National Processing Center (NPC)

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Effect on the Nation

The U.S. Census Bureau plays a vital role in documenting America’s growth as neighborhoods change, babies are born, people move, businesses grow, disasters strike, and landscapes begin to emerge from the skyline. The U.S. Census Bureau helps write the history of our nation by collecting information to produce statistics.

The U.S. Census Bureau provides the official economic, population, and demographic statistics for our nation. Census data provide an accurate picture of our nation today, and are used by decision makers at all levels of government—local, state, and federal—to make decisions about resources that may affect people’s lives for years to come. In addition, Census data are used to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The NPC is the main data processing center for the U.S. Census Bureau. This means that virtually all Census surveys that are completed are returned to the NPC for data capture. However, the NPC does not just capture the data. When the Census Bureau conducts a survey, the forms are mailed out to respondents from the NPC. At some point, the forms are returned to the NPC where they are checked in and the information is then keyed and scanned into the data capture system.

Once the forms are analyzed to ensure the data have been accurately recorded, the data are sent on to headquarters. After this process is complete, the Census Bureau issues reports to the nation about its findings. Behind every statistic is thousands of hours of work to design questions, design surveys, collect the data, and analyze it. Virtually every number—every statistic—published or quoted by the U.S. Census Bureau is based on work that occurs (starts and ends) in the National Processing Center.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau  |  National Processing Center  |  Last Revised: April 16, 2010