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Census Information

What is the Census?

  • The census is a count of everyone living in the United States every 10 years.
  • The census is mandated by the U.S. Constitution.
  • The next census is in 2010.
  • Your participation in the census is required by law.
  • It takes less than 10 minutes to complete.
  • Federal law protects the personal information you share during the census.
  • Census data are used to distribute Congressional seats to states, to make decisions about what community services to provide, and to distribute $400 billion in federal funds to local, state and tribal governments each year.
  • What
    Count
    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.

    Who
    Everyone
    All residents of the United States must be counted. This includes people of all ages, races, ethnic groups, citizens and non-citizens.

    When
    Every 10 years
    Every 10 years, and the next census occurs in 2010. Census questionnaires will be mailed or delivered to every household in the United States in March 2010. The questions ask you to provide information that is accurate for your household as of April 1, 2010.

    The Census Bureau must count everyone and submit state population totals to the U.S. President by December 31, 2010.

    The first Census was conducted in 1790 and has been carried out every 10 years since then.

    Where
    Everywhere in the U.S.
    The census counts everyone residing in the United States: in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Island Areas.

    People should be counted where they live and sleep most of the year.

    Why
    The U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 2) mandates a headcount of everyone residing in the United States. The population totals determine each state’s Congressional representation. The numbers also affect funding in your community and help inform decision makers about how your community is changing. More info

    How
    The Census Bureau will mail or deliver questionnaires to your house in March 2010. We will mail a second form to households that do not respond to the initial questionnaire.

    Households that still do not respond will be called or visited by a Census worker. (Census workers can be identified by a census badge and bag.)


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