United States Census Bureau

United States Census Bureau

Overview
The United States Census Bureau (officially the Bureau of the Census, as defined in Title ) is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census
United States Census
The United States Census is a decennial census mandated by the United States Constitution. The population is enumerated every 10 years and the results are used to allocate Congressional seats , electoral votes, and government program funding. The United States Census Bureau The United States Census...

. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data
Economic data
Economic data or economic statistics may refer to data describing an actual economy, past or present. These are typically found in time-series form, that is, covering more than one time period or in cross-sectional data in one time period Economic data or economic statistics may refer to data...

. As part of the United States Department of Commerce
United States Department of Commerce
The United States Department of Commerce is the Cabinet department of the United States government concerned with promoting economic growth. It was originally created as the United States Department of Commerce and Labor on February 14, 1903...

, the Census Bureau serves as a leading source of data about America's people and economy.

The most visible role of the Census Bureau is to perform the official decennial (every 10 years) count of people living in the U.S.
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Encyclopedia
The United States Census Bureau (officially the Bureau of the Census, as defined in Title ) is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census
United States Census
The United States Census is a decennial census mandated by the United States Constitution. The population is enumerated every 10 years and the results are used to allocate Congressional seats , electoral votes, and government program funding. The United States Census Bureau The United States Census...

. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data
Economic data
Economic data or economic statistics may refer to data describing an actual economy, past or present. These are typically found in time-series form, that is, covering more than one time period or in cross-sectional data in one time period Economic data or economic statistics may refer to data...

. As part of the United States Department of Commerce
United States Department of Commerce
The United States Department of Commerce is the Cabinet department of the United States government concerned with promoting economic growth. It was originally created as the United States Department of Commerce and Labor on February 14, 1903...

, the Census Bureau serves as a leading source of data about America's people and economy.

The most visible role of the Census Bureau is to perform the official decennial (every 10 years) count of people living in the U.S. The most important result is the reallocation of the number of seats each state is allowed in the House of Representatives, but the results also affect a range of government programs received by each state. The agency director is a political appointee selected by the President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

.

Legal mandate



The Constitution of the United States (Article I, section II) directs that the population
Population
A population is all the organisms that both belong to the same group or species and live in the same geographical area. The area that is used to define a sexual population is such that inter-breeding is possible between any pair within the area and more probable than cross-breeding with individuals...

 be enumerated at least once every ten years and the resulting counts used to set the number of members from each state
United States congressional apportionment
United States congressional apportionment is the process by which seats in the United States House of Representatives are redistributed amongst the 50 states following each constitutionally mandated decennial census. Each state is apportioned a number of seats which approximately corresponds to its...

 in the House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 and, by extension, in the Electoral College. The Census Bureau now conducts a full population count
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

 every 10 years in years ending with a 0 (zero) and uses the term "decennial" 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
Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals" . It is concerned with threats to health based on population health...

, education, transportation and much 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
Rational-legal authority is a form of leadership in which the authority of an organization or a ruling regime is largely tied to legal rationality, legal legitimacy and bureaucracy...

 is codified in Title 13 of the United States Code
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.-External links:*, via United States Government Printing Office*, via Cornell University...

.

The Census Bureau also conducts surveys on behalf of various federal government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 and local government
Local government
Local government refers collectively to administrative authorities over areas that are smaller than a state.The term is used to contrast with offices at nation-state level, which are referred to as the central government, national government, or federal government...

 agencies on topics such as employment, crime, health, consumer expenditures, 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.

From 1790 to 1840, the census was taken by marshals 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
United States Department of the Interior
The United States Department of the Interior is the United States federal executive department of the U.S. government responsible for the management and conservation of most federal land and natural resources, and the administration of programs relating to Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native...

, and in 1903 it was renamed the Census Bureau under the new Department of Commerce and Labor. 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 2 years and agriculture censuses every 10 years. In 1929, a bill was passed mandating that the House of Representatives be reapportioned based on the results of the 1930 Census. In 1954, various acts were codified into Title 13 of the US Code.

By law the Census Bureau must count everyone and submit state population totals to the U.S. President by December 31, 2010. States within the Union receive the results in the spring of the following year.

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 USA,
  • Plan transportation systems and roadways,
  • Determine quotas and creation of police and fire precincts, and
  • Create localized areas for elections, schools, utilities, etc.

Businesses


Business also has many uses for census data, as listed;
  • Forecast future product demand,
  • Determine site locations for expansion/new business,
  • Determine future need for nursing homes, day care centers, hospitals, etc.,
  • Clarify if they are employing a representative workforce.

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
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.-External links:*, via United States Government Printing Office*, via Cornell University...

 of the U.S. Code establishes penalties for the disclosure of this information. All Census employees must sign a sworn affidavit
Affidavit
An affidavit is a written sworn statement of fact voluntarily made by an affiant or deponent under an oath or affirmation administered by a person authorized to do so by law. Such statement is witnessed as to the authenticity of the affiant's signature by a taker of oaths, such as a notary public...

 of non-disclosure prior to employment.

