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Now Available: 2020 Post-Enumeration Survey (PES) Results for the 50 states and District of Columbia.

2020 Census Count Question Resolution Operation FAQs

The 2020 Census Count Question Resolution Operation (CQR) gives tribal, state, and local governments an opportunity to request a review of their official 2020 Census counts. The operation allows governments to identify potential errors in legal boundaries and how the Census Bureau processed housing counts.

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The current schedule for the CQR:

  • Fall 2021: Federal Register Notice announces the beginning of a 30-day comment period for the public.
  • December 2021: The Census Bureau plans to officially notify tribal, state, and local government officials who are eligible to file CQR cases.
  • January 3, 2022: The Census Bureau begins accepting CQR cases from eligible tribal, state, and local governments.
  • June 30, 2023: Deadline for governments to send CQR cases to the Census Bureau.
  • September 30, 2023: End date for the operation and deadline for the Census Bureau to provide results to affected governmental units that have not already been notified of a disposition.

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The Census Bureau plans to release results to affected governmental units within 90 days of receipt of an inquiry. Results will be released on a rolling basis through September 30, 2023.

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CQR requests can only be submitted by the highest elected or appointed officials (or their representative) of federally recognized American Indian tribes, states, counties, incorporated places, actively functioning minor civil divisions, municipios in Puerto Rico, Alaska Native Regional Corporations and Alaska Native Village statistical areas.

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In the fall of 2021, the Census Bureau will notify the approximately 40,000 eligible governments (federally recognized American Indian tribes, states, counties, incorporated places, actively functioning minor civil divisions, municipios in Puerto Rico, Alaska Native Regional Corporations, and Alaska Native Village statistical areas) about the CQR operation and how to submit a request.

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CQR allows governments to request a review of their official 2020 Census counts and to correct boundary, geocoding, and certain coverage issues:

  • The Census Bureau can correct legal boundaries if they were incorrect in our records as of January 1, 2020.
  • The Census Bureau can correct housing counts by block if we find certain errors in our records during research.

In some instances, corrections may result in revised housing and population counts, which the Census Bureau would publish on census.gov. Any changes made from a CQR review would apply to Census Bureau population estimates going forward.

A CQR request does not impact or change a state’s overall population used in its apportionment count or a state’s number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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We will notify governments about the documentation and process in December and will share this information on our website.

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We will research the cases submitted and resolve them in one of three ways:

  • Identify corrections and update census records. If we identify eligible CQR corrections, we will update census records. We will re-geocode all verified addresses and move them to the correct tabulation block. We may also move addresses that were not part of a request if they are affected by a valid boundary change.
  • Close the case without making changes. If no CQR eligible corrections are found, no updates to census records will be made.
  • Determine the case is out of scope. If the submission does not meet one of the types of eligible submissions, we’ll determine it out of scope for the CQR Operation and make no changes to census records.

Additionally, a few other situations are out of scope for a CQR correction. For example, the CQR process doesn’t examine whether respondents or census takers incorrectly determined an address’ occupancy status or household size during field operations. If the information collected during census operations was processed correctly, no correction is possible under the CQR Operation. Also, addresses that were not on our list for the census to begin with or that were not added during the enumeration process cannot be added and cannot be corrected by the CQR Operation.

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If a CQR review results in a change, the Census Bureau issues official revised counts to the affected governments. These changes can be used by the governments for future programs that require official 2020 Census data. They are also used to calculate subsequent population estimates for that community.

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When there is a population change after a CQR review, the requesting governmental unit and all other affected governments are sent a letter that includes a table with the original total housing units, group quarters, and total population counts; the corrected (revised) total housing units, group quarters, and total population counts; and the change from the original to the corrected counts. In addition, a more detailed table of the CQR results for each affected governmental unit is created that includes total population, total group quarters, and total housing units at the state, county, county subdivision, place, tract, and block levels of geography, as appropriate.

For boundary review requests, a map reflecting the boundary change is created and delivered to any affected governmental units. The Census Bureau will post updated CQR maps at Geographic Program User Notes. Finally, the Census Bureau will not make any changes to the apportionment data, redistricting counts, or other 2020 Census data products. Revised CQR counts can be used by governments for future programs that require official 2020 Census data. The Census Bureau will also use them to calculate subsequent population estimates for that community.

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A review of 2010 Census data found only a small percentage of CQR cases resulted in a correction to the census count or boundaries.

  • Roughly one in four eligible inquiries resulted in a change to a government’s boundary or population count.
  • Nationally, about 400 addresses were omitted because of a processing error. However, we also deleted many duplicate addresses, so the net increase in addresses was only 175 units.
  • Roughly 48,000 addresses were moved to the correct census block.
  • The national population increase was only 527 people after CQR review.

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The Census Bureau prepares a table with revised official counts, and CQR results are shown in a table format that includes the original 2020 Census total housing units, group quarters and population counts; the corrected (revised) total housing unit, total group quarters, and total population counts; and the change from the original to the corrected counts. For boundary reviews, a map reflecting the boundary change is created and delivered to the jurisdiction (and any other affected jurisdictions). The Census Bureau will post updated CQR maps at Geographic Program User Notes.

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Revised counts can be used by jurisdictions for future programs that require official 2020 Census data. The Census Bureau will also use them to calculate subsequent population estimates for that community.

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When there is a population change after a CQR request, the jurisdiction and all other affected jurisdictions receive a letter that includes a table with the original total housing units, group quarters, and total population counts; the corrected (revised) total housing unit, group quarters, and total population counts; and the change from the original to the corrected counts. If a review request results in no change to any addresses or the request is not one of the eligible types of review, a letter is sent to the submitting jurisdiction explaining why the challenge did not result in a change to its 2020 Census counts or why its request was not one of the eligible types. There is no appeal process in the CQR Operation. The jurisdiction may submit another request with the required documentation that supports one or more of the CQR challenge types.

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The 2020 Census CQR is only changing from the 2010 CQR program in minor ways. In 2010, the three acceptable case types were boundary, geocoding and/or coverage cases. We consolidated the geocoding and coverage case types because governments are unlikely to know if the underlying cause for concern with their housing counts was caused by errors in geocoding (assigning housing to a census block) or coverage (not adding housing, such as newly constructed units, to a census block during data processing during 2020 enumeration).

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