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Agency History FAQs

Has the census always been conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau?

The Secretary of State oversaw the first censuses. By the mid-19th century, temporary census offices supervised the census as part of the Department of the Interior. In 1902, the Census Bureau became a permanent agency within the Department of Commerce and Labor. In 1913, it became part of the Department of Commerce upon its separate establishment.

Building Tabulators
Since 1913, Census Bureau employees, like these technicians building tabulators in the 1920s
have been part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Census History Staff | Last Revised: March 31, 2014