2017 Census of Governments Underway

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Release Number: CB17-TPS.87

DEC. 19, 2017 — The third and final phase of the 2017 Census of Governments began Nov. 6, 2017, and will continue through Sept. 28, 2018. The Local Finance component of this survey provides the only source of nationwide, comprehensive information on state and local government finances. This phase collects statistics on revenue, expenditure, debt and assets (cash and security holdings) for U.S. governments, and measures federal, state and local fiscal relationships. State and Local Finance statistics for 2015 are currently available for the 50 state areas and the District of Columbia, as well as a national summary.

The Census of Governments is a three-phased program that collects state and local government data. The first phase was a “precensus” directory survey of the more than 87,000 local governments. It included extensive legal research into government structure by state and produced an updated list of all local governments.

The second phase covered all state and local governments and expanded the census-year annual employment survey from about 10,000 to the more than 89,000 local governments. This component, which began March 16, 2017, and ends February 23, 2018, aims to collect information on the number of state and local government civilian employees and their payrolls.

The U.S. Census Bureau produces data every five years as a part of the Census of Governments in years ending in “2” and “7.” Between censuses, comparable employment and financial activity data are produced from intercensal quarterly and annual sample surveys. Data are obtained on government organizations, finances and employment. Organization data include location, type and characteristics of local governments and officials. Finances and employment data are the same as in comparable annual surveys and include revenue, expenditure, debt, assets, employees, payroll and benefits.

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