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Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS) - Suspension of the 2014 BAS

The U. S. Census Bureau has suspended the Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS) in fiscal year (FY) 2014, which runs from October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014. The FY 2014 budget for the Department of Commerce and the Census Bureau reflects an effort to balance the desire to fund the many important statistical programs and services the Census Bureau provides within the current budget environment. That effort required the Census Bureau to make some difficult resource allocation decisions that unfortunately resulted in the suspension of the BAS in 2014.

Download a printable PDF version of this information.

What is the BAS?

The Census Bureau conducts the BAS each year to provide state, county, minor civil division, and local governments; as well as tribal governments the opportunity to submit changes to their legal boundaries, names, and governmental status effective on or before January 1 of the survey year. However, a subset of the 40,000 legal governments nationwide forms the core ‘reporting universe’ for BAS production each year. The reporting universe consists of governments known to experience boundary changes. The BAS is voluntary and every legal government has the opportunity to participate each year. In the 2013 BAS, 2,522 governments reported boundary updates.

The Census Bureau works closely with the U. S. Bureau of Indian Affairs to ensure that the BAS reflects official boundaries for federally recognized American Indian reservations, off-reservation trust lands, and tribal subdivisions.

When does the BAS occur?

In the fourth quarter of the calendar year, all governmental units are given an opportunity to participate in the next year’s BAS. The Census Bureau has conducted the BAS annually since 1971, with one previous cancellation in 1993. The majority of boundary-related processing activities occur from January through August.

Why do we conduct the BAS?

The Census Bureau conducts the annual BAS to assure current and accurate boundaries of governmental units for use in tabulating and presenting statistical data released from censuses and surveys such as the annual American Community Survey. The BAS fulfills the agency’s responsibility as part of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure, for which the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-16 designates the Census Bureau as the lead federal agency for maintaining national data about governmental units and statistical and administrative boundaries. These boundaries are important in providing governments current information about their communities for future planning.

What are the exceptions from the suspension?

There are two exceptions to the processing of legal boundary updates in fiscal year 2014.  The Census Bureau will continue to process National Standard code changes, new incorporations, disincorporations, and name changes due to our agreement with the U. S. Geological Survey.  The Census Bureau, also, maintains the Federal Information Processing Series (FIPS) codes for all federal, state and local governments separate from the BAS program as well as tribal governments.  In addition, the Census Bureau will continue to process legal boundary updates as part of the Special Census Program and Geographically Updated Population Certification Program.  To learn more about these programs, please visit the Census Bureau website at http://www.census.gov

The result of your 2013 BAS submissions

We completed the updates of all the boundaries submitted for the 2013 BAS before August 2013 into the MAF/TIGER database. There will be no materials created, such as PDF maps or BAS forms, to verify your submission from 2013 BAS. We will post shapefiles containing the updates in March 2014 on the Census Bureau website.

If boundaries are submitted in FY14

With the suspension of the 2014 BAS, the Census Bureau will not solicit boundary updates from local and tribal governments. If governments submit boundary information such as annexation notifications, map submissions, and digital updates during FY14 then the Census Bureau will hold those materials in preparation of the 2015 BAS.

Who uses the BAS results?

The Census Bureau provides the results of the BAS to the public as part of the agency’s annual TIGER/Line product and via the TIGERweb online mapping application (http://tigerweb.geo.census.gov/tigerwebmain/TIGERweb_main.html).  The public and data users rely on the annual BAS boundaries as the official federal representation of boundaries for legal governmental units. 

The Census Bureau uses the BAS results to support a number of programs, including Congressional and State Legislative redistricting, the Decennial Census and related preparatory tests, the Economic Census, and the Special Census program.  The annual American Community Survey uses BAS boundaries to tabulate survey results, and the Population Estimates Program uses BAS to ensure that the most current boundaries are available in the annual release of population estimates. 

Numerous federal programs rely on accurate boundaries from each BAS.  The United States Geological Survey depicts the annual BAS boundaries on their on-line National Map service.  The Department of Housing and Urban Development uses BAS boundaries to determine jurisdictional eligibility for various grant programs, such as the Community Development Block Grant program.  The Department of Agriculture uses BAS boundaries to determine eligibility for various rural housing and economic development programs.

Contact Information

If you have any questions about this statement on the 2014 BAS, please e-mail geo.bas@census.gov, or visit the BAS web site.

Please direct all written correspondence to:

BAS Legal Areas Team
Geographic Areas Branch
U. S. Census Bureau
Washington, DC 20233-7400


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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Geography | (301) 763-1128 |  Last Revised: October 28, 2013