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Redistricting Data Program Management

Redistricting & Voting Rights Data Office (rdo@census.gov or 301-763-4039)

The Census Redistricting Data Program

Required by law, the Redistricting Data Program provides states the opportunity to specify the small geographic areas for which they wish to receive decennial population totals for the purpose of reapportionment and redistricting.

Under the provisions of Title 13, Section 141(c) of the United States Code (U.S.C.), the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) is required to provide the ‘‘officers or public bodies having initial responsibility for the legislative apportionment or districting of each state ...’’ with the opportunity to specify geographic areas (e.g., blocks, voting districts) for which they wish to receive decennial census population counts for the purpose of reapportionment or redistricting. By April 1 of the year following the decennial census, the Secretary is required to furnish the state officials or their designees with population counts for American Indian areas, counties, cities, census blocks, and state-specified congressional, legislative, and voting districts.

These tabs provide information, by decennial, about the materials and processes for participation by the state appointed non-partisan liaisons to the program.

2020 Census
  • 2020 Census
  • 2010 Census
  • 2000 Census
2020 Census

Redistricting Data Program Management

The 2020 Census Redistricting Data Program

The 2020 Census Redistricting Data Program provided states the opportunity to delineate voting districts and to suggest census block boundaries for use in the 2020 Census redistricting data tabulations (Redistricting Data [Public Law 94-171] Summary File). The program is also responsible for the delivery of those tabulations to the states, statutorily required by one year from Census Day. The program ensured continued dialogue with the states in regard to 2020 Census planning, thereby allowing states ample time for their planning, response, and participation. In addition, the Redistricting Data Program periodically collects state legislative and congressional district boundaries, when they are changed by the states through redistricting.

 

The 2020 Redistricting Data Program Kick-Off Meetings

In support of the states for the 2020 Census, the Redistricting Data Program conducted Redistricting Kick-Off meetings for the states, by request. These meetings, conducted in 2015 and 2016, explained the Redistricting Data Program, the design of the 2020 Census, the 2020 Geographic Programs, and 2020 Field activities. As part of these presentations, support materials and informational aides were provided.

Phase 1 - Block Boundary Suggestion Project

The Block Boundary Suggestion Project, Phase 1 of the 2020 Census Redistricting Data Program, provided states the opportunity to submit their suggestions for the 2020 Census tabulation block inventory. Suggestions were made by designating the desirability of linear features for use as 2020 Census tabulation block boundaries. In addition, states had the opportunity to submit suggested legal boundary updates as well as updates to other geographic areas. These actions allowed states to construct some of the small area geography they need for legislative redistricting. Participation in Phase 1 of the Redistricting Data Program was conducted through the non-partisan liaison designated by each state. Phase 1 was conducted in two parts, an initial identification of the updates needed, and a verification stage to ensure the suggested updates were accurately applied.

BBSP Schedule

  • Initial Identification of Updates -- December 2015 through May 31, 2016
  • Verification of Updates -- December 2016 through May 31, 2017

BBSP Verification - Participant Guides and Documentation

The BBSP Verification participant materials below were created to assist program participants in verifying their previously submitted work from the initial part of the BBSP.

Phase 2 - Voting District Project

The Voting District Project, Phase 2 of the 2020 Census Redistricting Data Program, provided states the opportunity to submit their voting districts (ex. wards, precincts, etc.) for inclusion in the 2020 Census Redistricting Data tabulations (P.L. 94-171 Redistricting Data). In addition, states had the opportunity to submit suggested legal boundary updates as well as updates to other geographic areas. These actions allowed states to construct some of the small area geography they need for legislative redistricting. Participation in Phase 2 of the Redistricting Data Program was conducted through the non-partisan liaison designated by each state. Phase 2 was conducted in three parts. The first two parts were an initial identification of the voting districts and a verification stage to ensure the suggested updates were accurately applied. The third stage was an additional round of verification, for those states participating in the first two stages, to further review and adjust the voting districts.

VTD Schedule

  • Initial Identification of Updates -- December 2017 through May 31, 2018
  • Verification of Updates -- December 2018 through May 31, 2019
  • Verification of Updates II -- December 2019 through March 31, 2020

VTD Verification II - Participant Guides, Documentation, and Training

The Voting District Project (VTD) verification guidelines, software, and other materials are provided below. These materials were created to assist official program participants in performing the final verification of their voting districts for inclusion in the 2020 Census tabulation geography.

Phase 3 - Delivery of the 2020 Census P.L. 94-171 Redistricting Data Files and Geographic Products

For Phase 3 – Data Delivery, the Director of the Census Bureau will, in accordance with 13 U.S.C. 141(c), furnish the Governor and state legislative leaders, both the majority and minority, with 2020 Census population counts for standard census tabulation areas (e.g., state, Congressional district, state legislative district, American Indian area, county, city, town, census tract, census block group, and census block) regardless of a state’s participation in Phase 1 or 2. In addition, for those states participating in Phase 2, standard census tabulation will be provided for voting districts.

As a lesson learned from past decennial censuses, it is vital that the Census Bureau produce a prototype product to illustrate what the states can expect from the decennial census. This prototype is used to build and test systems in advance of the official data release so that states can begin work immediately, as many have short statutory deadlines that begin with the receipt of their data. In 2019, we used the prototype data product to illustrate and solicit feedback on what the 2020 Census P.L. 94-171 Redistricting Data File will look like and how it addresses the needs of the states for their legislative redistricting requirements.

Prototype P.L. 94-171 Redistricting Data Summary File

Please note that the term "legacy" refers to our long time practice of providing the full P.L. 94-171 Redistricting Data for each State as a group of text files with the geography file and data segments as separate files in that group. For the 2020 Census Legacy Format Summary File, the separate geography file and data segments will be pipe delimited text files. This is a change from the fixed width and comma delimited structures used in 2010.

Prototype P.L. 94-171 Legacy Summary File Data (2020 Style) is pipe-delimited. This is the format data users will receive from the 2020 Census.

Phase 4 - Collection of Post-2020 Census Redistricting Plans

Phase 5 - Evaluation of the 2020 Census Redistricting Data Program and Recommendations for 2030

For more information regarding the 2020 Redistricting Data Program, please:

  • Call the Redistricting Data Program staff at (301) 763-4039.
  • Refer to the Federal Register Notice, Establishment of the 2020 Census Redistricting Data Program.
  • Or read Designing P.L. 94-171 Redistricting Data for the Year 2020 Census - The View From the States, the evaluation of the 2010 Census Redistricting Data Program and the recommendations from the States for the 2020 Census Redistricting Data Program

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