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Population Estimates Challenge Program

The Population Estimates Challenge Program is temporarily suspended as of January, 2020.

The program is suspended during both the decennial census year and the following year to accommodate the taking of the 2020 Census. During this time, the Census Bureau will not provide the operations necessary to review the July 1, 2019 population estimates. A Federal Register Notice announcing the resumption of the program will be posted in 2022. The program is expected to resume in 2023. The Federal Register Notice announcing the suspension of the Population Estimates Challenge Program can be accessed here:

During regular operations, as part of its authorization, the U.S. Census Bureau offers an opportunity for general-purpose governmental units to challenge their official estimates through the Population Estimates Challenge Program. Under this program, a governmental unit may challenge their population estimate by submitting additional data to the Census Bureau for evaluation.

A challenge may result in a revised estimate if either of the following errors are found:

  1. Technical error in processing input data or producing the estimates
  2. Incorrect input data used in the process of generating the estimates

In cases where the Census Bureau processed the information correctly but was provided incorrect input data, we will make reasonable efforts to provide corrected estimates.

A request for a challenge to the population estimates must be received within 90 days after the release of the estimate by the Census Bureau. This request includes a letter and supporting evidence.

For more information, please view the Challenge Review Guide, Appendices, and Results.

Handling Legal Boundary Issues

If you believe that the recording of legal boundaries for your government is incorrect, please contact the Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS) unit of the Census Bureau's Geography Division on 301-763-1099 or e-mail them at The Census Bureau updates the geographic boundaries of governmental units through the BAS. The boundary information collected in the BAS is used to tabulate data for the decennial and economic censuses, and annual estimates and surveys such as the Population Estimates Program.

Reporting of Building Permits

Population estimates for cities and towns are produced using building permit data gathered from a survey conducted by the Census Bureau's Residential Construction Branch in the Economic Indicators Division (EID). If your government is not being contacted by this survey or you disagree with the collected data, please contact the Residential Construction Branch on 301-763-5160. In the event that you decide to submit updated building permit data through the challenge process, the data may be subject to review by the staff in EID.

For assistance, please contact the Population Estimates Program on 301-763-2461 or send an email to Please include your name, mailing address, telephone number and organization name.


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