The Bureau cannot share responses, addresses or personal information with anyone including United States or foreign government and law enforcement agencies such as the IRS or the FBI or Interpol. "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.

In 1918, the Census Bureau released individual information regarding several hundred young men to the Justice Department and Selective Service system for the purpose of prosecutions for draft evasion. During World War II, the United States Census Bureau assisted the government's Japanese American internment
Japanese American internment
Japanese-American internment was the relocation and internment by the United States government in 1942 of approximately 110,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese who lived along the Pacific coast of the United States to camps called "War Relocation Camps," in the wake of Imperial Japan's attack on...

 efforts by providing confidential neighborhood information on Japanese-Americans. The Bureau's role was denied for decades but was finally proven in 2007.

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. In April 2009, President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 nominated Robert M. Groves
Robert Groves (academic)
Robert Martin Groves is the Director of the United States Census Bureau, a sociologist, and research professor in survey methodology at both the University of Michigan and University of Maryland, College Park...

 to head the Census Bureau.

The Census Bureau has had headquarters in Suitland
Suitland-Silver Hill, Maryland
Suitland-Silver Hill is a census-designated place in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States. The census area include separate unincorporated communities of Silver Hill and Suitland, and other smaller communities. The population was 33,515 at the 2000 census...

, Maryland since 1942. A new headquarters complex was completed in 2007 and supports over 4,000 employees. The Bureau operates regional offices in 12 cities: Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, Kansas City
Kansas City, Kansas
Kansas City is the third-largest city in the state of Kansas and is the county seat of Wyandotte County. It is a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri, and is the third largest city in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. The city is part of a consolidated city-county government known as the "Unified...

, Seattle, Charlotte
CHARLOTTE
- CHARLOTTE :CHARLOTTE is an American blues-based hard rock band that formed in Los Angeles, California in 1986. Currently, they are signed to indie label, Eonian Records, under which they released their debut cd, Medusa Groove, in 2010. Notable Charlotte songs include 'Siren', 'Little Devils',...

, Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, and Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

. The National Processing Center is located in Jeffersonville, Indiana
Jeffersonville, Indiana
Jeffersonville is a city in Clark County, Indiana, along the Ohio River. Locally, the city is often referred to by the abbreviated name Jeff. It is directly across the Ohio River to the north of Louisville, Kentucky along I-65. The population was 44,953 at the 2010 census...

. Additional temporary processing facilities are used to 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 l oversee the openings and closings of smaller "Local Census Offices" within their collection jurisdictions. The estimated cost of the 2010 Census is $14.7 billion.

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.

Census regions and divisions


The United States Census Bureau has four official regions, with nine official divisions.
  • Northeastern United States
    Northeastern United States
    The Northeastern United States is a region of the United States as defined by the United States Census Bureau.-Composition:The region comprises nine states: the New England states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont; and the Mid-Atlantic states of New...

    • New England
      New England
      New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

    • Middle Atlantic
      Mid-Atlantic States
      The Mid-Atlantic states, also called middle Atlantic states or simply the mid Atlantic, form a region of the United States generally located between New England and the South...


  • Midwestern United States
    Midwestern United States
    The Midwestern United States is one of the four U.S. geographic regions defined by the United States Census Bureau, providing an official definition of the American Midwest....

    • East North Central States
      East North Central States
      The East North Central States form one of the nine geographic divisions within the United States which are officially recognized by the United States Census Bureau....

    • West North Central States
      West North Central States
      The West North Central States form one of the nine geographic divisions within the United States that are officially recognized by the U.S. Census Bureau....



  • Western United States
    Western United States
    .The Western United States, commonly referred to as the American West or simply "the West," traditionally refers to the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States. Because the U.S. expanded westward after its founding, the meaning of the West has evolved over time...

    • Pacific States
      Pacific States
      The Pacific States form one of the nine geographic divisions within the United States that are officially recognized by that country's census bureau. There are five states in this division — Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington — and, as its name suggests, they all have...

    • Mountain States
      Mountain States
      thumb|300px|Regional definitions vary from source to source. The states shown in dark red are always included, while the striped states are usually considered part of the same region called the Mountain States....


  • Southern United States
    Southern United States
    The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

    • West South Central States
      West South Central States
      The West South Central States form one of the nine Census Bureau Divisions of the United States that are officially designated by the United States Census Bureau.Four states compose the division: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas...

    • East South Central States
      East South Central States
      The East South Central States constitute one of the nine Census Bureau Divisions of the United States.Four states make up the division: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee...

    • South Atlantic States
      South Atlantic States
      The South Atlantic United States form one of the nine Census Bureau Divisions within the United States that are recognized by the United States Census Bureau....



Computer equipment



The 1890 census was the first to use the electric tabulating machines invented by Herman Hollerith
Herman Hollerith
Herman Hollerith was an American statistician who developed a mechanical tabulator based on punched cards to rapidly tabulate statistics from millions of pieces of data. He was the founder of one of the companies that later merged and became IBM.-Personal life:Hollerith was born in Buffalo, New...

