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The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing data about the
American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States ** Americans, citizens and nationals of the United States of America ** American ancestry, people who self-id ...
people A people is a plurality of persons considered as a whole, as is the case with an ethnic group, nation or the public of a polity. In politics Various states govern or claim to govern in the name of ''the people''. Both the Roman Republic a ...
and
economy An economy (from Greek οίκος – "household" and νέμoμαι – "manage") is an area of the production, distribution and trade, as well as consumption of goods and services by different agents. In general, it is defined 'as a social do ...
. The Census Bureau is part of the
U.S. Department of Commerce The United States Department of Commerce is an executive department of the U.S. federal government concerned with promoting economic growth. Among its tasks are gathering economic and demographic data for business and government decision makin ...
and its
director Director may refer to: Literature * ''Director'' (magazine), a British magazine * ''The Director'' (novel), a 1971 novel by Henry Denker * ''The Director'' (play), a 2000 play by Nancy Hasty Music * Director (band), an Irish rock band * ''Directo ...
is appointed by the
President of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Ar ...
. The Census Bureau's primary mission is conducting the U.S. Census every ten years, which allocates the seats of the U.S. House of Representatives to the
states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, United States * ''Our Sta ...
based on their population. The Bureau's various censuses and surveys help allocate over $675 billion in federal funds every year and it helps
states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, United States * ''Our Sta ...
, local communities, and businesses make informed decisions. The information provided by the census informs decisions on where to build and maintain schools, hospitals, transportation infrastructure, and police and fire departments. In addition to the decennial census, the Census Bureau continually conducts over 130 surveys and programs a year, including the
American Community Survey The American Community Survey (ACS) is a demographics survey program conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. It regularly gathers information previously contained only in the long form of the decennial census, such as ancestry, citizenship, education ...
, the U.S. Economic Census, and the
Current Population Survey The Current Population Survey (CPS) is a monthly survey of about 60,000 U.S. households conducted by the United States Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS uses the data to publish reports early each month called the Emplo ...
.USCB DOC-D1026 QVC Manual 01/03/09 Furthermore, economic and foreign trade indicators released by the federal government typically contain data produced by the Census Bureau.


Legal mandate

Article One of the United States Constitution Article One of the United States Constitution establishes the legislative branch of the federal government, the United States Congress. Under Article One, Congress is a bicameral legislature consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senat ...
(section II) directs the
population In biology, a population is a number of all the organisms of the same group or species who live in a particular geographical area and are capable of interbreeding. The area of a sexual population is the area where inter-breeding is possible bet ...
be enumerated at least once every ten years and the resulting counts used to set the number of members from each state in the
House of Representatives House of Representatives is the name of legislative bodies in many countries and sub-national entitles. In many countries, the House of Representatives is the lower house of a bicameral legislature, with the corresponding upper house often calle ...
and, by extension, in the
Electoral College An electoral college is a set of electors who are selected to elect a candidate to particular offices. Often these represent different organizations, political parties or entities, with each organization, political party or entity represented by a ...
. The Census Bureau now conducts a full population count every 10 years in years ending with a zero and uses the term "
decennial An anniversary is the date on which an event took place or an institution was founded in a previous year, and may also refer to the commemoration or celebration of that event. For example, the first event is the initial occurrence or, if plann ...
" to describe the operation. Between censuses, the Census Bureau makes population estimates and projections. In addition, Census data directly affects how more than $400 billion per year in federal and state funding is allocated to communities for neighborhood improvements,
public health Public health has been defined as "the science and art of preventing disease”, prolonging life and improving quality of life through organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations (public and private), communities and individ ...
, education, transportation and more. The Census Bureau is mandated with fulfilling these obligations: the collecting of statistics about the nation, its people, and economy. The Census Bureau's
legal authority Rational-legal authority (also known as rational authority, legal authority, rational domination, legal domination, or bureaucratic authority) is a form of leadership in which the authority of an organization or a ruling regime is largely tied to le ...
is codified in
Title 13 of the United States Code Title 13 of the United States Code outlines the role of the United States Census in the United States Code. * : Administration * : Collection and Publication of Statistics * : Censuses * : Offenses and Penalties * : Collection and Publication o ...
. The Census Bureau also conducts surveys on behalf of various
federal government A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing provinces, states, or other regions under a central federal government (federalism). In a federation, the self-governing ...
and
local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state. This particular usage of the word government refers specifically to a level of administration that is both geographically-locali ...
agencies on topics such as employment, crime, health,
consumer expenditures Consumer spending, consumption, or consumption expenditure is the acquisition of goods and services by individuals or families. It is the largest part of aggregate demand at the macroeconomic level. There are two components of consumer spending: in ...
, and housing. Within the bureau, these are known as "demographic surveys" and are conducted perpetually between and during decennial (10-year) population counts. The Census Bureau also conducts economic surveys of manufacturing, retail, service, and other establishments and of domestic governments. Between 1790 and 1840, the census was taken by
marshals Marshal is a term used in several official titles in various branches of society. As marshals became trusted members of the courts of Medieval Europe, the title grew in reputation. During the last few centuries, it has been used for elevated offi ...
of the judicial districts. The Census Act of 1840 established a central office which became known as the Census Office. Several acts followed that revised and authorized new censuses, typically at the 10-year intervals. In 1902, the temporary Census Office was moved under the Department of Interior, and in 1903 it was renamed the Census Bureau under the new
Department of Commerce and Labor The United States Department of Commerce and Labor was a short-lived Cabinet department of the United States government, which was concerned with controlling the excesses of big business. It was created on February 14, 1903, during the administra ...
. The department was intended to consolidate overlapping statistical agencies, but Census Bureau officials were hindered by their subordinate role in the department. An act in 1920 changed the date and authorized manufacturing censuses every two years and agriculture censuses every 10 years. In 1929, a bill was passed mandating the House of Representatives be reapportioned based on the results of the
1930 Census#REDIRECT 1930 United States census {{Redirect category shell, {{R from other capitalization ...
.History 1920
. US Census Bureau.
In 1954, various acts were codified into Title 13 of the U.S. Code. By law, the Census Bureau must count everyone and submit state population totals to the U.S. President by December 31 of any year ending in a zero. States within the Union receive the results in the spring of the following year.


