Census Bureau Is Making Progress on the Local Update of Census Addresses Program, but Improvements Are Needed
GAO-07-1063T, Jun 26, 2007
The Department of Commerce's U.S. Census Bureau (Bureau) seeks updated information on the addresses and maps of housing units from state, local, and tribal governments through the Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) program. This testimony discusses (1) the status of the LUCA program, and (2) the Bureau's response to prior issues raised by GAO as well as new challenges related to the program. The testimony is based on a GAO report issued on June 14, 2007. GAO reviewed LUCA program documents, met with and surveyed participants in the LUCA Dress Rehearsal, and interviewed Bureau officials and local officials.
The Bureau has conducted its planned LUCA operations in accordance with its published timeline. The Bureau has also taken steps to reduce burden and improve training for localities that participate in LUCA--all areas GAO and others had identified as needing improvement. For instance, to reduce participant burden, the Bureau provided a longer period for reviewing and updating LUCA materials; provided options for submitting materials for the LUCA program; combined the collection of LUCA addresses from two separate operations into one integrated program; and created MAF/TIGER Partnership Software (MTPS), which is designed to assist LUCA program participants in reviewing and updating address and map data. Also, the Bureau has planned improvements to the 2010 LUCA program training and plans to supplement the workshops with computer-based training (CBT). LUCA participants that GAO surveyed report that they had adequate time to complete the LUCA review, and a majority of the participants were satisfied with the options for submitting materials. However, the Bureau faces new challenges. For instance, the Bureau tested MTPS with only one local government and did not test its CBT software in the LUCA Dress Rehearsal. Also, many participants had difficulty converting Bureau-provided files to their own software formats. Finally, the Bureau does not collect certain data on localities that agree to participate in LUCA but provide no response. This information is needed to fully assess the effect of the LUCA program on address lists and population counts.