correct size blogThe U.S. Constitution, in Article I, Section II, requires Congress to conduct a census every ten years. And while 2020 may seem like a long way off, the first deadline (December 15) for local governments to ensure a complete and accurate enumeration of their residents is just weeks away.

The Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) program is the once-a-decade opportunity for governments to add, correct, or delete addresses on the lists and maps used to conduct the decennial census. It represents the first step to ensuring an accurate and complete count in your municipality. But in order to participate in the Local Update of Census Addresses program, you will need to register, by December 15. The Census Bureau should have already mailed LUCA registration forms and instructions to every municipality. You can also access all the forms and information needed to register at the links available online at the LUCA Operations Page.

The 2020 Census will face a number of challenges. For the first time, the Census Bureau will primarily rely on the internet to conduct the enumeration, though in-person contacts and telephone responses will be allowed. The Bureau will encounter a heightened climate of fear, among both those who distrust any government program and agency, those who are concerned about internet security, the technologically challenged, and among those who might fear arrest or deportation. Inadequate funding means that there will be half the number of Regional Census Centers, half the number of local offices and half the number of census takers.  Finally, the Census Director’s recent, unexpected resignation has created a leadership vacuum at the agency.

A complete and accurate census is needed for a number of reasons. It will ensure equal representation in Congress. This is particularly important in New Jersey, as our State could lose, yet again, at least one seat in the House of Representatives if we are under-counted. It will also ensure a fair distribution of the $600 billion in Federal resources that are distributed, every year, based on population counts. It will similarly affect State redistricting and allocations of certain State aid. And it will help local governments, as they plan to address the needs of local populations.

Registering to participate in LUCA is an important opportunity that every New Jersey municipality should seize. As we move forward, we will work with our partners at the National League of Cities and advise you of educational opportunities and further steps that you can take to protect the interests of your communities. But for now, LUCA registration, by December 15, is a priority.

The New York Regional Census Center (NYRCC), in conjunction with the New Jersey State Data Center (NJSDC) is offering three webinars on the LUCA operation, with a focus on issues that are specific to New Jersey.

NJSDC LUCA Information Page:

The webinar schedule:
Thurs. 30 Nov 2017, 1 PM. To register:
https://census.webex.com/census/k2/j.php?MTID=t2bb88ea3d2ac4eadcd3be8916f5bfc2e and register.

Thurs. 7 Dec 2017, 1 PM. To register:
https://census.webex.com/census/k2/j.php?MTID=t7cd3a9ff6fad51bd8f8304b03dc9d7e1 and register.

Tues. 12 Dec 2017, 10 AM. To register:
https://census.webex.com/census/k2/j.php?MTID=tcd417480e41baed89cf7ff95ca42bb05 and register.

Thanks for your attention to this matter and the upcoming December 15 deadline.

Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst,jmoran@njslom.org,609-695-3481, x121.