Data collection


Census regions and divisions

The United States Census Bureau defines four statistical regions, with nine divisions. The Census Bureau regions are "widely used...for data collection and analysis"."The National Energy Modeling System: An Overview 2003" (Report #:DOE/EIA-0581, October 2009). United States Department of Energy,
Energy Information Administration The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System responsible for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating energy information to promote sound policymaking, efficient markets, and public ...
.
The Census Bureau definition is pervasive. Regional divisions used by the United States Census Bureau: * Region 1:
Northeast The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet-based directions are conventionally defined. A compass rose is primarily composed of four cardinal directions—north, east, south, and west—each separated by 90 degrees, and secondarily d ...
** Division 1:
New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It is bordered by the state of New York to the west and by the Canadian provinces of ...

New England
(
Connecticut Connecticut () is the southernmost state in the New England region of the United States. As of the 2010 Census, it has the highest per-capita income, second-highest level of human development behind Massachusetts, and highest median household ...
,
Maine Maine () is a state in the New England region of the United States, bordered by New Hampshire to the west; the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast; and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec to the northeast and northwest, respectively ...
,
Massachusetts Massachusetts (, ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state in the New England region of the United States. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Connecticut to the southwest and Rhode Island to the sout ...
,
New Hampshire New Hampshire () is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north. New Hamps ...
,
Rhode Island Rhode Island (, like ''road''), officially the State of Rhode Island, is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area and the seventh-least populous (1,059,361 as of 2019), but it is also the sec ...
, and
Vermont Vermont () is a state in the New England region of the United States. It borders the states of Massachusetts to the south, New Hampshire to the east, and New York to the west, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north. Vermont is the on ...
) ** Division 2: Mid-Atlantic (
New Jersey New Jersey is a state in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern regions of the United States. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York; on the east, southeast, and south by the Atlantic Ocean; on the west by the Delaware R ...
,
New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, located in the state of New York * New York (state), a state in the Northeastern United States New York may also refer to: Film and television * ''Ne ...
, and
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania ( ) ( pdc, Pennsilfaani), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a state in the Mid-Atlantic, Northeastern, and Appalachian regions of the United States. The Commonwealth is bordered by Delaware to the southeast, Maryland ...
) * Region 2:
Midwest The midwestern United States, often referred to simply as the Midwest, is one of four census regions of the United States Census Bureau (also known as "Region 2"). It occupies the northern central part of the United States.
(Prior to June 1984, the Midwest Region was designated as the North Central Region.) ** Division 3: East North Central (
Illinois Illinois ( ) is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP), the sixth largest population, and the 25th largest land area of all U.S. states. Illinois has been noted as a micr ...
,
Indiana Indiana () is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States. It is the 38th-largest by area and the 17th-most populous of the 50 United States. Its capital and largest city is Indianapolis. Indiana was admitted to the United States as the 19th ...
,
Michigan Michigan () is a state in the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest regions of the United States. Its name comes from the Ojibwe word ''mishigami'', meaning "large water" or "large lake". With a population of approximately 10 million, Michigan ...

