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Contact: Virginia Hyer
Public Information Office
The U.S. Census Bureau launched a new, interactive and redesigned census.gov website today as it celebrates 20 years on the Web. In 1994, the Census Bureau was among the first government agencies to create a public website, and the newest version offers many updated features to make finding and exploring statistics on America's people, places and economy easier for the nearly 5 million visitors who traffic the site every month.
"Our goal has always been to democratize the statistics we produce &mdas; to put them directly in the hands of the American people to make decisions based on accurate and factual data," Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said. "The tools we use have changed over the years, and this redesigned website is our latest innovation to give statistical information we collect from the people, back to the people."
The new census.gov serves as a front door to the vast amount of statistics the Census Bureau produces on an annual basis. When census.gov first went live in 1994, the information published on the site contained 1990 Census results, which previously would have been released in printed publications. Today, the Census Bureau's site provides billions of statistics from not only the once-a-decade census and every five-year economic census, but also monthly economic statistics and detailed demographic statistics such as those from the American Community Survey.
"The Census Bureau's centuries-old mission reached a turning point 20 years ago as it entered the digital age," Thompson said. "Instead of looking up tables on magnetic tapes and in massive books available only in libraries, you could find the reports online on our site. Today, our new website gives the public 24/7 access to statistics about our ever-growing and changing population and economy with intuitive tools to access them."
The redesigned census.gov provides multiple entry points to data through new topic-based navigation, which centralizes statistical content from numerous surveys around 11 key topics. Additionally, many pages now include links to related content to more easily connect users with similar, relevant information.
The new design incorporates years of customer feedback and metrics showing challenges with navigating and searching the site. The census.gov home page and main topic pages were redesigned to provide improved access to information with featured content and data tools. In the coming months, all of the census.gov site will transition to the new look.
The Census Bureau will upgrade the site's search function in the coming months. The new smart search feature will provide statistics for income, poverty and population along with traditional results, using combinations of keywords and locations. For example, if a user types in "Population of California," the latest population statistics along with links related to California's population will appear.
In addition, business information will be easier to access through the expansion of the smart search function to include NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) codes. This enhancement is one way business leaders can use Census Bureau data to find information essential to their industries.
Over the past 20 years, the Census Bureau's online tools have evolved with changing technology from static maps to interactive maps available both online and on mobile devices, making Census Bureau statistics easier to access than ever before.