LUCA Best Practices

Here are some tips to help you get started:

Compile Your List of Addresses Now

Don't wait until receiving the files from the Census Bureau to begin this process. Remember that there are only 120 days to review the files and send them back. You should start getting your own address list in order now. That will make matching much simpler once the Census files arrive.

Especially if choosing options 2 or 3, though also helpful with Option 1, you can begin restructuring your data so it conforms to the file format specified by the bureau (view pdf with specs).

No doubt there are many sources of address information at your disposal. Here are just a few items to help you begin thinking about what you have to work with.

Focus on the Most Problematic Addresses

The following list are some of the types of homes most likely to be overlooked. Paying special attention to these types of housing units and areas will likely give you the most bang for your buck.

Check Your Roads and Boundaries

To prepare for LUCA, you should preview the most recent Census Bureau maps and/or shapefiles for your jurisdiction. Why would this matter? In addition to address changes, LUCA allows you to add missing streets or indicate boundary changes.

Compare the shapefiles provided at this link with the data you have and determine what streets may be missing from the census maps.

If the Census Bureau doesn't know a road exists, it's a pretty safe bet that some housing units on that street could be missing as well. You will then know ahead of time some of the roads and addresses that need to be added to the census address list.

Pooling Resources Helps

Governmental units overlap, so it is beneficial to work together (an example would be if both a county government and a city in that county are participating in LUCA). You should talk to one another and work to leverage the others' contributions.

Exact Addresses Really Matter

One of the big problems encountered when mailing questionnaires to housing with multiple-units is that they cannot “find” their destinations.

Making sure that the census file contains the correct apartment numbers and that no individual units are missing from the list is an important step. Remember that each apartment unit (as opposed to each apartment building) is listed as an individual address in the Census file.