- United States Census
The United States Census is a decennial
censusmandated by the United StatesConstitution. [, Article 1, Section 2: "The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct."] The population is enumerated every 10 years and the results are used to allocate Congressional seats ( congressional apportionment), electoral votes, and government program funding.cite web |url=http://factfinder.census.gov/jsp/saff/SAFFInfo.jsp?_pageId=sp4_decennial&_submenuId= |title=Decennial Census |accessdate=2008-24-02 |publisher=American FactFinder] Some states or local jurisdictions also conduct local censuses.
The census is performed by the
United States Census Bureau. The first census after the American Revolutionwas taken in 1790 under Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson; there have been 21 federal censuses since that time. The last national census was held in 2000, and the next census is scheduled for 2010.
Decennial U.S. Census figures are based on actual counts of persons dwelling in U.S. residential structures. They include citizens, non-citizen legal residents, non-citizen long-term visitors, and illegal immigrants. In recent censuses, estimates of uncounted housed, homeless, and migratory persons have been added to the directly reported figures.
For years between the decennial censuses, the Census Bureau issues estimates made using surveys and statistical models.
The practice of including non-citizens in the official census figures is controversial as the census is used for the apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives, and derived from that, of electors to the Electoral College. The Census also employs the practice of using hot deck imputation to assign data to housing units where occupation status is unknown. This practice has effects across many areas but is seen by some as controversial because it may increase representation for reliably Democratic districts. However, the practice was ruled constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in "
Utah v. Evans". Groups like the [http://www.prisonpolicy.org Prison Policy Initiative] assert that the census practice of counting prisoners as residents of prisons, not their pre-incarceration addresses, leads to misleading information about racial demographics and population numbers. [http://www.prisonersofthecensus.org/impact.html]
Census data and questionnaires
The census records and data specific to individual respondents is not available to the public until 72 years after a given census was taken, but aggregate statistical data derived from the census is freely available as soon as it is available. Every census up to 1930 is currently available to the public and can be viewed on
microfilmreleased by the National Archives and Records Administration, the official keeper of archived federal census records. These census records are also available online from various subscription sources.
Data for research purposes are available for all surviving census records from
IPUMS. Scanned copies of each of the decennial census questionnaires distributed in the United States from 1960 forward are also available on-line from IPUMSInternational. [cite web | title=Homepage | work=IPUMS USA | url=http://www.ipums.org/usa/index.html | accessmonthday=December 17 | accessyear=2005]
The computerized statistical data are available in various formats from the Bureau, with one of the more popular formats being as layers formatted for the public-domain
History of the U.S. Census
Censuses had been taken prior to the Constitution's ratification; in the early 1600s, a census was taken in
Virginia, and people were counted in nearly all of the British colonies that became the United States.
Through the years, the country's needs and interests became more complex. This meant that there had to be statistics to help people understand what was happening and have a basis for planning. The content of the decennial census changed accordingly. In 1810 the first inquiry on manufactures, quantity and value of products occurred; in 1840 inquiries on fisheries were added; and in 1850, the census included inquiries on social issues, such as taxation, churches, pauperism and crime. The censuses also spread geographically, to new states and territories added to the Union, as well as to other areas under U.S. sovereignty or jurisdiction. There were so many more inquiries of all kinds in the census of 1880 that almost a full decade was needed to publish all the results. In response to this, the census was mechanised in 1890, with tabulating machines made by
Herman Hollerith. This reduced the processing time to two and a half years [Martin Campbell-Kelly and William Aspray, "Computer a History of the Information Machine - Second Edition", Westview Press, pages 14-19 2004] .
For the first six censuses (1790-1840) enumerators recorded only the names of the heads of household and did a general demographic accounting of the remaining members of the household. Beginning in 1850, all members of the household were named by the enumerator. The first slave schedules were also completed in 1850, with the second (and last) in 1860. Censuses of the late 19th century also included agricultural and industrial schedules to gauge the productivity of the nation's economy. Mortality schedules (taken between 1850 and 1880) captured a snapshot of life spans and causes of death throughout the country.
The first nine censuses (1790-1870) were not managed by the Executive Branch, but by the Judicial Branch. The United States federal court districts assigned U.S. marshals, who hired assistant marshals to conduct the actual enumeration.
First Census of the United States (1790)
The first Census was taken
August 2, 1790. The federal census records for the first census are missing for five states: Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, New Jerseyand Virginia. They were destroyed some time between the time of the census-taking and 1830. The census estimated the population of the United States at 3,929,214.
Second Census of the United States (1800)
The second Census was taken
August 4, 1800.