. For 1890-1940 details, see In 1946, knowing of the Bureau's funding of Hollerith and, later, Powers
Powers Accounting Machine Company
Powers Accounting Machine Company was an early 20th century tabulating machine company. It was founded in 1911 in Newark, New Jersey and moved in 1914 to Brooklyn....

, John Mauchly
John Mauchly
John William Mauchly 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 commercial computer made in the United States.Together they started the first computer company,...

 approached the Bureau about early funding for UNIVAC
UNIVAC
UNIVAC is the name of a business unit and division of the Remington Rand company formed by the 1950 purchase of the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation, founded four years earlier by ENIAC inventors J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, and the associated line of computers which continues to this day...

 development. A UNIVAC I
UNIVAC I
The UNIVAC I was the first commercial computer produced in the United States. It was designed principally by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, the inventors of the ENIAC...

 computer was accepted by the Bureau in 1951.

In order to reduce paper usage and reduce payroll expenses, 500,000 handheld computers (HHC's) were used for the first time in 2009 during the address canvassing portion of the 2010 Decennial Census Project. Projected savings are over one billion dollars. The further implementation of advanced computer systems in the planning for the 2020 census provides major challenges for an upgrade in the technological broadening of census protocol.

Ongoing surveys


A survey is a method of collecting and analyzing social, economic, and geographic data
Geographic data
Geographic data is about much more than electronic pictures of maps.The geographic data that describes our world allows for city planning, flood prediction and relief, emergency service routing, environmental assessments, wind pattern monitoring and many other applications.Geographic data is...

. It provides information about the conditions of the United States, states, and counties. Throughout the decade between censuses, the bureau is 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 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
    American Community Survey
    The American Community Survey is an ongoing statistical survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, sent to approximately 250,000 addresses monthly . It regularly gathers information previously contained only in the long form of the decennial census...

  • Consumer Expenditure Survey
    Consumer Expenditure Survey
    The Consumer Expenditure Survey is a Bureau of Labor Statistics survey that collects information on the buying habits of U.S. consumers. The program consists of two components — the Interview Survey and the Diary Survey — each with its own sample...

  • Census of Governments
    Census of Governments
    The Census of Governments is a census performed by the United States Census Bureau. It is mandated by . The Census of Governments occurs twice-per-decade, in years ending with 2 and 7...

  • Current Population Survey
    Current Population Survey
    The Current Population Survey is a statistical survey conducted by the United States Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics . The BLS uses the data to provide a monthly report on the Employment Situation. This report provides estimates of the number of unemployed people in the United...

  • Economic Census
  • National Hospital Discharge Survey
  • National Health Interview Survey
  • National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey
  • National Crime Victimization Survey
    National Crime Victimization Survey
    The National Crime Victimization Survey , administered by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, is a national survey of approximately 49,000 to 77,400 households twice a year in the United States, on the frequency of crime victimization, as well as characteristics and consequences of victimization...

  • National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS)
  • National Nursing Home Survey
  • Survey of Income and Program Participation
    Survey of Income and Program Participation
    The Survey of Income and Program Participation is a statistical survey conducted by the United States Census Bureau. The main objective of the SIPP is to provide accurate and comprehensive information about the income of American individuals and households and the participation of these people in...

  • Survey of Construction
  • Survey of Market Absorption
  • Survey of Program Dynamics
  • National Longitudinal Survey
  • National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, & Wildlife-Associated Recreation 2001
  • American Housing Survey
    American Housing Survey
    The American Housing Survey is a statistical survey funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. It is the largest regular national housing sample survey in the United States and contains information on the number and...

  • Residential Finance Survey
  • National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol Related Conditions
  • 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 (BJS)
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
    Bureau of Labor Statistics
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics 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. The BLS is a governmental statistical agency that collects, processes, analyzes, and...

     (BLS)
  • Bureau of Transportation Statistics
    Bureau of Transportation Statistics
    The Bureau of Transportation Statistics , 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 and other areas as needed; and improves the quality and...

     (BTS)
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • National Center for Education Statistics
    National Center for Education Statistics
    The National Center for Education Statistics is the part of the United States Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences that collects, analyzes, and publishes statistics on education and public school district finance information in the United States...

     (NCES)
  • National Center for Health Statistics
    National Center for Health Statistics
    National Center for Health Statistics is a division of the United States federal agency the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . As such, NCHS is under the United States Department of Health and Human Services...

     (NCHS)
  • National Science Foundation
    National Science Foundation
    The National Science Foundation is a United States government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. Its medical counterpart is the National Institutes of Health...

     (NSF)
  • Social Security Administration
    Social Security Administration
    The United States Social Security Administration is an independent agency of the United States federal government that administers Social Security, a social insurance program consisting of retirement, disability, and survivors' benefits...

    (SSA)

External links