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2020 Census Count Question Resolution Operation (CQR)

The case status list is updated every Monday by 5:00pm Eastern Time (whether there are new cases or not). If Monday is a holiday, the list is updated on Tuesday.

The deadline for eligible tribal, state, and local governmental units to submit a CQR case for review is June 30, 2023.

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The CQR operation gives tribal, state and local governmental units the opportunity to request that the Census Bureau review their boundaries and/or housing counts to identify errors that may have occurred while processing their 2020 Census counts.

This review helps ensure that housing and population counts are allocated to the correct 2020 Census blocks in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

CQR can only review data collected and processed during the 2020 Census. It does not collect new data or conduct a recount. If the review process finds errors related to geographic boundaries or housing placement, housing and population counts will be corrected and the revised counts will be redistributed.

Per federal law, the Census Bureau cannot update 2020 Census results through the CQR operation — or any other operation. However, CQR can correct errors that occurred when processing information that was collected during the census and redistribute a certified, revised count to affected governmental units.

If the Census Bureau makes any corrections based on a CQR review:

  • It will not change apportionment counts, redistricting data, 2020 Census counts, or any other 2020 Census data products.
  • Tribal, state, and local areas will have higher quality information throughout the decade.
  • The Census Bureau will use the corrected counts in the baseline used to calculate its annual population estimates.
  • Corrected counts can help governments plan and apply for future funding.

To compare CQR with other options for reviewing or updating population counts after the 2020 Census, refer to this comparison table:

Types of CQR Cases Reviewed

Governments with questions about their counts can request a CQR review in the following situations: 

  • Boundary cases. CQR can review the legal boundaries in effect for governmental units as of January 1, 2020. It can also review the associated addresses affected by the boundaries.
  • Housing count cases. CQR can review the geographic location or placement of housing and its associated population . It can also review 2020 census results to determine whether census processing error(s) excluded valid housing and associated population data.
  • Both boundary and housing count cases.

CQR does not review population counts for group quarter facilities such as nursing homes, college/university student residence halls, or correctional facilities.

Learn more about options for reviewing 2020 Census counts for group quarters or updating group quarters population data on our Unexpected Results page.

Who Can Participate

The following active, functioning governmental unit types are eligible to submit a CQR case for review. See the PDF below for a comprehensive list.

  • Tribal areas, including federally recognized tribes with a reservation and/or off-reservation trust lands, Alaska Native Regional Corporations, and Alaska Native villages.
  • States or equivalent entities (e.g. District of Columbia, Puerto Rico).
  • Counties or equivalent entities (e.g. boroughs, parishes, municipios).
  • Minor Civil Divisions (e.g., townships).
  • Consolidated Cities.
  • Incorporated Places (e.g., villages, towns, cities).

How to Participate

The CQR Participant Guides provide instructions on how to prepare and submit a case. They detail the files and documentation you must submit as well as formatting requirements. 

Please select the guide that matches the method you will use to submit your case: digital/paper or using GUPS. Unless you are using GUPS, please refer to the digital/paper guide.

The Frequently Asked Questions provide further guidance about submission requirements.

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Governmental units are encouraged to submit cases digitally.

For information about paper submissions, please consult the Participant Guides or contact us at 1-888-369-3617 or dcmd.2020.cqr.submissions@census.gov.

There are three digital methods for preparing a CQR case. Once ready, submit your case using the Secure Web Incoming Module (SWIM)

  1. The Census Bureau offers 2020 Census Block Maps in Adobe Portable Document File (PDF) format displaying the legal boundaries in effect as of January 1, 2020, for each governmental unit, as well as the 2020 census tracts and 2020 census tabulation blocks.
  2. The Geographic Update Partnership Software (GUPS) is a free, customized geographic information system (GIS) software tool made available by the Census Bureau. It specifically designed for governmental units without geographic training or who are not experienced GIS users, but it can be used by anyone preparing a CQR case. You can download the CQR GUPS from the “GUPS” section below. 
  3. Experienced GIS users can utilize their own GIS software. The Census Bureau provides the Partnership shapefiles needed, and the Participant Guide outlines how to use them. Governmental units can use the Partnership shapefiles as they review the 2020 Census results and prepare their CQR case.

Refer to the Participant Guides for complete instructions.

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Once a governmental unit initiates a CQR request, all required documentation must be submitted successfully within 90 days. To be successful, documentation must be complete and meet formatting requirements. These requirements are found in the Participant Guide and the CQR Frequently Asked Questions.

Please note that all supporting documentation must include a message from the highest elected official about the CQR case. In their message they may choose to designate another person as the CQR contact for the case.

January 3, 2022: Governmental units can begin submitting CQR cases for review

June 30, 2023: Deadline for governmental units to submit all documentation for a CQR case

September 30, 2023: Deadline for the Census Bureau to inform all impacted governmental units of results

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Participation Materials

These files are to be used for housing count cases. CQR Block Count List Files are state-based files that provide separate housing counts for housing units and group quarters by 2020 census tabulation block. These files are available for each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Governmental units submitting a housing count case must provide an updated count of housing units and/or group quarters by 2020 census tabulation block.