Michigan
,
Ohio Ohio is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. Of the fifty states, it is the 34th-largest by area, and with a population of nearly 11.7 million, is the seventh-most populous and tenth-most densely populated. The state's capit ...
, and
Wisconsin Wisconsin () is a state in the Upper Midwest region of the United States, bordered by Minnesota to the west; Iowa to the southwest; Illinois to the south; Lake Michigan to the east; Michigan to the northeast; and Lake Superior to the north. W ...
) ** Division 4: West North Central (
Iowa Iowa () is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States, bordered by the Mississippi River to the east and the Missouri River and Big Sioux River to the west. It is bordered by six states: Wisconsin to the northeast, Illinois to the ea ...
,
Kansas Kansas () is a state in the Midwestern United States. Its capital is Topeka and its largest city is Wichita. Kansas is bordered by Nebraska to the north; Missouri to the east; Oklahoma to the south; and Colorado to the west. Kansas is named af ...
,
Minnesota Minnesota () is a state in the north central region of the United States. It is known as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes". Its official motto is , French for "The Star of the North". Of the U.S. states, Minnesota is the 12th largest in area and the ...
,
Missouri Missouri is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. With more than six million residents, it is the 18th-most populous state of the country. The largest urban areas are St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and Columbia; the capita ...
,
Nebraska Nebraska is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is bordered by South Dakota to the north; Iowa to the east and Missouri to the southeast, both across the Missouri River; Kansas to the south; Colorado to the southwest; an ...
,
North Dakota North Dakota () is a state in the Upper Midwest region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux Native American tribes, who comprise a large portion of the population and historically dominated the territory. It is th ...
, and
South Dakota South Dakota () is a U.S. state in the Upper Midwest region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux Native American tribes, who comprise a large portion of the population and historically dominated the territory. Sou ...
) * Region 3:
South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earlier Proto-Germanic ''*sunþaz'' ("south" ...
** Division 5:
South Atlantic#REDIRECT Atlantic Ocean {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
(
Delaware Delaware ( ) is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Maryland to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and New Jersey and the Atlantic Ocean to its east. The state takes its name from the nearby Delaware ...
,
Florida Florida (, ) is a state located in the Southeastern region of the United States. With a population of over 21million, Florida is the third-most populous and the 22nd-most extensive of the 50 United States. The state is bordered to the west by ...
,
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country), a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia * Georgia (U.S. state), one of the states of the United States of America Georgia may also refer to: Historical states and entities * Kingdom of Georgia ...
,
Maryland Maryland ( ) is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware and the Atlantic Ocean to its east. Baltimo ...

Maryland
,
North Carolina North Carolina () is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States. North Carolina is the 28th largest and 9th-most populous of the 50 United States. It is bordered by Virginia to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Georgia a ...
,
South Carolina South Carolina () is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered to the north by North Carolina, to the southeast by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the southwest by Georgia across the Savannah River. South Carolina is th ...

South Carolina
,
Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions of the United States, between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. The geography and climate of the Commonwealth are s ...

Virginia
, Washington D.C., and
West Virginia West Virginia () is a state in the Appalachian, Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions of the United States.The Census Bureau and the Association of American Geographers classify West Virginia as part of the Southern United States while the Bure ...
) ** Division 6: East South Central (
Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama" , image_map = Alabama in United States.svg , seat = Montgomery , LargestCity = Birmingham , LargestCounty = Baldwin County ...
,
Kentucky Kentucky ( , ), officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a state in the Upland South region of the United States, bordered by Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio to the north; West Virginia and Virginia to the east; Tennessee to the south; and Mi ...
,
Mississippi Mississippi () is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States, bordered to the north by Tennessee; to the east by Alabama; to the south by the Gulf of Mexico; to the southwest by Louisiana; and to the northwest by Arkansas. Mississi ...
, and
Tennessee Tennessee (, ), officially the State of Tennessee, is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States. Tennessee is the 36th largest by area and the 16th most populous of the 50 states. It is bordered by eight states, with Kentucky to ...
) ** Division 7: West South Central (
Arkansas Arkansas () is a state in the South Central region of the United States, home to more than three million people as of 2018. Its name is from the Osage language, a Dhegiha Siouan language, and referred to their relatives, the Quapaw people. Th ...
,
Louisiana Louisiana (, ); Standard French: ' ; es, Luisiana is a state in the Deep South and South Central regions of the United States. It is the 19th-smallest by area and the 25th most populous of the 50 U.S. states. Louisiana is bordered by the s ...

Louisiana
,
Oklahoma Oklahoma () is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by the state of Texas on the south and west, Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the no ...

Oklahoma
, and
Texas Texas (, ) is a state in the South Central region of the United States. It is the second largest U.S. state by both area (after Alaska) and population (after California). Texas shares borders with the states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansa ...

Texas
) * Region 4:
West 250px, A compass rose with west highlighted in black West is one of the four cardinal directions or points of the compass. It is the opposite direction from east, and is the direction in which the sun sets. Etymology The word "west" is a Germanic ...
** Division 8:
Mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau in having a limited summit area, and is larger than a hill, typically rising at least ...
(
Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak) is a state in the Southwestern region of the United States. It is also usually considered part of the Mountain states. It is the 6th largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. I ...
,
Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a state in the Mountain West region of the United States. It encompasses most of the Southern Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains. ...

