Introducing a new way to navigate by topics. Access the latest news, data, publications and more around topics of interest.
Our population statistics cover age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, migration, ancestry, language use, veterans, as well as population estimates and projections.
This section provides information on a range of educational topics, from educational attainment and school enrollment to school districts, costs and financing.
We measure the state of the nations workforce, including employment and unemployment levels, weeks and hours worked, occupations, and commuting.
Our statistics highlight trends in household and family composition, describe characteristics of the residents of housing units, and show how they are related.
Health statistics on insurance coverage, disability, fertility and other health issues are increasingly important in measuring the nation's overall well-being.
We measure the housing and construction industry, track homeownership rates, and produce statistics on the physical and financial characteristics of our homes.
The U.S. Census Bureau is the official source for U.S. export and import statistics and regulations governing the reporting of exports from the U.S.
The U.S. Census Bureau provides data for the Federal, state and local governments as well as voting, redistricting, apportionment and congressional affairs.
Search an alphabetical index of keywords and phrases to access Census Bureau statistics, publications, products, services, data, and data tools.
Geography provides the framework for Census Bureau survey design, sample selection, data collection, tabulation, and dissemination.
Geography is central to the work of the Bureau, providing the framework for survey design, sample selection, data collection, tabulation, and dissemination.
Find resources on how to use geographic data and products with statistical data, educational blog postings, and presentations.
The Geographic Support System Initiative will integrate improved address coverage, spatial feature updates, and enhanced quality assessment and measurement.
Work with interactive mapping tools from across the Census Bureau.
Find geographic data and products such as Shapefiles, KMLs, TIGERweb, boundary files, geographic relationship files, and reference and thematic maps.
Metropolitan and micropolitan areas are geographic entities used by Federal statistical agencies in collecting, tabulating, and publishing Federal statistics.
Find information about specific partnership programs and learn more about our partnerships with other organizations.
Definitions of geographic terms, why geographic areas are defined, and how the Census Bureau defines geographic areas.
We conduct research on geographic topics such as how to define geographic areas and how geography changes over time.
Visit our library of Census Bureau multimedia files. Collection formats include audio, video, mobile apps, images, and publications.
Official audio files from the Census Bureau, including "Profile America," a daily series of bite-sized statistics, placing current data in a historical context.
Infographics include information on the Census Bureau's history of data collection, our nation's veterans and the American Community Survey.
Read briefs and reports from Census Bureau experts.
Watch Census Bureau vignettes, testimonials, and video files.
Read research analyses from Census Bureau experts.
Access data through products and tools including data visualizations, mobile apps, interactive web apps and other software.
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.
Learn more about our data from this collection of e-tutorials, presentations, webinars and other training materials. Sign up for training sessions.
Explore Census data with interactive visualizations covering a broad range of topics.
Learn how we serve the public as the most reliable source of data about the nation's people and economy.
Information about the U.S. Census Bureau.
Information about what we do at the U.S. Census Bureau.
Our researchers explore innovative ways to conduct surveys, increase respondent participation, reduce costs, and improve accuracy.
Our surveys provide periodic and comprehensive statistics about the nation, critical for government programs, policies, and decisionmaking.
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 U.S. 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.
Profile America is a daily, 60-second feature that uses interesting vignettes for that day to highlight information collected by the Census Bureau.
Find media toolkits, advisories, and all the latest Census news.
See what's coming up in releases and reports.
By 1870, the census had become so extensive, and the population of the United States so large, that Census Office clerks could no longer effectively tabulate results by expensive and inaccurate hand counting. In 1872 Charles W. Seaton, who became chief clerk in 1880 and superintendent of the census for several years thereafter, developed a machine that enabled several tally sheets to be brought close together, making them easier and faster to count. Seaton's device was first used in 1872, for the 1870 census, and then again in 1880. Seaton also invented a matrix printing apparatus for census work. While the Seaton machine was an improvement, the device was not advanced enough to keep up with the flood of data received for the 1880 census; final tabulations for that census did not finish until 1887.
Herman Hollerith, a former Census Office employee himself, invented a much more effective counting machine. His machine used specially encoded punch cards, each representing an individual's census data. The cards were fed into the counting machine, where the punched holes allowed metal pins to complete an electric circuit. When a circuit was completed, the dial for the corresponding trait would go up. Hollerith's device revolutionized census tabulation. The Census Office leased a fleet of the machines for the 1890 census count, which finished months ahead of schedule and far under budget. In 1896, Hollerith founded the Tabulating Machine Company. Almost twenty years later, after several mergers and management changes, this company became the International Business Machines (IBM) Corporation.
After Hollerith raised the rental prices for his machines to an intolerably high level for the 1900 census, the newly formed Census Bureau decided to create replacements in-house. Census Bureau employees, led by James Legrand Powers, developed a new electric tabulation machine. The new device, with an automatic feeder and card sorter, was an improvement over the machines that Hollerith was offering. In 1911, Powers, who held the patent for the machine that he had designed, left the Census Bureau to found the Powers Accounting Machine Company. Powers's enterprise was soon the most successful automatic tabulation company on the market; it later became part of the Remington Rand Corporation in 1927.
The illustration to the right shows one of the 92,000,000 cards used during the tabulation of population returns for the census of 1910. The holes in the four numbered spaces at the left are arbitrary symbols indicating the state and district in which the person to whom the card relates was enumerated; those in the other "fields" describe his characteristics. Thus, the person to whom this card refers resided in enumeration district No. 924 (Maynard, Middlesex County), state of Massachusetts; was a son of the head of the family in which he lived; mulatto; 20 years of age; native born; single; born in Georgia; father born in the United States; mother born in United States; spoke English; was an agricultural laborer; was out of employment on April 15, 1910; was out of employment between 7 and 13 weeks in 1909; could read and write; did not attend school; and was not a veteran of the Civil War.
In the late 1940's, the Census Bureau commissioned the first electronic computer designed for civilian use. Developed by J. Presper Eckert and John W. Mauchly, UNIVAC I marked a major improvement in data processing-it was the dawn of the "computer age." First used to process results from the 1950 decennial census, the machine was able to tabulate 4,000 items per minute, double the amount that electro-mechanical tabulating machines could process.
During the 1950s, the Census Bureau and the National Bureau of Standards developed a system called Film Optical Sensing Device for Input to Computers (FOSDIC), which took census and survey questionnaires that had been photographed onto microfilm, "read" blackened dots opposite the appropriate answers and transferred that data to magnetic tape. These tapes constituted the input for the Census Bureau's computers. One important result of this process was the elimination of most discrepancies in data records sent for processing. First used to process 1960 census results, FOSDIC played an integral part in the Census Bureau's data processing system into the mid-1990s.
Optical character scanners were used to process returned questionnaires for the 2000 census. The scanners recognized hand-written responses, as well as filled-in ovals or boxes. Using complex software, the scanned images were processed and translated into American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII). These responses were then transmitted electronically over secure lines to Census Bureau headquarters for statistical processing and analysis.