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History

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Economic FAQs

The United States has measured its economy since the 1810 census when the first questions about manufacturers and the goods they produced were asked at the time U.S. Marshals collected population data. For the first time in 1905, the census of manufactures was taken separately from the population census. In the years that followed, the collection of economic data grew in response to war, economic downturns, and the emergence of new industries.

The questions to the left are a few of those frequently asked about the history of the U.S. Census Bureau's economic data collection programs.

census employees
The amount of economic and demographic data collected by the Census Bureau kept thousands of employees,
like these key punch operators, busy year-round.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Census History Staff | Last Revised: October 21, 2014