Colorado
,
Idaho Idaho () is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It borders the state of Montana to the east and northeast, Wyoming to the east, Nevada and Utah to the south, and Washington and Oregon to the west. To the north, it sh ...
,
Montana Montana () is a state in the Mountain West region of the United States. It is bordered by Idaho to the west; North Dakota and South Dakota to the east; Wyoming to the south; and by the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, and Sa ...
,
Nevada Nevada (, ) is a state in the Western region of the United States. It is bordered by Oregon to the northwest, Idaho to the northeast, California to the west, Arizona to the southeast, and Utah to the east. Nevada is the 7th-most extensive, the ...
,
New Mexico ) , population_demonym = New Mexican ( es, Neomexicano, Neomejicano) , seat = Santa Fe , LargestCity = Albuquerque , LargestMetro = Greater Albuquerque , OfficialLang = English, Spanish , Languages = Navajo, Keres, Zuni , Governor = , Lieutenan ...
,
Utah Utah ( , ) is a state in the Mountain West region of the United States. It is bordered by Colorado to the east, Wyoming to the northeast, Idaho to the north, Arizona to the south and Nevada to the west. It also touches a corner of New Mexic ...
, and
Wyoming Wyoming () is a state in the Mountain West region of the United States. The 10th largest state by area, it is also the least populous and least densely populated state in the contiguous United States. It is bordered by Montana to the north an ...

Wyoming
) ** Division 9:
Pacific The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean (or, depending on definition, to Antarctica) in the south and is bounded by the continents of Asia ...
(
Alaska Alaska (; ale, Alax̂sxax̂; ; ems, Alas'kaaq; Yup'ik: ''Alaskaq''; tli, Anáaski) is a U.S. state in the Western United States, on the northwest extremity of the country's west coast. A semi-exclave of the U.S., it borders the Canadian pro ...
,
California California is a state in the Western United States. With over 39.3million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the most populous and the third-largest U.S. state by area. It is also the most populated subnational entity in N ...
,
Hawaii Hawaii ( ; haw, Hawaii or ) is a U.S. state in the Western United States, in the Pacific Ocean about 2,000 miles (3,200 km) from the U.S. mainland. It is the only state outside North America, the only island state, and the only state in ...
,
Oregon Oregon () is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the Western United States. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary with Washington, while the Snake River delineates much of its eastern boundary with Idaho. Th ...
, and
Washington Washington commonly refers to: * Washington (state), United States * Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States ** Federal government of the United States (metonym) ** Washington metropolitan area, the metropolitan area centered on Washingt ...
)


Uses of census data

Many federal, state, local and tribal governments use census data to: * Decide the location of new housing and public facilities, * Examine the demographic characteristics of communities, states, and the US, * Plan transportation systems and roadways, * Determine quotas and creation of police and fire precincts, and * Create localized areas for elections, schools, utilities, etc. * Gathers population information every 10 years


Data stewardship

The United States Census Bureau is committed to confidentiality and guarantees non-disclosure of any addresses or personal information related to individuals or establishments. Title 13 of the
U.S. Code The Code of Laws of the United States of America (variously abbreviated to Code of Laws of the United States, United States Code, U.S. Code, U.S.C., or USC) is the official compilation and codification of the general and permanent federal statute ...
establishes penalties for the disclosure of this information. All Census employees must sign an
affidavit An ( ; Medieval Latin for ''he has declared under oath'') is a written statement of fact voluntarily made by an ''affiant'' or ''deponent'' under an oath or affirmation which is administered by a person who is authorized to do so by law. Such a ...
of non-disclosure prior to employment. The Bureau cannot share responses, addresses or personal information with anyone, including the United States or foreign governments, or law enforcement agencies such as the
IRS The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the revenue service of the United States federal government responsible for collecting taxes and administering the Internal Revenue Code, the main body of federal statutory tax law. It is part of the Depa ...

