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2020 Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMA) Program

2020 PUMA Overview

The purpose of the 2020 PUMA is to delineate PUMAs for the next decade. The program occurs after publication of population counts and census tracts from the 2020 Census of Population and Housing. State Data Centers (SDCs) representatives delineate PUMAs.

2020 PUMA information and schedule that follow are summarized from the 60-day notice and 30-day notice published to the Federal Register.

Overview Presentation

The Census Bureau presented this introduction and overview of the 2020 PUMA to SDCs in October 2020.

2020 PUMA Participation

The Census Bureau invites the SDCs from each state, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to delineate PUMAs. The Census Bureau encourages the SDCs to involve other interested data users, such as those in tribal, state, and local governments, as well as regional planning agencies or organizations, to ensure that PUMAs meet the needs of a variety of data users. The SDCs are the official participants for the 2020 PUMA and must coordinate the delineation work suggested or prepared by others. The Census Bureau only accepts PUMA submissions from each state’s respective SDC.

2020 PUMA Participant Materials

This section includes the software and instructions for 2020 PUMA participation. Download these materials from the links below, as there are no plans for the Census Bureau to distribute materials by other means. SDCs should contact us if other arrangements are needed.

Geographic Update Partnership Software (GUPS)

GUPS is customized GIS software provided by the Census Bureau. It is based on the open-source platform QGIS. GUPS is tailored to meet the needs of participants without extensive GIS experience. For further information on the QGIS open-source platform, please visit their website at

Follow the steps below to download and install GUPS. Detailed instructions are located in both the summary guide and in the participant guide. Please note that many agencies/organizations require certain security privileges to download and install external software. Work with your local Information Technology (IT) staff person to acquire those privileges or ask for assistance with GUPS installation.

Download the GUPS software by selecting the "Download GUPS" link below.

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.

2021 Partnership Shapefiles

While not the preferred option, participants with unstable internet connectivity or restrictions placed on their local network may download the shapefiles to their local machine/network rather than using the Census Web option. To use files from a local computer, the first steps involve downloading and unzipping the proper partnership shapefiles. Follow the steps outlined in the 2020 PUMA Participant Guide, Appendix D, Table 25 for instructions on acquiring and staging the shapefiles needed for the 2020 PUMA.

Webinar Information

The Census Bureau will host 2020 PUMA training webinars on the following dates:

  1. Wednesday, October 6, 2021 2:00pm – 4:30pm EST
  2. Wednesday, October 27, 2021 2:00pm – 4:30pm EST
  3. Wednesday, December 15, 2021 2:00pm – 4:30pm EST

Webinar invitation and log-in information was provided via email. Access the presentation slides and recording below.


April 30, 2021: SDCs and the public provided comments on the proposed criteria through this time.

Spring 2021: Census Bureau published 30-day notice to the Federal Register for comment and concurrently submitted final package for review.

Summer 2021: Final 2020 PUMA criteria posted to this web page.

September 2021: Census Bureau sent email notification to SDC points of contact officially announcing the program. Participant materials posted to this web page.

Fall 2021: Census Bureau conducts training.

November 2021 through January 2022: The 90-day review period for SDCs to delineate and submit PUMAs.

Summer 2022: Final 2020 PUMAs and their associated data available online.

Contact Information

Contact the Census Bureau for support at


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