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United States Census Bureau

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Bureau of the Census
Agency overview
Formed July 1, 1903
Preceding agency Temporary census offices
Headquarters Washington, D.C. Suitland, Maryland
Employees 5,593 (2006)
Parent agency Economics and Statistics Administration

The United States Census Bureau (officially Bureau of the Census) is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data. As part of the United States Department of Commerce, the Census Bureau serves as a leading source of data about America's people and economy.[1]

The most visible role of the Census Bureau is to perform the official decennial (every 10 year) count of people living in the USA. One core result is to decide the number of seats each state is allowed in the House of Representatives.[1] 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 would then receive the results the spring of the following year.

Government uses of census data

In addition to being used to determine the distribution of representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives, data collected by the Census Bureau is used by federal, state and local agencies for many other purposes, including:

  • Determining the location of new housing and public facilities,
  • Examining the demographic characteristics of communities, states, and the USA,
  • Planning transportation systems and roadways,
  • Determing quotas and creation of police and fire precincts,
  • Creating localized areas for elections, schools, utilities, etc.


Business also has many uses for census data, including:

  • Forecasting future product demand,
  • Planning site locations for expansion/new business,
  • Determining future needs and business opportunities related to changing demographics, including, for example, changing needs for the availability of nursing homes, day care centers, hospitals, etc,

Ongoing surveys

Throughout the decade between censuses, The Bureau of the Census is continually conducting 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.

Business and economic surveys conducted in between decades include:

  • American Community Survey]]
  • Consumer Expenditure Survey]]
  • Census of Governments]]
  • Current Population Survey]]
  • Economic Census]]
  • National Crime Victimization Survey]]
  • Survey of Construction
  • Residential Finance Survey
    • National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol Related Conditions


  1. 1.0 1.1 USCB DOC-D1026 QVC Manual 01/03/09


External links