IRS
or the
FBI The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States and its principal federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, the ...
or
Interpol The International Criminal Police Organization (official abbreviation ICPO; french: link=no, Organisation internationale de police criminelle), commonly known as INTERPOL ( , ), is an international organization that facilitates worldwide poli ...
. "Providing quality data, for public good—while respecting individual privacy and, at the same time, protecting confidentiality—is the Census Bureau's core responsibility"; "Keeping the public's trust is critical to the Census's ability to carry out the mission as the leading source of quality data about the Nation's people and economy." Only after 72 years does the information collected become available to other agencies or the general public. Seventy-two years was picked because usually by 72 years since the census is taken, most participants would be deceased. Despite these guarantees of confidentiality, the Census Bureau has some history of disclosures to other government agencies. In 1918, the Census Bureau released individual information regarding several hundred young men to the Justice Department and
Selective Service The Selective Service System (SSS) is an independent agency of the United States government that maintains information on those potentially subject to military conscription (i.e. the ''draft'') and carries out contingency planning and preparations ...
system for the purpose of prosecutions for draft evasion. During
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—forming two opposing milit ...
, the United States Census Bureau assisted the government's
Japanese American internment The internment of Japanese Americans in the United States during World War II was the forced relocation and incarceration in concentration camps in the western interior of the country of about 120,000The official WRA record from 1946 states it wa ...
efforts by providing confidential neighborhood information on
Japanese-Americans are Americans of Japanese ancestry. Japanese Americans were among the three largest Asian American ethnic communities during the 20th century; but, according to the 2000 census, they have declined in number to constitute the sixth largest Asian ...
. The Bureau's role was denied for decades but was finally proven in 2007. United States census data are valuable for the country's political parties; Democrats and
Republicans Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of government that is not a monarchy or dictatorship, and is usually associated with the rule of law. ** Republicanism, the ideology in support of republics or against ...
are highly interested in knowing the accurate number of persons in their respective districts. These insights are often linked to financial and economic strategies that are central to federal, state and city investments for locations of particular populations. Such apportionments are designed to distribute political power across neutral spatial allocations; however, "because so much is at stake, the census also runs the risk of being politicized." Such political tensions highlight the complexity of
identity Identity may refer to: Social sciences * Identity (social science), personhood or group affiliation in psychology and sociology Group expression and affiliation * Cultural identity, a person's self-affiliation (or categorization by others) ...
and
classification Classification is a process related to categorization, the process in which ideas and objects are recognized, differentiated and understood. See Classification (general theory) It may also refer to: Business, organizations, and economics * Clas ...
; some argue that unclear results from the population data "is due to distortions brought about by political pressures." One frequently used example includes ambiguous ethnic counts, which often involves underenumeration and/or undercounting of minority populations. Ideas about race, ethnicity and identity have also evolved in the United States, and such changes warrant examination of how these shifts have impacted the accuracy of census data over time. The United States Census Bureau began pursuing technological innovations to improve the precision of its census data collection in the 1980s. Robert W. Marx, the Chief of the Geography Division of the USCB teamed up with the U.S. Geological Survey and oversaw the creation of the
Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing TIGER logo Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing, or TIGER, or TIGER/Line is a format used by the United States Census Bureau to describe land attributes such as roads, buildings, rivers, and lakes, as well as areas such as c ...
(TIGER) database system. Census officials were able to evaluate the more sophisticated and detailed results that the TIGER system produced; furthermore, TIGER data is also available to the public. And while the TIGER system does not directly amass demographic data, as a
geographic information system A geographic information system (GIS) is a conceptualized framework that provides the ability to capture and analyze spatial and geographic data. GIS applications (or GIS apps) are computer-based tools that allow the user to create interactive qu ...
(GIS), it can be used to merge
demographics Demography (from prefix ''demo-'' from Ancient Greek δῆμος (''dēmos'') meaning 'the people', and ''-graphy'' from γράφω (''graphō'') meaning 'writing, description or measurement') is the statistical study of populations, especiall ...
to conduct more accurate geospatial and mapping analysis. In July 2019 the Census Bureau deprecated American FactFinder, which was decommissioned in March 2020 after 20 years of being the agency's primary tool for data dissemination. The new platform is data.census.gov.


Ongoing surveys

A survey is a method of collecting and analyzing social, economic, and
geographic data Geographic data and information is defined in the ISO/TC 211 series of standards as data and information having an implicit or explicit association with a location relative to Earth (a geographic location or geographic position). It is also calle ...
. It provides information about the conditions of the United States, states, and counties. Throughout the decade between censuses, the bureau conducts surveys to produce a general view and comprehensive study of the United States' social and economic conditions. Staff from the Current Surveys Program conduct over 130 ongoing and special surveys about people and their characteristics. A network of professional field representatives gathers information from a sample of households, responding to questions about employment, consumer expenditures, health, housing, and other topics. Surveys conducted between decades: *
American Community Survey The American Community Survey (ACS) is a demographics survey program conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. It regularly gathers information previously contained only in the long form of the decennial census, such as ancestry, citizenship, education ...
* American Housing Survey *
Consumer Expenditure SurveyThe Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE or CEX) is a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) household survey that collects information on the buying habits of U.S. consumers. The program consists of two components — the Interview Survey and the Diary S ...
* Census of Governments *
Current Population Survey The Current Population Survey (CPS) is a monthly survey of about 60,000 U.S. households conducted by the United States Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS uses the data to publish reports early each month called the Emplo ...
* Economic Census * National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS)
National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)
- a survey conducted by the Census Bureau on behalf of the CDC. * National Hospital Discharge Survey (NHDS, 1965–2010) * National Hospital Care Survey (NHCS) – a new survey that integrates inpatient data formerly collected by the NHDS with the emergency department (ED), outpatient department (OPD), and ambulatory surgery center (ASC) data collected by the * National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) *
National Crime Victimization SurveyThe National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), administered by the US Census Bureau under the Department of Commerce, is a national survey of approximately 49,000 to 77,400 households twice a year in the United States, on the frequency of crime vict ...
* National Nursing Home Survey *
Survey of Income and Program Participation The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) is a statistical survey conducted by the United States Census Bureau. The SIPP is designed to provide accurate and comprehensive information about the incomes of American individuals and househo ...
* Survey of Construction * Survey of Market Absorption * Survey of Program Dynamics * National Longitudinal Survey * National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, & Wildlife-Associated Recreation * Residential Finance Survey * National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol Related Conditions (NESARC) * Annual Retail Trade Survey * Annual Wholesale Trade Survey * Annual and Quarterly Services Surveys