They can use the CQR Block Count List Files to review the 2020 Census results and provide updated housing counts.

The files are available as comma separated values (.csv) files and Microsoft Excel workbook (.xlsx) files. The .csv files are for use in a geographic information system (GIS) and in GUPS.

Refer to the Participant Guides for instructions. 

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The CQR Address List Template File is a blank spreadsheet to be used only by non-GUPS participants submitting a boundary case.

Governmental units submitting a boundary case are required to provide an address list with specific fields of information. They can use the CQR Address List Template File to provide their individual, residential addresses for the 2020 census tabulation blocks affected by the boundary correction.

This file is available as comma separated values (.csv) file (i.e., comma-delimited text file), for use in a GIS and as a Microsoft Excel workbook (.xls) file. The file contains the necessary header row with 25 fields of information and a preset format to preserve all fields as Text.

Refer to the Participant Guides for instructions.

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The 2020 Census Block Maps are for governmental units that are not using a GIS or GUPS to submit a CQR case. They will use these maps to determine whether submitting a boundary case for review is necessary.

If filing a boundary case, governmental units may use them to show their boundary correction and individual map spots for addresses affected by the boundary correction.

If filing a housing count case, maps are not required.

The 2020 Census Block Maps are governmental unit-based maps produced to support the decennial census data release. They are large-scale, large format (i.e., 36”x32”) maps that show and label all 2020 census tabulation blocks within the governmental unit and the legal boundaries in effect as of January 1, 2020. They also show and label additional common map features.

These maps are Adobe PDFs and are available for online viewing and/or download from the link below. Refer to the Participant Guides for instructions.

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The 2021 Partnership shapefiles are extracts of selected geographic and cartographic information from the Master Address File/Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (MAF/TIGER) System.

These shapefiles are used as a reference for the 2020 census tabulation blocks and the legal boundaries as of January 1, 2020, by governmental units that are using a GIS or GUPS to participate in 2020 Census CQR to determine if filing a case is necessary.

If filing a boundary case, governmental units may use them to show their boundary correction and individual map spots for addresses affected by the boundary correction. Maps are not required to accompany a housing count case.

Regardless of the year the governmental unit chooses to review the 2020 Census results and prepare a CQR case, the 2021 Partnership shapefiles (e.g., the PVS_20_v2 file naming convention) is the version of shapefiles required for 2020 Census CQR. Access these files at the link below.

Refer to the Participant Guides for instructions.

2021 Partnership Shapefiles for the 2021 BAS and 2020 Census CQR

Use these shapefiles for the 2021 Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS) and 2020 Census Count Question Resolution Operation (CQR).

Please note that these shapefiles begin with the prefix PVS_20_v2. To download shapefiles, please select the state or state equivalent for which you would like to download shapefiles for:

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The CQR GUPS is a GIS software tool that uses spatial files and templates to allow you to submit CQR case data. It is an easy-to-use software designed to meet the needs of CQR participants without extensive GIS experience, and it is based on an open-source platform known as QGIS.

To prepare a CQR case using GUPS, download the GUPS software by selecting the "Download GUPS" link below. Please note, governmental units must install the version of GUPS available for download below. They cannot use an existing version they used for a previous census program.

The 2020 Census CQR Participant Guide (GUPS) includes details on how to use GUPS. Please make sure you are using the participant guide that specifies GUPS in the title.

Instructions to Download and Install GUPS
  1. Download GUPS to the computer by choosing the Download GUPS link.
  2. Unzip the file and extract all contents of the unzipped package to a folder on the computer.
  3. Double-click the SETUP-x.x.x batch file to start the installation.
  4. The Welcome to the QGIS GUPS Setup Wizard screen will appear. Follow the instructions on the screen and select the Next button.
  5. The License Agreement screen will appear. Review the License Agreement and select the I Agree button to continue.
  6. The Choose Install Location screen will appear. Select the Next button to continue. For performance and stability, the Census Bureau recommends installation to the default folder (e.g., C:\QGIS344) even though the Browse button allows for a change to the installation folder.
  7. The Choose Components screen will appear. The ‘☑QGIS’
    in the Select components to install section is checked and grayed out since it is the default. Choose the Install button to continue.
  8. The software may take five to ten minutes to complete installation. When complete, select the Finish button on the Completing the QGIS 3.4.4 ‘Madeira’ Setup Wizard screen.
  9. The GUPS Install Setup: Completed screen appears. Select the Close button.

The steps listed above are further detailed in Chapter 3 of the 2020 Census CQR Participant Guide (GUPS).

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Have Questions?

If you have questions regarding 2020 Census CQR, call us at 1-888-369-3617 or email us at dcmd.2020.cqr.submissions@census.gov. Staff is available by phone from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Voicemail messages will be returned within two business days.

Additional Information

Press Kit, Fact Sheets, and FAQs

Operational Documents

Boundary Guides

Federal Register Notices

Notes and Errata

Page Last Revised - May 9, 2023
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