Third Census of the United States (1810)
The third Census was taken
August 6, 1810.
Fourth Census of the United States (1820)
The fourth Census was taken
August 7, 1820.
Fifth Census of the United States (1830)
The fifth Census was taken
June 1, 1830.
Sixth Census of the United States (1840)
The sixth Census was taken
June 1, 1840. The census estimated the population of the United States at 17,100,000. The results were tabulated by 28 clerks in the Bureau of the Census.
Seventh Census of the United States (1850)
The seventh Census was taken
June 1, 1850. The 1850 census was a landmark year in American census-taking. It was the first year in which the census bureau attempted to count every member of every household, including women, children and slaves. Accordingly, the first slave schedules were produced in 1850. Prior to 1850, census records had only recorded the name of the head of the household and broad statistical accounting of other household members, (three children under age five, one woman between the age of 35 and 40, etc.).
Eighth Census of the United States (1860)
The eighth Census estimated the population of the United States at 31,400,000. The results were tabulated by 184 clerks in the Bureau of the Census.
This was the first census where the American Indians officially were counted, but only those who had 'renounced tribal rules'. The figure for the nation was 40,000.
Ninth Census of the United States (1870)
The ninth Census was taken
June 1, 1870.
Tenth Census of the United States (1880)
The tenth Census estimated the population of the United States at 50,189,209.
This was the first census that permitted women to be enumerators.
Eleventh Census of the United States (1890)
The eleventh Census was taken
June 1, 1890. The 1890 census announced that the frontier region of the United States no longer existed and therefore the tracking of westward migration would no longer be tabulated in the census. This trend prompted Frederick Jackson Turnerto develop his milestone Frontier Thesis.
The 1890 census was the first to be compiled on a
tabulating machine, developed by Herman Hollerith. This introduction of technology reduced the time taken to tabulate the census from seven years for the 1880 census to two and a half years for the 1890 census. The total population of 62,622,250 was announced after only six weeks of processing. Ironically, the public reaction to this tabulation was disbelief, as it was widely believed that the "right answer" was at least 75,000,000.
The logistical difficulties in compiling the census drove
computing technologyfor the next fifty years until computers became widespread in industry. IBM's first electronic computerwas created primarily to deal with the needs of the census in addition to militaryand academicuses.
This census is also notable for the fact it is one of only three for which the original data are no longer available. Almost all the population schedules were destroyed as the result of a fire in 1921.
Twelfth Census of the United States (1900)
The twelfth Census was taken
June 1, 1900.
Thirteenth Census of the United States (1910)
The thirteenth Census was taken
April 15, 1910.
Fourteenth Census of the United States (1920)
The fourteenth Census estimated the population of the United States at 106,021,537.
This was the first census that recorded a population exceeding 100 million.
Fifteenth Census of the United States (1930)
The fifteenth Census was taken on
April 2, 1930, except in Alaska Territory, where census-taking began October 1, 1929.
Sixteenth Census of the United States (1940)
The sixteenth Census was taken on
April 1, 1940. Because of a 72-year privacy law, this census will not be available for public inspection until April 1, 2012.
Seventeenth Census of the United States (1950)
The seventeenth Census was taken on
April 1, 1950. Because of a 72-year privacy law, this census will not be available for public inspection until April 1, 2022.
Eighteenth Census of the United States (1960)
The eighteenth Census was taken on
April 1, 1960. Because of a 72-year privacy law, this census will not be available for public inspection until April 1, 2032.
Nineteenth Census of the United States (1970)
The nineteenth Census was taken on
April 1, 1970. Because of a 72-year privacy law, this census will not be available for public inspection until April 1, 2042.
Twentieth Census of the United States (1980)
The twentieth Census was taken on
April 1, 1980. Because of a 72-year privacy law, this census will not be available for public inspection until April 1, 2052.
Twenty-first Census of the United States (1990)
The 21st Census was taken on
April 1, 1990. Because of a 72-year privacy law, this census will not be available for public inspection until April 1, 2062.
Twenty-second Census of the United States (2000)
The 22nd Census took place on
April 1, 2000. Because of a 72-year privacy law, this census will not be available for public inspection until April 1, 2072.
Twenty-third Census of the United States (2010)
The 23rd Census is planned to take place on
April 1, 2010. Because of a 72-year privacy law, this census will not be available for public inspection until April 1, 2082.
The sole purpose of the censuses and surveys is to secure general statistical information. Replies are obtained from individuals and establishments only to enable the compilation of such general statistics. The confidentiality of these replies is very important. By law, no one — neither the census takers nor any other Census Bureau employee — is permitted to reveal identifiable information about any person, household, or business.