Other surveys conducted

The Census Bureau collects information in many other surveys and provides the data to the survey sponsor for release. These sponsors include: *
Bureau of Justice Statistics The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) of the U.S. Department of Justice is the principal federal agency responsible for measuring crime, criminal victimization, criminal offenders, victims of crime, correlates of crime, and the operation of crimina ...
(BJS) *
Bureau of Labor Statistics The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a unit of the United States Department of Labor. It is the principal fact-finding agency for the U.S. government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics and serves as a principal agency of the ...
(BLS) *
Bureau of Transportation Statistics The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), as part of the United States Department of Transportation, compiles, analyzes, and makes accessible information on the nation's transportation systems; collects information on intermodal transportation ...
(BTS) *
Department of Housing and Urban Development The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is a Cabinet department in the executive branch of the U.S. federal government. Although its beginnings were in the House and Home Financing Agency, it was founded as a Cabinet d ...
(HUD) *
National Center for Education Statistics The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the part of the United States Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES) that collects, analyzes, and publishes statistics on education and public school district finance i ...
(NCES) *
National Center for Health Statistics The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, which provides statistical information to guide actions and policies to improve the public health of the American people. NCHS is a part ...
(NCHS) *
National Science Foundation The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent agency of the United States government that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. Its medical counterpart is the National Inst ...
(NSF) *
Social Security Administration The United States Social Security Administration (SSA) is an independent agency of the U.S. federal government that administers Social Security, a social insurance program consisting of retirement, disability, and survivor benefits. To qualify for ...
(SSA)


Organizational structure

Since 1903, the official census-taking agency of the United States government has been the Bureau of the Census. The Census Bureau is headed by a Director, assisted by a Deputy Director and an Executive Staff composed of the associate directors. The Census Bureau has had headquarters in
Suitland, Maryland Suitland is an unincorporated community and census designated place (CDP) in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States, approximately one mile (1.6 km) southeast of Washington, D.C. As of the 2010 census, the population of the CDP was 25 ...
, since 1942. A new headquarters complex there was completed in 2007 and supports over 4,000 employees. The Bureau operates regional offices in 6 cities:
New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2019 population of 8,336,817 distributed over about , New York City is also the most densely populated major city in the Unit ...

New York City
,
Philadelphia Philadelphia, colloquially Philly, is a city in the state of Pennsylvania in the United States. It is the sixth-most populous city in the United States and the most populous city in the state of Pennsylvania, with a 2019 estimated population o ...
,
Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive maps of Chicago , coordinates = , coordinates_footnotes = , subdivision_type = Country , subdivisio ...

Chicago
,
Atlanta Atlanta () is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Georgia. With an estimated 2019 population of 506,811, it is also the 37th most populous city in the United States. The city serves as the cultural and economic center of ...
,
Denver Denver (), officially the City and County of Denver, is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. State of Colorado. Denver is located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range ...
, and
Los Angeles Los Angeles (; es, Los Ángeles; "The Angels"), officially the City of Los Angeles and often abbreviated as L.A., is the largest city in California. With an estimated population of nearly four million people, it is the second most populous ...
. The National Processing Center is in
Jeffersonville, Indiana Jeffersonville is a city in Clark County, Indiana, United States, situated along the Ohio River. Locally, the city is often referred to by the abbreviated name Jeff. It lies directly across the Ohio River to the north of Louisville, Kentucky, along ...
. Additional temporary processing facilities facilitate the decennial census, which employs more than a million people. The cost of the 2000 Census was $4.5 billion. During the years just prior to the decennial census, parallel census offices, known as "Regional Census Centers" are opened in the field office cities. The decennial operations are carried out from these facilities. The Regional Census Centers oversee the openings and closings of smaller "Area Census Offices" within their collection jurisdictions. In 2020, Regional Census Centers oversaw the operation of 248 Area Census Offices, The estimated cost of the 2010 Census is $14.7 billion. On January 1, 2013, the Census Bureau was to consolidate its 12 regional offices into 6. Increasing costs of data collection, changes in survey management tools such as laptops and the increasing use of multi-modal surveys (i.e. internet, telephone, and in-person) has led the Census Bureau to consolidate. The remaining regional offices will be in:
New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2019 population of 8,336,817 distributed over about , New York City is also the most densely populated major city in the Unit ...
,
Philadelphia Philadelphia, colloquially Philly, is a city in the state of Pennsylvania in the United States. It is the sixth-most populous city in the United States and the most populous city in the state of Pennsylvania, with a 2019 estimated population o ...
,
Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive maps of Chicago , coordinates = , coordinates_footnotes = , subdivision_type = Country , subdivisio ...

