Local Update of Census Addresses

The U.S. Constitution requires that a census be conducted every ten years. The specific purpose of the census is to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, but data reported by the census has many uses. There are over 1,000 grant programs offered by 26 Federal government agencies. Most of these programs distribute funds based on formulas that use census data. State governments also disperse resources to local governments based on formulas using census data. Local governments and businesses rely on census socio-economic, data such as income, educational attainment, poverty, language spoken, disability status, etc. to plan for future growth. Census data is important to all of North Carolina's communities.

To conduct the census, the U.S. Census Bureau mails questionnaires to every household based on its Master Address File (MAF) of residential and group quarters addresses. However, the MAF may not have every address in every community. To make sure that every residence receives a census questionnaire, the Census Bureau invites local goverments to verify the Master Address File for their area. Local governments may participate in the Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) program in one of three ways and may use local GIS resources with partnership software provided free by the U.S. Census Bureau to verify their addresses, including those in new annexations and developments.

The LUCA program requires an investment of time by local governments to verify the Census Bureau address list for their areas, but failure to verify addresses in our communities will create a larger and more long-term cost. Missing addresses on the Master Address File and not responding to census questionnaires can mean:

  • Underrepresentation in State legislative districts
  • Loss of State distributed tax dollars for the next decade
  • Loss of State and Federal grant funds for the next decade
  • Inaccurate planning data for the next decade

Census data tells us who we are as a community, and census data is collected based on the address list that local governments are asked to verify. Local governments must participate in the Local Update of Census Addresses.

For questions about the LUCA Program in North Carolina, please contact Bob Coats.