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Census Data: Population and Housing

A guide to the information from the US Census Bureau.

About the Census of Population and Housing

The Decennial Census (the Census of Population and Housing) is conducted every 10 years to fulfill the Constitutional mandate that Congress maintain a headcount of every person residing in the United States for the purpose of determining Congressional representation.  The census is a count of everyone residing in the United States: in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Island Areas.  All residents of the United States must be counted. This includes people of all ages, races, ethnic groups, citizens, and non-citizens.

The Census has an important impact in many areas:

  • Census affects funding in your community
    Census data directly affects how billions of dollars per year in federal and state funding is allocated to communities for neighborhood improvements, public health, education, transportation and much more.
  • Census affects your voice in Congress
    Mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the census is also used to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and to redistrict state legislatures.
  • Census affects your representation in state and local government
    Census data are used to define legislature districts, school district assignment areas and other important functional areas of government.
  • Census informs your community's decisions
    The census is a snapshot that helps define who we are as a nation. Data about changes in your community are crucial to many planning decisions, such as where to provide services for the elderly, where to build new roads and schools, or where to locate job training centers.

Congressional Apportionment

The primary reason for conducting the decennial census of the United States is to apportion the members of the House of Representatives among the 50 states. A state's resident population consists of those persons "usually resident" in that state (where they live and sleep most of the time). A state's apportionment population is the sum of its resident population and a count of overseas U.S. military and federal civilian employees (and their dependents living with them) allocated to the state, as reported by the employing federal agencies.

Tables, maps, and other information about the Census 2020 results are available.

Special Reports and Updates

Special Reports and Updates

  • Census Briefs & Special Reports
    • Briefs provide an overview of the most important aspects of a topic, and are available for several race and ethnic groups, as well as other population and housing topics. Special Reports provide in-depth analysis of population and housing topics.
  • Current Population Survey
    • The Current Population Survey (CPS), sponsored jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is the primary source of labor force statistics for the population of the United States.
  • Geography Program
    • Geography is central to the work of the Census Bureau, providing the framework for survey design, sample selection, data collection, tabulation, and dissemination.  Geography provides meaning and context to statistical data.
  • Population & Housing Unit Estimates
    • The Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program (PEP) produces estimates of the population for the United States, states, metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas, counties, cities, towns, as well as for Puerto Rico and its municipios. 
  • Surveys and Programs
    • The U.S. Census Bureau conducts more than 130 surveys and programs each year, including our nation's largest:

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