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Participant Statistical Areas Program (PSAP)

The 2020 Census Participant Statistical Areas Program (PSAP) was a voluntary geographic partnership program that provided an opportunity for designated participants to review and suggest changes to the boundaries and names for statistical areas using specific criteria and guidelines. The Census Bureau uses these smaller, statistical areas to tabulate and disseminate data for the Decennial Census, Economic Census, and the annual American Community Survey (ACS) estimates. These data are used to prepare grant applications to fund community and regional development, education, agriculture, energy, and environmental programs, as well as other community improvements and enhancements and are vital to plan for future community and regional needs.

The 2020 Census PSAP began in March 2018 and consisted of three phases. The internal review phase included outreach to previous program participants to gauge interest in the 2020 program and the creation of draft statistical area plans. The delineation phase began in January 2019 with participants having 120 calendar days to submit their updates. To assist participants with delineation, the Census Bureau conducted online training webinars in January and February 2019. After processing of submissions completed, the verification phase began in January 2020. It provided an opportunity for participants to verify work performed during the delineation phase. Participants had 90 calendar days to confirm the work or submit updates/corrections.

There were two types of statistical areas to review for the 2020 Census PSAP: standard and tribal. The final criteria used for these two types of statistical areas is on the Federal Register Notices webpage. Note, the final criteria for tribal statistical areas did not change from 2010 and is saved in the "American Indian and Alaska Native Programs” section.

Standard statistical geographies included:

  • Census tracts.
  • Block groups.
  • Census designated places (CDPs).
  • Census county divisions (CCDs), in select states.


Tribal statistical geographies included:

  • Tribal census tracts.
  • Tribal block groups.
  • Census designated places (CDPs).
  • Alaska Native village statistical areas (ANVSAs).
  • Oklahoma tribal statistical areas (OTSAs).
  • OTSA tribal subdivisions.
  • Tribal designated statistical areas (TDSAs).
  • State designated tribal statistical areas (SDTSAs).

Participants reviewing standard statistical areas were required to use the Geographic Update Partnership Software (GUPS) to prepare their submission. GUPS is a free, customized-geographic information system (GIS) developed at the Census Bureau for use in many of its geographic partnership programs. Participants reviewing tribal statistical areas were allowed to use either GUPS or paper materials to complete their work.

The Census Bureau is no longer accepting submissions for the 2020 Census PSAP. The next opportunity to review and/or delineate statistical area boundaries is planned for the 2030 Census. The following documents are available for reference only.

Contact Information

For questions regarding the PSAP or statistical area geography, contact the Census Bureau by email at geo.psap@census.gov.



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Page Last Revised - October 18, 2022
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