Census Workers to Verify Addresses in New England and New York

First Major 2010 Census Operation to Employ Thousands

The U. S. Census Bureau has launched a massive operation to verify and update more than 145 million addresses as it prepares to conduct the 2010 Census.


Nationwide, more than 140,000 Census workers will participate in the Address Canvassing Operation, a critically important first step in assuring that every housing unit receives a 2010 Census questionnaire in March 2010. Throughout the Census Bureau’s Boston Region (New England, upstate New York, and Puerto Rico), approximately 13,000 temporary employees will carry out the operation.


“A complete and accurate address list is the cornerstone of a successful Decennial Census,” said Kathleen Ludgate, Regional Director at the Boston Regional Census Center. “Building on the achievements of the 2000 Census, we have been testing and preparing for the 2010 count all decade, and we’re ready to fulfill our constitutional mandate to count everyone living in the United States.”


The first publicly visible activity of the 2010 Census is now underway. New England and Upstate New York residents could see address canvassing listers in their neighborhoods and communities from April until late June. The Census listers have been trained to use new hand-held computers equipped with GPS to increase geographic accuracy. The ability to capture GPS coordinates for housing units will greatly reduce the number of errors caused by using paper maps as was done in previous Census counts.


“The primary goal of the Decennial Census is to count everyone once, only once, and in the right place,” Director Ludgate said. “Because the Census is used for reapportioning seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and the distribution of more than $300 billion in federal dollars every year to state and local governments, it’s essential to get this first step right.”


The local Address Canvassing Operation will be conducted out of 12 Early Local Census Offices located throughout the Region. In most cases, Census workers will knock on residents’ doors to verify addresses and inquire about any additional living quarters on the premises.


Census workers can be identified by the official Census Bureau employee badge they carry. During the Address Canvassing Operation, the listers will only ask residents for information related to a housing unit address and any additional living quarters in the residence. No personal information will be collected during this operation.


Over the last several years, the Census Bureau has been actively working on updating its geographic databases and master address files. From implementing the Local Update of Census Address (LUCA) program -- where more than 11,500 tribal, state and local governments participated in a review of the Census Bureau’s address list for their area -- to increasing the precision of the GPS mapping, many advances have been made to compile the most comprehensive listing of addresses in the nation.


This is the first Census to include group quarters (such as dormitories, group homes, prisons and homeless shelters) in the Address Canvassing Operation, which should improve both the accuracy and coverage of the final count. There will be one final opportunity to add new home construction in early 2010 prior to the mailing of the 2010 Census questionnaires.


All Census information collected -- including addresses -- is confidential and protected by law. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents’ answers with the FBI, the IRS, CIA, Welfare, Immigration, or any government or law enforcement agency. All Census Bureau employees — including temporary employees — take an oath for life to keep Census information confidential. Any violation of that oath is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and five years in prison.


For additional information contact the Boston Regional Census Center at (617) 223-3610 or Boston.PDSP@census.gov.