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How the Local Update of Census Addresses Helps Improve Census Counts for Communities

September 07, 2017
Written by: Chad Toves, Geographic Specialist, Geography Division

A successful 2020 Census is dependent on a complete and accurate address list, which is used to reach every household in the United States. One of the key components to that address list is the Census Bureau’s Local Update of Census Addresses operation, known as LUCA. States, counties, incorporated places, and minor civil divisions (such as townships) and tribal areas may participate in this opportunity before the 2020 Census begins. LUCA is an opportunity for these entities to review, comment and provide updates to the Census Bureau’s residential address list for their jurisdictions.

As the Census Bureau prepares for the 2020 Census, LUCA participants will be able to use advanced technology that will improve the operation. For the first time, participants will receive the structure point coordinates indicating the location of each address in their jurisdiction. This saves time and effort by allowing participants to easily identify and supply the missing addresses to the Census Bureau. In addition, LUCA partners will be able to provide non-city-style addresses, such as rural route addresses, as long as they provide a structure coordinate location to accompany the address. The ability to provide non-city-style addresses is something that the Census Bureau could not do in previous iterations of the LUCA operation. This program change allows partners to submit or correct more of their addresses than would have been previously allowed.

The 2020 Census will be the third census with the LUCA operation since Congress passed the Census Address List Improvement Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-430). This law expanded the methods the Census Bureau uses to exchange information with governments in order to support its overall residential address list development and improvement efforts.

The 2020 Census LUCA operation began in January 2017 with promotional efforts through mailings, webinars and presentations encouraging highest elected officials and tribal chairpersons to participate in the voluntary program.

In July 2017, official invitations and registration material were sent out to each highest elected official and tribal chairperson. The Census Bureau deadline to register for LUCA participation is December 2017. The participation phase of the operation begins in February 2018. The Census Bureau will offer several means of participation, both electronic and paper, suited to governments large and small. The Census Bureau will support government participation through technical workshops.

A strong LUCA response contributes to the efforts to conduct an accurate count of the nation’s people and housing, which in turn helps the federal government accurately distribute billions of dollars in funds annually for infrastructure, programs and services; and helps communities with their future planning needs.

Visit the 2020 LUCA website <>.


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