The Governments Master Address File (GMAF) is updated continuously to add newly established units that meet Census Bureau criteria for independent governments, and to delete dissolved or inactive units. A governmental unit is considered inactive if it has no activity, receives no revenue, and has no officers currently. The preliminary counts of governments released in August 2012 result from a survey of all cities, counties, townships, and special districts in the United States. The method of collection of school districts is detailed below.
The Government Units Survey (GUS) obtained information from each governmental unit reflecting the government’s status as of October 11, 2011. The survey form is available under the Get Forms tab. The information collected on the form included the status of the governments on the survey reference date, activities and functions of the government, and basic financial information to yield an estimate of the size of the governmental unit. Governments receiving the GUS form could choose to return their information either via mail or the GUS web instrument. The data obtained from the GUS will be further verified and updated until September 2013 when the final counts from the GMAF will be published. These final counts will reflect the number of governments in scope for the final component of the 2012 Census, the Finance component.
The universe list of county, municipal, and township governments is continuously updated as these units of governments become established, dissolved, or reorganized. Decisions to add or delete a county, municipal, or township governments are made on the basis of information obtained through the annual Boundary and Annexation Survey, which is conducted by the Census Bureau's Geography Division. These units were included in the 2011 Government Units Survey (GUS) and received a GUS form.
Special District Governments
The process of updating the universe list of special district governments involves several steps as follows:
All special districts that had been identified by April 2, 2012 received a GUS form and are included in the preliminary Census counts.
Public School Systems
The universe list of public school systems, including both independent school district governments and dependent school systems, is updated using directory files of local education agencies maintained by the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Discrepancies between the various files are examined and the GMAF is revised as necessary following Census Bureau classification criteria. In addition the GMAF is updated based on information obtained directly from various state education agencies. These units are included in the 2012 preliminary Census counts.
Data Collection Schedule
Data collection for the GUS followed this schedule:
|Early notice postcard||July 18, 2011|
|Pre-notice letter for GUS||September 27, 2011|
|Mailout of GUS||October 11, 2011|
|Due date for GUS forms||November 11, 2011|
|Reminder letter||December 8, 2011|
|Second mailing of form||January 24, 2012|
|Beginning of telephone nonresponse follow-up||February 27, 2012|
|End of collection period for preliminary counts||July 23, 2012|
The Governments Master Address File is further refined on the basis of information obtained through various annual surveys and censuses, as well as via Quality Improvement Program trips to state capitals to obtain listings of special purpose governments, names of associations, and contact information for the state offices that oversee the activity of the special districts.