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Our Censuses

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Decennial Census

Also known as the Population and Housing Census, the Decennial U.S. Census counts every resident in the United States. It is mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution and takes place every 10 years. The data collected by the decennial census determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and is also used to distribute billions in federal funds to local communities.

The census tells us who we are and where we are going as a nation, and helps our communities determine where to build everything from schools to supermarkets, and from homes to hospitals. It helps the government decide how to distribute funds and assistance to states and localities. It is also used to draw the lines of legislative districts and reapportion the seats each State holds in Congress.

The 2010 Census represented the most massive participation movement ever witnessed in our country. Approximately 74 percent of the households returned their census forms by mail; the remaining households were counted by census workers walking neighborhoods throughout the United States.

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Economic Census

The Economic Census is the U.S. Government's official five-year measure of American business and the economy for planning and key economic reports, and economic development and business decisions.  The last Economic Census was conducted during the year ending December 2012.

Data from the Economic Census is important for your industry, your community and your business.

  • Your trade association and chamber of commerce rely on information from the census for economic development and business decisions.
  • Government agencies, analysts and business organizations nationwide also rely on census information for planning and key economic reports.
  • Information provided by the Economic Census can also help you support decisions and planning for your own business.

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Census of Governments

The Census of Governments occurs every five years since 1957, for years ending in "2" and "7."  It identifies the scope and nature of the nation's state and local government sector; provides authoritative benchmark figures of public finance and public employment; classifies local government organizations, powers, and activities; and measures federal, state, and local fiscal relationships.

Two federal statistical agencies–the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Federal Reserve Board–use the data to measure the nation's economic and financial performance. State and local governments use the data to develop programs and budgets, assess financial conditions, and perform comparative analyses.

In addition, analysts, economists, market specialists, and researchers need these data to measure the changing characteristics of the government sector of the economy and to conduct public policy research. Journalists report on, and teachers and students learn about, their governments' activities using our data. Internally, the Census Bureau uses these data as a benchmark for all our non-census year samples.

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