Chicago
,
Atlanta Atlanta () is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Georgia. With an estimated 2019 population of 506,811, it is also the 37th most populous city in the United States. The city serves as the cultural and economic center of ...
,
Denver Denver (), officially the City and County of Denver, is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. State of Colorado. Denver is located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range ...
, and
Los Angeles Los Angeles (; es, Los Ángeles; "The Angels"), officially the City of Los Angeles and often abbreviated as L.A., is the largest city in California. With an estimated population of nearly four million people, it is the second most populous ...
. The Census Bureau also runs the Census Information Center cooperative program that involves 58 "national, regional, and local non-profit organizations". The CIC program aims to represent the interests of underserved communities.


Computer equipment

The 1890 census was the first to use the electric tabulating machines invented by
Herman Hollerith Herman Hollerith (February 29, 1860 – November 17, 1929) was an American businessman, inventor, and statistician who developed an electromechanical tabulating machine for punched cards to assist in summarizing information and, later, in account ...
. For 1890–1940 details, see In 1946, knowing of the Bureau's funding of Hollerith and, later,
Powers Powers (stylized as POWERS) is a musical duo composed of Mike Del Rio and Crista Ru. Their music has been described as alternative pop, electropop, and progressive pop. ''Time'' has called their music "groovy and futuristic". Music "Gimme Some" ...
,
John Mauchly John William Mauchly (August 30, 1907 – January 8, 1980) was an American physicist who, along with J. Presper Eckert, designed ENIAC, the first general purpose electronic digital computer, as well as EDVAC, BINAC and UNIVAC I, the first comm ...
approached the Bureau about early funding for
UNIVAC UNIVAC (Universal Automatic Computer) was a line of electronic digital stored-program computers starting with the products of the Eckert–Mauchly Computer Corporation. Later the name was applied to a division of the Remington Rand company and succe ...
development. A
UNIVAC I The UNIVAC I (UNIVersal Automatic Computer I) was the first general-purpose electronic digital computer design for business application produced in the United States. It was designed principally by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, the inventor ...
computer was accepted by the Bureau in 1951.


Handheld computers (HHC)

Historically, the census information was gathered by census takers going door-to-door collecting information in a ledger. Beginning in 1970 information was gathered via mailed forms. To reduce paper usage, reduce payroll expense and acquire the most comprehensive list of addresses ever compiled, 500,000 handheld computers (HHCs) (specifically designed, single-purpose devices) were used for the first time in 2009 during the address canvassing portion of the 2010 Decennial Census Project. Projected savings were estimated to be over $1 billion.


Security precautions

The HHC was manufactured by
Harris Corporation Harris Corporation was an American technology company, defense contractor, and information technology services provider that produced wireless equipment, tactical radios, electronic systems, night vision equipment and both terrestrial and spacebo ...
, an established
Department of DefenseDepartment of Defence or Department of Defense may refer to: Current departments of defence * Department of Defence (Australia) * Department of National Defence (Canada) * Department of Defence (Ireland) * Department of National Defense (Philippine ...
contractor, via a controversial contract with the
Department of Commerce The United States Department of Commerce is an executive department of the U.S. federal government concerned with promoting economic growth. Among its tasks are gathering economic and demographic data for business and government decision makin ...
. Secured access via a fingerprint swipe guaranteed only the verified user could access the unit. A
GPS The Global Positioning System (GPS), originally Navstar GPS, Announcements from Vice President Al Gore and the Clinton Administration in 1998 initiated these changes, which were authorized by the U.S. Congress in 2000. During the 1990s, GPS ...
capacity was integral to the daily address management and the transfer of gathered information. Of major importance was the security and integrity of the populace's private information.


