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History

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Demographic FAQs

When did the U.S. Census Bureau begin using statistical sampling?

The Census Bureau first used statistical sampling methods during the 1937 test survey of unemployment (Enumerative Check Census). This survey estimated the scope of unemployment in the United States during the Great Depression and served as a "check" on a more inclusive, voluntary census effort attempting to measure the nation's unemployment rate.

1937 unemployment survey
U.S. Census Bureau Director William Lane Austin reviews returns from the 1937 Survey of Unemployment.

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