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Demographic FAQs

When was the first census in the United States?

The first census in the United States took place beginning on August 2, 1790. Although it took months to collect all the data from households, census takers were instructed to collect information as of August 2. For more information, see the 1790 Overview page.

Census Bureau carving
Eight reliefs on the east side of the U.S. Department of Commerce building, carved of limestone by
James Earle Fraser, depict the eight bureaus that fell under the jurisdiction of the Department of
Commerce in 1931. The panels are located between the portals of the north and south driveway
entrances, next to the south portals. Included are the Census Bureau (above), Coast and Geodetic
Survey, the Bureau of Mines, the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, the Bureau of
Navigation, the Bureau of Aeronautics, the Bureau of Steamboat Inspection, and the Patent Office.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Census History Staff | Last Revised: December 14, 2023