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Census Facilities

Past Census Facilities

Old Patent Office
Patent Office, 1852
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of the Interior

Prior to the Census Bureau's move to the Suitland Federal Complex in 1942, it was headquartered in a number of buildings. The list below traces the agency's moves since 1790.


In 1790, the capital of the United States was New York City, NY. A modest headquarters to conduct the first census was located on Broadway.


The U.S. government moved to Washington in 1800 from Philadelphia, PA. The Census Bureau headquarters moved from Philadelphia to Washington, occupying offices in the State Department Building, located on 15th Street, NW. The address is now occupied by the north wing of the Treasury Building.

Patent Office
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Patent Office, ca. 1905


According to the Washington, DC, city directory, the headquarters for the 1850 census occupied space on the west side of 8th Street, NW, between E and F Streets.


The Census Bureau's headquarters was located on 7th and F Streets, NW, in the Patent Office. This Greek Revival building now houses the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery and the National Collection of Fine Arts.

Patent Office
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Building that housed the
Census Office, 1876


For the 1870 census, Superintendent of the Census, Joseph C.G. Kennedy's office was located in Room 38 of the Patent Office. In 1876, Census Bureau headquarters is listed as being located in room 20 of "Wright's Building" at the corner of G and 8th Streets, NW. By 1878, headquarters is recorded as having moved again to the Patent Office Building (room 174).


Census staff, supervised by Superintendent Francis Amasa Walker, were located at the National Republican Office, on the southwest corner of 13th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. In 1883, headquarters moved to 509 7th Street (known as the Second National Bank building). In 1885, it moved to 1214 F Street, NW.

Emery Building
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Emery Building, 1930s


Headquarters and staff for the 1890 census were located in several buildings. They were first located on 3rd and G Streets, NW, and by 1895, at a building designed by architect J.L. Smithmeyer and later known as the Inter-Ocean Building.


By the 1900 census, offices had moved from the Globe Building to the Emery Building on 1st and B Streets, NW. During the 1900 census operations, an annex was located at the Smith Building on 1st Street, between B and C Streets, NW.

Old Commerce Building
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Commerce and Labor Building at 19th
and Pennsylvania Ave., ca. 1909


Census Bureau offices moved to the Departments of Commerce and Labor Building on 19th Steet and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. Additional staff were housed in "Temporary D Building." This temporary building constructed to house war offices during World War I was located "on the Mall," on 4 1/2 Street and Missouri Avenue, NW.

Patent Office
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Temporary buildings along the National
Mall housed census offices, ca. 1918


Census Bureau staff remain at "Temporary D Building."


The Census Bureau is recorded as occupying Temporary D Building; however, the address is listed as 6th Street and Missouri Avenue, NW.

Herbert Hoover Building
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Department of Commerce,
ca. 1935


Census Bureau headquarters was located in the Commerce Department building on 14th Street and Constitution Avenue (now the Herbert C. Hoover Building). Also, additional staff were housed at the Census Annex on 1724 F Street, NW (1935–1936); Census Annex on 1st and M Streets, NE (1940); the Census Building on 2nd and D Streets, SW (1941–1942); and the City Club building on 1330 G Street, NW (1942).

Census Building at Virginia Avenue
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Census Bureau employees going to work
on Virginia Avenue, SW and D Street, SW


Anticipating that this will be its permanent home, the Census Bureau moves to a new headquarters located on Virginia Avenue and D Street, SW.

Patent Office
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Federal Office Building #3, with
Building #4 in the background (left),
ca. 1980


In 1942, the Census Bureau moved to Federal Office Building #3, in Suitland, MD. Offices expanded to Federal Office Building #4 upon its completion in 1948. In the 1990s offices also moved into Federal Office Building #2 (vacated by the Office of Naval Intelligence), located on the Suitland Federal Complex. Additional Census Bureau offices were located in satellite facilities in Suitland and Upper Marlboro, MD.

Census Bureau Headquarters
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The new Census Bureau headquarters
opened in August 2007


The Census Bureau's new building officially opened on August 7, 2006, when employees of the Geography Division moved in to their offices. The building is a state-of-the-art workplace that won the General Services Adminstration's Design Excellence Award and has achieved a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver rating.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Census History Staff | Last Revised: December 08, 2021