Introducing a new way to navigate by topics. Access the latest news, data, publications and more around topics of interest.
Our population statistics cover age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, migration, ancestry, language use, veterans, as well as population estimates and projections.
This section provides information on a range of educational topics, from educational attainment and school enrollment to school districts, costs and financing.
We measure the state of the nations workforce, including employment and unemployment levels, weeks and hours worked, occupations, and commuting.
Our statistics highlight trends in household and family composition, describe characteristics of the residents of housing units, and show how they are related.
Health statistics on insurance coverage, disability, fertility and other health issues are increasingly important in measuring the nation's overall well-being.
We measure the housing and construction industry, track homeownership rates, and produce statistics on the physical and financial characteristics of our homes.
The U.S. Census Bureau is the official source for U.S. export and import statistics and regulations governing the reporting of exports from the U.S.
The U.S. Census Bureau provides data for the Federal, state and local governments as well as voting, redistricting, apportionment and congressional affairs.
Search an alphabetical index of keywords and phrases to access Census Bureau statistics, publications, products, services, data, and data tools.
Geography provides the framework for Census Bureau survey design, sample selection, data collection, tabulation, and dissemination.
Geography is central to the work of the Bureau, providing the framework for survey design, sample selection, data collection, tabulation, and dissemination.
Find resources on how to use geographic data and products with statistical data, educational blog postings, and presentations.
The Geographic Support System Initiative will integrate improved address coverage, spatial feature updates, and enhanced quality assessment and measurement.
Work with interactive mapping tools from across the Census Bureau.
Find geographic data and products such as Shapefiles, KMLs, TIGERweb, boundary files, geographic relationship files, and reference and thematic maps.
Metropolitan and micropolitan areas are geographic entities used by Federal statistical agencies in collecting, tabulating, and publishing Federal statistics.
Find information about specific partnership programs and learn more about our partnerships with other organizations.
Definitions of geographic terms, why geographic areas are defined, and how the Census Bureau defines geographic areas.
We conduct research on geographic topics such as how to define geographic areas and how geography changes over time.
Visit our library of Census Bureau multimedia files. Collection formats include audio, video, mobile apps, images, and publications.
Collection of audio features and sound bites.
The Census Bureau packages data and information into easy-to-understand visuals.
Browse Census Bureau images.
Read briefs and reports from Census Bureau experts.
Watch Census Bureau vignettes, testimonials, and video files.
Read research analyses from Census Bureau experts.
Access data through products and tools including data visualizations, mobile apps, interactive web apps and other software.
Developer portal to access services and documentation for the Census Bureau's APIs.
Explore Census Bureau data on your mobile device with interactive tools.
Find a multitude of DVDs, CDs and publications in print by topic.
These external sites provide more data.
Download extraction tools to help you get the in-depth data you need.
Learn more about our data from this collection of e-tutorials, presentations, webinars and other training materials. Sign up for training sessions.
Explore Census data with interactive visualizations covering a broad range of topics.
Learn how we serve the public as the most reliable source of data about the nation's people and economy.
How we provide the best mix of timeliness, relevancy, quality, and cost for the data we collect.
Our researchers explore innovative ways to conduct surveys, increase respondent participation, reduce costs, and improve accuracy.
Our surveys provide periodic and comprehensive statistics about the nation, critical for government programs, policies, and decisionmaking.
Learn about other opportunities to collaborate with us.
Explore the rich historical background of an organization with roots almost as old as the nation.
Explore prospective positions available at the Census Bureau.
Explore Census programs targeted for particular needs.
Discover the latest in Census Bureau data releases, reports, and events.
The Census Bureau's Director writes on how we measure America's people, places and economy.
Find interesting and quirky statistics regarding national celebrations and major events.
Listen to audio files on fun facts, historical figures, and celebrations of the month.
Find media toolkits, advisories, and all the latest Census news.
See what's coming up in releases and reports.
Census Bureau statistics on governments are designed to account for the totality of public sector activity without omission or duplication. Governmental services in the U.S. are provided through a complex structure made up of numerous public bodies and agencies. In addition to the federal government and the 50 state governments, the Census Bureau recognizes five basic types of local governments. Of these five types, three are general-purpose governments:
The other two types are special-purpose governments:
County, municipal, and township governments are readily recognized and generally present no serious problem of classification. However, legislative provisions for school district and special district governments are diverse. Numerous single-function and multiple-function districts, authorities, commissions, boards, and other entities, which have varying degrees of autonomy, exist in the United States. The basic pattern of these entities varies widely from state to state. Moreover, various classes of local governments within a particular state also differ in their characteristics.
A government is an organized entity that, in addition to having governmental character, has sufficient discretion in the management of its own affairs to distinguish it as separate from the administrative structure of any other governmental unit.
To be counted as a government, any entity must possess all three of the attributes reflected in the above definition:
Evidence of this attribute is provided by the presence of some form of organization and the possession of some corporate powers, such as perpetual succession, the right to sue and be sued, have a name, make contracts, acquire and dispose of property.
Designation of a class of governments in law such as "municipal corporations," "public corporations," "bodies corporate and politic," indicates that such units are organized entities. On the other hand, some entities not so specifically stated by law to be corporations do have sufficient powers to be counted as governments.
The mere right to exist is not sufficient. Where a former government has ceased to operate – i.e., receives no revenue, conducts no activities, and has no officers at present – it is not counted as an active government.
This characteristic is indicated where officers of the entity are popularly elected or are appointed by public officials. A high degree of responsibility to the public, demonstrated by requirements for public reporting or for accessibility of records to public inspection, is also taken as critical evidence of governmental character.
Governmental character is attributed to any entities having power to levy property taxes, power to issue debt-paying interest exempt from federal taxation, or responsibility for performing a function commonly regarded as governmental in nature. However, a lack of these attributes or of evidence about them does not preclude a class of units from being recognized as having governmental character, if it meets the indicated requirements as to officers or public accountability. Thus, some special district governments that have no taxing powers and provide electric power or other public utility services also widely rendered privately are counted as local governments because of provisions as to their administration and public accountability.
This requirement is met where, subject to statutory limitations and any supervision of local governments by the state, an entity has considerable fiscal and administrative independence.
Fiscal independence generally derives from power of the entity to determine its budget without review and detailed modification by other local officials or governments, to determine taxes to be levied for its support, to fix and collect charges for its services, or to issue debt without review by another local government.
Administrative independence is closely related to the basis for selection of the governing body of the entity. Accordingly, a public agency is counted as an independent government if it has independent fiscal powers and in addition it has at least one of the following:
An entity must have both fiscal and administrative independence to be considered a government. Therefore, local government agencies having considerable fiscal autonomy may be classified as dependent agencies of another government, where one or more of the following characteristics is present:
Back to How the Data are Collected