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Census 2010 LUCA Program: Updated Small Area Demographics

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The Census 2010 LUCA Program presents an important opportunity to cities and other governmental units to participate in the development of the most accurate census possible. It can also be the basis for updating small area city and county demographics in a manner that has never been done before. The term "small area" as used here refers to census block, block group and tract geographic levels.

As of mid 2007, the Census 2000 data are more than 7 years old. It will be more than 4 years before the earliest small area data are available from Census 2010. In general, we no longer have accurate measures of small area economic prosperity (such as median household income by block group) or even the size of the population age cohort for use in health-related analyses (such as the number of school age children by census tract).

News & Updates
Jul 07 GAO: Census 2010 & LUCA
  -- highlights
Oct 07Census 2010 Costs & LUCA
Nov 07First LUCA Data Distributed
Nov 07Census 2010 Budget Update
Dec 07GAO: Census 2010 Technology
The Census 2010 LUCA Program presents more than an opportunity to develop a more accurate 2010 Census. It also enables participating jurisdictions with the ability to develop 2007/2008 housing unit and group quarters counts by block (and thus all higher Census-type geographic tabulation areas).

With the evolution of 9-1-1, tax parcel, and similar systems now maintaining current address specific data, it is possible to use these data and a "LUCA-type" updating process to develop accurate, annualized census block housing unit, group quarters units, and possibly other subject matter data. Satellite imagery providing rooftop-level detail, when integrated with latitude-longitude dimensions, offers additional opportunities (see examples).

This would be a process/program providing for wide-ranging planning and analysis, enabling access to new data by all "small area data stakeholders" -- not just governmental jurisdictions participating in LUCA. In addition, this process provides a further compelling reason for governmental jurisdictions to participate in LUCA -- they can generate useful data that can immediately benefit their community. For those interested, it provides the further opportunity to continue the process on an annual basis, continuing to have annual data updates. It transforms the scope of the program to developing immediately useable small area demographics from what was a geographic update program with limited immediate use at the local level. As a result, users of these data could compare Census 2000 housing unit counts with 2007 housing unit counts at the census block and higher level geography. In many areas this could be maintained and updated from year-to-year at very little cost.

Becoming a Reality. To make this a reality -- developing useful small area data from the LUCA program -- means that a plan and tools are needed at the outset of the LUCA operations on the part of participating jurisdictions. This would not be a Census Bureau sponsored program. Those participating jurisdictions who make use of the Proximity CommunityViewer are enabled to do exactly what is described in this document with no additional cost. Unlike the Census Bureau supplied software for LUCA, the CommunityViewer software provides a way to capture and use the demographic data developed by local jurisdictions.

To achieve maximum benefit from these initiatives, we might look at systematized integration of 9-1-1, USPS delivery, satellite imagery, tax parcel, and related data. The resulting public domain housing unit count and group quarters count by block and higher level geography, knitted together across participating jurisdictions/geographic areas, can be systemically made available to any data user.

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