Success and failure

Enumerators (information gatherers) that had operational problems with the device understandably made negative reports. During the 2009 Senate confirmation hearings for
Robert Groves Robert Martin Groves (born September 27, 1948) is an American sociologist and expert in survey methodology who has served as the Provost of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. since August 2012. He also served as the Director of the United S ...
, President Obama's Census Director appointee, there was much mention of problems but very little criticism of the units. In rural areas, the sparsity of cell phone towers caused problems with data transmission to and from the HHC. Since the units were updated nightly with important changes and updates, operator implementation of proper procedure was imperative. Dramatic dysfunction and delays occurred if the units were not put into
sleep mode Sleep mode (or suspend to RAM) is a low power mode for electronic devices such as computers, televisions, and remote controlled devices. These modes save significantly on electrical consumption compared to leaving a device fully on and, upon resum ...
overnight.


Notable alumni

*
John Shaw Billings John Shaw Billings (April 12, 1838 – March 11, 1913) was an American librarian, building designer, and surgeon. However, he is best known as the modernizer of the Library of the Surgeon General's Office of the Army. His work with Andrew Carne ...
* W. Edwards Deming * Davis Rich Dewey * Halbert L. Dunn *
Murray Feshbach Murray Feshbach (August 8, 1929 – October 25, 2019) was an American scholar focusing on the demographics of the Soviet Union and demographics of Russia, including population, health, and environment. He was a Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson ...
*
Robert Groves Robert Martin Groves (born September 27, 1948) is an American sociologist and expert in survey methodology who has served as the Provost of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. since August 2012. He also served as the Director of the United S ...
*
Henry Gannett Henry Gannett (August 24, 1846 – November 5, 1914) was an American geographer who is described as the "Father of the Quadrangle" which is the basis for topographical maps in the United States. Life He was born in Bath, Maine August 24, 1846, g ...
* Morris H. Hansen * *
Herman Hollerith Herman Hollerith (February 29, 1860 – November 17, 1929) was an American businessman, inventor, and statistician who developed an electromechanical tabulating machine for punched cards to assist in summarizing information and, later, in account ...
*
Leslie Kish Leslie Kish (born László Kiss, July 27, 1910 – October 7, 2000) was a Hungarian-American statistician and survey methodologist.. Reprint of an obituary from ''International Statistical Institute (ISI) Newsletter'', Volume 25, No. 73. Life and ...
* John Wesley Langley *
Bernard MalamudBernard Malamud (April 26, 1914 – March 18, 1986) was an American novelist and short story writer. Along with Saul Bellow, Joseph Heller, and Philip Roth, he was one of the best known American Jewish authors of the 20th century. His baseball n ...
*
Thomas Commerford Martin Thomas Commerford Martin (July 22, 1856 – May 17, 1924) was an American electrical engineer and editor. Martin was born in London, England. His father worked with Lord Kelvin and other pioneers of submarine telegraph cables, and Martin worked on ...
*
Warren Mitofsky Warren J. Mitofsky (September 17, 1934 – September 1, 2006) was an American political pollster. Mitofsky graduated in 1957 from Guilford College and was executive director of the CBS News election and survey unit from 1967 to 1990. He also previ ...
* Ivan Petrof * Cyrus Guernsey Pringle * Richard M. Scammon * Thelma Strabel * Howard Sutherland


See also

* List of U.S. states and territories by population * List of metropolitan areas of the United States * List of United States cities by population * List of United States counties and county-equivalents * Office of Management and Budget, United States Office of Management and Budget ** United States primary statistical area, Primary statistical area – List of primary statistical areas of the United States, List of the 574 PSAs ** Combined Statistical Area – List of Combined Statistical Areas, List of the 169 CSAs ** Core Based Statistical Area – List of Core Based Statistical Areas, List of the 929 CBSAs ** Metropolitan Statistical Area – List of Metropolitan Statistical Areas, List of the 388 MSAs ** Micropolitan Statistical Area – List of Micropolitan Statistical Areas, List of the 541 μSAs ** United States urban area – List of United States urban areas * PATCOB *
Title 13 of the United States Code Title 13 of the United States Code outlines the role of the United States Census in the United States Code. * : Administration * : Collection and Publication of Statistics * : Censuses * : Offenses and Penalties * : Collection and Publication o ...
* Title 15 of the Code of Federal Regulations * Director of the United States Census Bureau * Data.gov * USAFacts


References


External links


United States Census Bureau

Census Bureau
in the Federal Register
USCB population estimates

USCB History




* * * ;72-year rule
PDF of Availability of Census Records About Individuals

PDF of Letter from Census Bureau Director, Roy V. Peel to Archivist of the United States, Wayne C. Grover, concerning the 72-year lapse between collection and release of decennial census records

PDF of Letter from Archivist of the United States, Wayne C. Grover to Census Bureau Director Roy V. Peel, in reply to Peel's August 1952 letter
{{Authority control United States Census Bureau, 1903 establishments in Washington, D.C. United States Census Government agencies established in 1903 National statistical services Organizations based in Washington, D.C. Statistical organizations in the United States Federal Statistical System of the United States