What is the Census?
A census is a count of all persons in a given geographic area. Article 1, Section 2, of the United States Constitution, mandates that the United States Census Bureau conducts a nationwide census every 10 years. The data from the counts is used by a variety of different government and private entities. Most notably, the data is used to determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives and to guide the distribution of federal funds to local communities.
Why use Census Data?
Census data is a valuable research tool to understand the social and economic make-up of a community. Census data is a key aspect of grant writing and funding applications. It also is a key aspect of public service professions including, social workers, politicians, historians, and more
What Limitations Does Census Data Have?
The census is designed to count all people living in the United States at the time of the census. It is the closest we have to complete demographic and economic data on the U.S. population. However, it is important to note that some segments of the population are usually over-or-under-counted for a variety of reasons, including fear of deportation, less focus on minority communities, or human error.
All definitions from the U.S. Census Bureau Glossary.