey?

The BAS contact will receive an Annual Response email in December. No materials are faxed or mailed. We are requesting all entities to Response Online to update contact information and to report change or no change. Please contact the Census Bureau by phone at (800) 972-5651 or by email at for more information.

When is the survey due?

All participants should return their responses by March 1st in order to have their updates reflected in next year's data from the American Community Survey and Population Estimates Program.

What if I have no boundary changes to report?

If your entity does not have any changes to report for this BAS cycle, you may notify the Census Bureau by Responding Online, e-mailing, or phoning 1-800-972-5651. If you choose to notify the Census Bureau via e-mail, please type "no boundary changes" in the subject heading and provide the following contact information for your Highest Elected Official and, if different, the BAS contact:

  • Name
  • Title
  • Entity Name
  • Mailing Address
  • Phone and Fax number
  • Email Address

How do I submit my response?

There are various ways to respond to the BAS. The Response Methods page provides further information.

How do I get a SWIM token?

The BAS contact is emailed a SWIM token 5 days after the entity responds to the survey.

If you just downloaded Shapefiles and did not notify us, please Respond Online and the BAS contact will be sent a SWIM token in 5 days. In that time, please review your response by referring to the respondent guides to ensure your submission is in the correct format.

Respondent Guides

Can a county report for entities within its boundaries?

The Census Bureau includes counties in the BAS so that you may report any changes to your county boundary as well as review the BAS form for the functional status of governments within your county. County reviewers are not required to report boundary changes for the jurisdictions within their county.

If you are interested in reporting changes for place or MCD governments within your county, the Census Bureau also offers consolidation agreements. At the county level, a county government can provide updates for their county boundary, as well as for entities within the county that agree to the consolidation. Counties participating in a consolidation agreement are required to obtain the permission of the entities for which they will report. (If your state has legislation in place requiring governments to report boundary changes to the county, then we ask only that you provide us this documentation.). The Census Bureau will not mail the affected entities a BAS package next year or any subsequent year after an agreement has been completed.

How do I report a new incorporation?

If you are a newly incorporated place and would like to participate in the BAS, please contact In order to participate in the BAS, the Census Bureau will need:

  • A copy of the official new incorporation papers, including date of incorporation
  • A map indicating the boundaries of the new incorporation
  • Contact information for the highest elected official and a contact for the BAS

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Geography | (301) 763-1128 |  Last Revised: July 27, 2015