2020 Census

Using This Guide

This guide will help you find resources and information about the 2020 U.S. Census.

left arrowUse the blue tabs on the left to navigate through the different research areas and topics available in this guide. When you click on a tab, you will notice that the different sections of the page will appear nested under it You can either click on these to jump to a specific part of the page, or simply scroll down to look at all of the available resources.

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U.S. Census Overview

What is the U.S. Census?

The U.S. Census is a count of the entire US population.  This information is used to properly draw the lines for congressional districts and distribute federal government funds. The mandate to properly enumerate the entire US population was written in the US Constitution by the founding fathers. Article I of Section 2 of the US Constitution states, "Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this union, according to their respective numbers . . . The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct."

The very first US Census took place in 1790 and had only 6 questions. Now the US Census has many more questions and data collection is not limited to every 10 years. The Census Bureau conducts both the Decennial Census, an exact count of the US population every 10 years, and the American Community Survey, a sample of the US population every year. The data from the US Census Bureau has many interesting applications for research and discovery. Once census data is properly processed it is published by the government for free online for anyone to use. 

Census Resources

What is the Census?