Work with interactive mapping tools from across the Census Bureau.
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.
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.
Explore Census data with interactive visualizations covering a broad range of topics.
How we provide the best mix of timeliness, relevancy, quality, and cost for the data we collect.
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.
Information about the current field vacancies available at the U.S. Census Bureau Regional Offices.
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 officials have struggled to quickly and accurately process and tabulate census information since the first enumeration. From the 1790 census until the 1840 census, enumerators (in those days, assistant U.S. Marshals) collected information about the population in household units. Members of households were tallied based on their age, gender, and race. Clerks then hand-counted the tallies on each questionnaire sheet for each demographic category.
In 1850, census forms began collecting information on individuals. As the census form became more complicated, tallying census results became increasingly difficult. Census clerks still tabulated census data by hand, but began using increasingly complicated "tally sheets" to keep track of running totals for both enumeration districts and demographic traits.
In 1872, Chief Clerk of the Census Charles Seaton invented a simple machine that made tabulating census data easier by keeping the lines on large tallying sheets isolated and organized. The Census Office purchased Seaton's device and used it to finish the 1870 census. Seaton served as superintendent of the 1880 census, during which his device was used again.
Even with the Seaton device, the 1880 census took nearly the entire decade to tabulate and publish. Census data had become too extensive to be effectively counted by hand. Luckily, a technological advancement in data processing was on the horizon.