The Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) program is a geographic partnership program that provides governments, including tribal governments, the opportunity to review the Census Bureau’s address list for their communities and to provide updates to those addresses prior to the 2020 Census. LUCA is a once a decade opportunity for tribal governments to fix outdated data that could lead to undercounting or other errors by the Census Bureau and American Community Survey. The deadline for tribal governments to register to participate is December 15, 2017.
LUCA is a voluntary program, but it helps the Census Bureau get a clearer view of where people live so the agency can get a more accurate count. The LUCA program is authorized by the Census Address List Improvement Act of 1994 (Public Law 103–430), which provides an opportunity for designated representatives of tribal, state, and local governments to review the Census Address List. Geography is the base upon which the Census Bureau’s data are built. When a household or business answers a Census Bureau survey, the questionnaire response is attached to the household or business location address. The Census Bureau locates this address within established geographic areas, such as a reservation. The Census Bureau then tabulates data for all of the households and/or businesses located within each geographic area. Because the Census Bureau tabulates data by geographic area, it is important for the Census Bureau to have an accurate address list and quality geographic boundaries. The physical location of the household is also essential in the event that the household does not respond to the Census questionnaire. It enables the Census Bureau to send an enumerator directly to the household to attempt to collect a response, making the count more accurate.
Letters were sent out to tribal and other government leaders over the summer to ask them to have their tribes and communities participate in LUCA, and then recently reminder letters and postcards went out to those governments that the Census Bureau has not yet heard from.
If your tribal government would like to participate, please visit https://www.census.gov/geo/partnerships/luca.html, which includes instructions and application materials to participate prior to the December 15 deadline. As of this writing, we understand that relatively few tribes have signed up. Please let us know if we may provide additional information or assistance regarding the matters in this Memorandum.