From the U.S. Census website: http://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial-census/2020-census/about.html
About the Census
As mandated by the U.S. Constitution, America gets just one chance each decade to count its population. The 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 (a process called apportionment) and is also used to distribute billions in federal funds to local communities.
The next Census in 2020 will require counting an increasingly diverse and growing population of around 330 million people in more than 140 million housing units. To get an accurate count, the Census Bureau must build an accurate address list of every housing unit, maximize self-response to the census, and efficiently follow up with those who do not respond.
Currently we are conducting research in four areas that focus on the major cost drivers of the decennial census:
- Use the Internet to increase self-response.
- Use existing government data sources to answer census questions and reduce follow-up workload.
- Automate operations to increase productivity and reduce staff and offices.
- Use existing maps and address to reflect changes rather than walking every block in every neighborhood in America.
The decennial census is the largest mobilization and operation conducted in the United States and requires years of research, planning and development of methods and infrastructure to ensure an accurate and complete count.
What is the Census?
The U.S. Census counts every resident in the United States. Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution mandates that this occur every 10 years.
Why a Census?
The information the census collects helps determine how more than $400 billion of federal funding each year are spent on infrastructure, programs and services.
The 2020 Census Residence Rule
The Census Bureau has provided guidance on how to interpret the usual residence concept to determine where to count people in the 2020 Census.
Once a decade, we give each state the data required to redistrict their seats in congress based on population shifts and the number of seats they have.
History of the Census
Thomas Jefferson led the first census in 1790. It had six questions: name of head of family and the number of persons in each household in five categories.