United States Census

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The United States Census is a ten-year census in the United States of America since 1790 , as provided by the United States Constitution . It is carried out by the United States Census Bureau .


The United States Constitution of September 17, 1787 provides in article 1, paragraph 2, a census every ten years. At that time the thirteen states numbered about 2.5 million people.

Originally, since about 1600, Virginia censuses were made by counting residents in almost all British colonies.

Over time, the aspects examined became more and more complex. In 1840, for example, industries such as fishing were examined, and social, ecclesiastical and fiscal issues were also expanded. There is also a geographical division. A more detailed list of the points examined can be found in the individual main articles:

Data acquisition

Although there is no compulsory registration of the place of residence in the USA , the US citizenship of the population is always assumed when collecting data. In principle, all persons are recorded who live in the national territory for a longer period of time. It doesn't matter whether they live legally or illegally in the country. This is problematic in that the numbers used to form the House of Representatives do not accurately represent the actual electorate in elections. The southern states in particular, with their increased proportion of immigrants, are only roughly represented.

The lack of reporting requirement also means that the number of households is always given in their absolute number, while the households used as second homes are not taken into account in the calculation of the persons per household. This in turn leads to a partially unrepresentative ratio of the number of inhabitants to the number of households, primarily in the southern states.

Data access

According to Title 13 of the federal legislation, the primary data are available to the public after 72 years. According to this regulation, the 16th United States Census 1940 was published in 2012. The following 17th United States Census 1950 will be released in 2022. Secondary data will be available sooner.


  • Herbert S. Klein: A Population History of the United States. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2004, ISBN 978-0-5217-8810-6 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Wording of Article I on Wikisource
  2. Annetta Smith, Denise Smith: US Census Bureau Census Special Reports Series CENSR / 01-2 . US GPO, 2001.

Web links