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Frequently Asked Questions
Geographically Updated Population Certification Program

1.  What is the Geographically Updated Population Certification Program (GUPCP)?

GUPCP is a Census Bureau-sponsored program that enables local and tribal governments and other customers to obtain certified Census 2000 population and housing counts for updated or newly established governmental unit boundaries.  A geographically updated population certificate confirms that an official population count is an accurate re-tabulation of 2010 Census population and housing counts based upon boundary updates legally effective after January 1, 2010, the date for boundaries used in tabulating the 2010 Census.

2.  How is a Geographically Updated Population Certification different from a certified Special Census population count?

As stated in question 1, a Geographically Updated Population Certification is a re-tabulation of 2010 Census population and housing counts within new boundaries.  (“New” boundaries are boundaries that become effective after January 1, 2010, the date for boundaries used to report 2010 Census data.)  The geographically updated certified count will include only the population and housing that existed and was counted at the time of the 2010 Census.  It will not include counts for new housing or group quarters (i.e. nursing homes, college dormitories, prisons, etc.) population.  In other words, if a local government wants to know the population within a housing development built after the 2010 Census was taken, they could not get that information from GUPCP. 

A Special Census is an actual enumeration of housing and group quarters of a specific area, conducted on a specified date.  Unlike the GUPCP counts, Special Census counts will include new housing and population that came into the area after the 2010 Census.  The Special Census also will produce demographic detail for the population, such as information on age, sex, relationships within households, race, Hispanic origin, occupancy or vacancy status, type of vacancy, tenure for housing units and any other information Special Census customers may choose to collect through other questions added to the questionnaire.  GUPCP will provide only total population and housing unit counts.  For more information on Special Censuses, visit

3. Why would local and tribal governmental units participate in GUPCP?

In order to apply for state funding disbursements, local governmental units may be required by state law(s) to obtain a Census Bureau certified population count for their governmental unit in its updated or new boundaries.  In addition, federally sponsored programs may require or honor a certified, official Census Bureau population count for determining program eligibility or funding distributions.  Local and tribal governmental units also might need certified population counts for other administrative or planning purposes. 

4.  Can I get a geographically updated population and housing count certification for any geographic area?

No.  At this time, the Census Bureau is only offering geographically updated population and housing count certifications for the following types of areas:

  • Federally recognized American Indian reservations and off-reservation trust land entities.  This includes a reservation designated as a colony, community, Indian community, Indian village, pueblo, rancheria, reservation, reserve, or village. 

  • Counties and statistically equivalent entities, including counties in 48 states; boroughs, municipalities, and census areas in Alaska; parishes in Louisiana; and municipios in Puerto Rico.

  • Minor civil divisions in the 28 states in which they exist: Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

  • Incorporated places, including boroughs in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania; cities in 49 states and the District of Columbia; cities, boroughs, and municipalities in Alaska; towns in 30 states (excluding towns in New England, New York and Wisconsin which are minor civil divisions); and villages in 20 states.

  • Consolidated cities.

  • School districts.

Geographically updated population and housing count certifications are not currently available for other areas or individual census blocks split by boundaries.

5.  How do I participate in GUPCP?

Customers can print and fill out the request form (Form BC-1869), available on the certification web page at  Instructions are also provided on this page.  You can fax the form to the Customer Services Center (301-763-3842), or submit the request via e-mail or phone (1-800-923-8282 or 301-763-INFO).  A letter or e-mail communication requesting the service without Form BC-1869 will be accepted only if it contains all the information necessary to complete the form.

6.  What information does the Census Bureau need in order to process my GUPCP request?

Please date your request, enter your name, the name of your governmental unit or entity, the county or counties in which it is located, and the name of the highest-ranking elected official.  Please also include a contact name, mailing address, phone and fax numbers and an e-mail address.  If you need more than one copy of the certificate, indicate how many copies are needed and where they should be mailed, including addressee name(s), title(s), office(s), and mailing address(es).  In addition to the fee for the certification, there is a $35 charge for each additional certificate requested.

Note:  Additional original certificates may be required by state governments or other agencies before they will accept certified counts.  For example, the state of Illinois requires that the U.S. Census Bureau send an original copy of the geographically updated population certificate directly to their Secretary of State’s office, before they will recognize the certified population.  Because the Census Bureau is not always aware of the requirements of various states and programs, it is your responsibility to tell us where additional certificates should be mailed.

Finally, we ask you to provide the name, street address, census tract, and census block of any large facilities, such as college dormitories, nursing homes, military barracks, or prisons, enumerated during the 2010 Census that you believe should be included within the new reported boundaries.  This will help us to ensure inclusion of all relevant facility population as part of the certification.

7.  Does a GUPCP certification cost anything

Yes. Costs for a GUPCP certification are $622 for annual processing, and $1,934 for expedited processing. The type of processing depends on a number of factors, especially how long you are able to wait for the certification. Please call 800-923-8282 to find out which cost would apply for your specific case.

Should you decide to go forward with the certification, we will need to collect the full fee before we can begin work.  Payment can be made by credit card, check, or money order.  To expedite paying by check, consider sending your check by courier to our headquarters location.

To send via Courier only:

U.S. Census Bureau
Attn:  Certification Services
Customer Services Center, Room 1579-3 (MS 0801)
4700 Silver Hill Road
Suitland, MD   20746

Please make the check payable to:  Commerce-Census

If you plan to mail your payment to us, please use this address:

U.S. Department of Commerce
Bureau of the Census
Attn:  Certifications
Customer Services Center, Mail Stop 0801
Washington, DC   20233

8.  What exactly will I receive from the Census Bureau?

The Census Bureau will produce a certificate, defined as an “Attestation,” that is, a signed statement by a Census Bureau official attesting to the authenticity of the certified 2010 Census population and housing count for the new or updated geographic area.  Customarily, the certificate is produced for the highest elected official of the governmental unit requesting the certificate.  If additional copies were requested on the original certification request form, those recipients will also receive original certificates.

9.  How will the certificate be shipped to me?

All population certificates will be shipped via courier service at no additional charge to you.

10. What if I change my mind and wish to cancel my order?

If you decide to cancel, we will offer you a partial refund.  Refund amounts will be reduced by the costs we have incurred for work we have already undertaken to fulfill your request.  If you cancel after you have returned the maps and we have begun our processing, we will have to recover our processing costs and your refund will be even less.  Our customer services staff will be happy to discuss the refund terms with you when you place your order.

11.  I have more questions. Where can I call to discuss my request?

Contact the Census Bureau’s Customer Services Center at 1-800-923-8282 or 301-763-INFO (4636), and a representative will take your request and/or have one of our population specialists contact you.


Source: U.S. Census Bureau,
Customer Liaison and Marketing Services Office, Customer Services Center

Last Revised: Friday, 01-Nov-2013 13:02:17 EDT