Without such protections, those living illegally in the United States or hiding from the government would be deterred from submitting census data.
Historical FBI abuses of census data
As with any large collection of personal data which can be traced back to individuals, the potential for abuse of census data exists. During the period 1939 to 1941, the FBI, using primarily census records, compiled the "
Custodial Detention index" ("CDI") on citizens, "enemy" aliens and foreign nationals who might be dangerous, which later led to large-scale internment of Japanese-Americans. [cite web|url=http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=A4F4DED6-E7F2-99DF-32E46B0AC1FDE0FE&sc=I100322|title=Confirmed: The U.S. Census Bureau Gave Up Names of Japanese-Americans in WW II|date=2007-03-30|publisher=Scientific American] [cite web|url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-03-30-census-role_N.htm|title=Papers show Census role in WWII camps|date=2007-03-30|publisher=USA Today]
Regions and divisions
The bureau recognizes four census
regions within the United States, and further organizes them into nine divisions. These regions are groupings of states that subdivide the United States for the presentation of data. They should not be construed as necessarily being thus grouped owing to any geographical, historical, or cultural bonds. US Census Regions Region 1: Northeast Region 2: Midwest Region 3: South Region 4: West
*Division 2: Middle Atlantic
*Division 3: East North Central
*Division 4: West North Central
*Division 5: South Atlantic
*Division 6: East South Central
*Division 7: West South Central
*Division 8: Mountain
*Division 9: Pacific
Quantitative state rankings
In the last decade, the Census Bureau has begun to rank the states of the Union in qualitative terms based on their quantitative figures so that people could more easily understand the changing dynamics of the country. The goal of this effort was to stir up national pride and understanding along with governmental participation at the state and federal level.Fact|date=September 2008
United States Census Bureau, the federal agency tasked with implementing the Census
IPUMS, a database providing statistical samples of census data
Race (U.S. Census)
Regulatory Barriers Clearinghouse
Metropolitan Statistical Area(MSA) an area that includes adjacent communities to major cities.
Combined Statistical Area(CSA) an area that combines adjacent MSAs.
Micropolitan Statistical Area
Census Designated Place(CDP) an area that is not part of an incorporated city but has an identity.
* Anderson, Margo J. "Encyclopedia of the U.S. Census". Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2000. ISBN 1-56802-428-2.
* Campbell-Kelly, Martin, and Aspray, William. "Computer: A History of the Information Machine". New York: Basic Books, 1996. ISBN 0-465-02990-6.
* Lavin, Michael R. "Understanding the Census: A Guide for Marketers, Planners, Grant Writers, and Other Data Users". Kenmore, N.Y. : Epoch Books, 1996. ISBN 0-89774-995-2.
* [http://www.census.gov "U.S. Census Bureau"] : Official site:* [http://www.census.gov/main/www/cen2000.html Census 2000 gateway] via Census Bureau:* [http://www.census.gov/population/www/pop-profile/profile2000.html Population Profile of the United States: 2000] via Census Bureau:* [http://www.census.gov/population/pop-profile/2000/profile2000.ppt Population Profile Introductory slide show] , in MS Powerpoint format via Census Bureau:* [http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/ State and County QuickFacts] , the most requested information via Census Bureau:* [http://factfinder.census.gov American FactFinder] , for population, housing, economic, and geographic data via Census Bureau:* [http://www.census.gov/history Census Bureau History] , providing historical information about the Census Bureau and its activities
* [http://libraries.mit.edu/guides/types/census/sources.html Sources of U.S. Census Data] , MIT Libraries (list of web resources useful to researchers)
* [http://www.censusscope.org "CensusScope"] : Data summaries, charts, maps, and graphs of U.S. Census Data.
* [http://www.newhorizonsgenealogicalservices.com/mortality-schedule.htm U.S. Federal and State Census Mortality Schedules 1850-1880]
* [http://people.howstuffworks.com/census.htm "howstuffworks.com"] : How the Census works
* [http://www.mla.org/census_main MLA Language Map] from the
Modern Language Association
*gutenberg author | id=U.S._Census_of_population_and_housing | name=U.S. Census of population and housing
* [http://fisher.lib.virginia.edu/collections/stats/histcensus/index.html Historical US Census Browser]
* [http://www.mortalityschedules.com U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules 1850-1880]
* [http://www.census-charts.com/index.html Census: State and metropolitan area data in table/chart format]
* [http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleid=A4F4DED6-E7F2-99DF-32E46B0AC1FDE0FE The U.S. Census Bureau Gave Up Names of Japanese-Americans in WW II] "Scientific American"
30 March 2007
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