Every 10 years, as mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the US Census counts every resident in the United States.
The data collected by the census determine the number of seats each state has in the US House of Representatives (a process called apportionment) and helps determine how more than $675 billion of federal funding is distributed to states and communities each year.
The first census was led by Thomas Jefferson in 1790. Six questions included name of head of family and the number of persons in each household in five categories.
The 2020 census will involve counting around 330 million people in more than 140 million housing units.
The census requires years of research, planning, and development of methods and infrastructure to ensure an accurate and complete count.
To prepare for the 2020 census, the Census Bureau conducted research in four major areas:
- Using the Internet to increase self-response.
- Using existing government data sources to answer census questions and reduce follow-up workload.
- Automating operations to increase productivity and reduce staff and offices.
- Using existing maps and address to reflect changes rather than walking every block in every neighborhood in the country.
Click here to access the latest version of the plan and timeline for 2020: