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2020 Census

Shaping our future with GIS

Modernizing the US Census with GIS technology

Population censuses are one of the primary sources of data for implementing policies aimed at inclusive socioeconomic development and environmental sustainability. Governments recognize the need to advance their mission with the help of digital technology and the use of GIS: a transformational technology that allows organizations to understand how location impacts their workflows and bottom line.


The US Census Bureau set a goal to modernize its entire census process and understand how to apply technology—including GIS—to better serve its mission.


The US Census used GIS technology to gain efficiencies, increase accuracy, and improve collaboration—all while reducing costs.

How do you count more than 330 million people

Each decade, the US Census Bureau evaluates its methods. For the 2020 Census, it used GIS in more ways than ever to get the count right.

A crowd of people passing through a busy thoroughfare under bright sunlight

Navigate your digital transformation with GIS

National Government

Any agency—no matter how large or complex—can adopt new technologies and realize the benefits of GIS.


GIS provides the tools needed to power elections, from the redistricting process to elections outreach and management.

State and Local Government

Much of what a community, business, or public agency does is related to its geography. Smart governments use location to innovate and collaborate.

Challenges: GIS provides the solutions

Establish where to count

Ensure an up-to-date, accurate, and complete address list for the 2020 Census by utilizing GIS and earth observation data such as imagery and remote sensing.

More about remote sensing
A desktop monitor displaying an aerial view of lush green land dotted with structures that are highlighted in periwinkle

Optimize response rates

Make it easier to identify hard-to-survey areas by targeting efforts on increasing response rates with GIS.

Explore spatial analysis tools

Conduct the count

GIS tools have moved into the field, allowing us to collect, monitor, and manage the full operation.

More about field operations

Tabulate and release results

Data dissemination is a key part of your mission. GIS technology helps you make your data discoverable and fit for purpose for your users.

Learn about smart mapping
A desktop monitor displaying a United States census dashboard made with ArcGIS and data about community resilience and equity


GIS was used to completely modernize and change the way the US Census Bureau does business.

Resources for modernization

Explore resources

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