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Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA): Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the role of Regional Planning Commissions?

A: Since Regional Planning Commissions are non-governing organizations, the Regional Planning Commissions (RPCs) cannot participate directly in LUCA, unless authorized by a functioning government.

Please note, the RPCs will only be able to work with the U.S. Census Bureau's Master Address File (MAF) data if the individual RPC staff are designated by the government entity and registered with the U.S. Census Bureau (including a signed confidentiality agreement).

Other than participating by reviewing the MAF, the Regional Planning Commissions can support LUCA by encouraging elected officials to participate, and providing local knowledge and technical assistance.


Q: While reviewing the Census Bureau's address list, if the LUCA participant notices multi-unit address records are missing and need to be added, but the local source does not clearly define the individual unit (sub-address) information, how should the participant proceed?

A: All reasonable effort should be taken to provide the actual sub-address information. Without individual unit information for multi-unit records, the Census Bureau will not be able to process the record for inclusion in the 2020 Census.


Q: While reviewing the Census Bureau's address list, if the LUCA participant believes the sub-addresses of multi-unit records are incorrect, but their source does not include the actual sub-address, how should the participant proceed?

A: If the participant does not have a local source that identifies the actual sub-addresses, they should not edit the address records in question.


Q: How much time and money should a municipality expect to spend on the LUCA review?

A: It will differ for each locality depending on the geographic area, number of addresses, and technical resources available, but you can expect that the effort will be substantial.

Resources are available for help with the LUCA process:

  • The Council on Children and Families is:
    1. coordinating a series of webinars to assist localities with the LUCA process;
    2. providing linkages between localities conducting the LUCA and student interns who can assist with LUCA activities; and
    3. extending technical assistance, which is provided by Robert Scardamalia, former NYS Chief Demographer.
      Contact Bob at:
      Visit the Council's website for complete information.
  • The Cornell Program on Applied Demographics (PAD) website has a tool to compare the differences between the housing units as counted during the 2010 Census and the number of residential addresses in the 2017 Master Address File (MAF)
  • Contact the New York Data Center at and/or
    the U.S. Census Bureau at or 1-844-344-0169.


Q: What data sources have you found most useful in building your address file?

A: Street and Address Maintenance (SAM) Program data, Real Property data, and 911 address files.

(This will be updated as we get more suggestions.)


Q: What are some challenges with using utility files?

A: Utility files may not identify multiple units. Multiple entrances may not equal the number of apartments. In addition, there may be an extra entrance for “common areas” such as the cellar, hallways, etc.

Also, utility files can have two sets of addresses, the owner address and the dwelling address.


Q: Are there any tutorials or demonstrations available for Geographic Update Partnership Software (GUPS)?

A: There are some recorded webinars as well as some upcoming workshops and trainings:


Q: Is the GUPS for LUCA the same as the GUPS for the Boundary Annexation Survey input?

A: No it is not the same, a separate application is being created for LUCA.


Q: What software will LUCA reviewers use for validation of addresses?

A: Geographic Update Partnership Software (GUPS). GUPS is based on an open-source platform known as QGIS. It is a customized geographic information system (GIS) provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The software is not available yet, but there is a demonstration that can be watched at this link:


Q: Will the Geographic Update Partnership Software (GUPS) autocomplete street names?

A: It will not autocomplete. You will, however, have ability to import your address list (in .CSV or .txt format) and match your fields to the Census Bureau's address fields.


Q: Has the Census Bureau prepared guidelines that may be provided to an MIS or IT Department regarding the level of security required to use the GUPS?

A: The New York Regional Office is getting more specific guidelines. In the interim, Confidentiality and Security Guidelines booklet D-2004.pdf, specifically Section 4.1, outlines the basics of what the U.S. Census Bureau asks a government IT Department to do to secure the Title 13 data and applies to both the GUPS option as well as the Digital option. For more assistance contact the LUCA helpdesk at 1-844-344-0169.


Q: What is the hierarchy of LUCA submissions, does one local entity get priority over another when there is a conflict in submissions?

A: There is no hierarchy to the LUCA submissions. The U.S. Census Bureau will process each submission individually.


Q: Does the U.S. Census Bureau provide reasons when addresses that local entities submit are rejected?

A: The Census Bureau will be providing Feedback to partners that participate in LUCA. The Census Bureau will provide feedback codes for each action, as well as the list of addresses the Census Bureau will be including for enumeration.


Q: Should we submit a partial LUCA review?

A: Yes, submit any address corrections that you have, even if you were not able to do a complete review.


Q: What layout should be used for address updates sent to the Census Bureau?

A: The file layout that should be used is located here


Q: Should military bases be included in what we provide for LUCA?

A: No, military group quarters are included in a separate enumeration process, do not include them in your updates.


Q: If your area has more than 300,000 addresses can you still use GUPS by breaking the addresses into smaller lists?

A: Yes, you can parse your addresses into smaller lists before bringing them into GUPS. Instructions will be available on the Census website.


Q: When will the 2020 Census Local Update of Census Addresses Operation (LUCA) Respondent Guide be available?

A: The guide will be distributed along with the LUCA material, it will not be available ahead of time. It will also be posted on the Census Bureau web-site around that time, no specific date is available.


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