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Photo of Employees and Supervisors Processing the 1937 Unemployment Census

The photo of the 1937 unemployment census and the historical background on the use of random sampling of the population on long form questionnaires demonstrates the need for additional data during periods of rapid or ongoing social, economic, and political changes. Legislators quickly realized the value of interim data to fuel the programs that were initiated during the critical years between 1930 and 1940 censuses, but also anticipated some resistance to overcrowding the questionnaires. Random sampling combined with new statistical methods to extrapolate data enabled the Census Bureau to add more specialized surveys to measure demographic, business, and economic trends during critical periods of change.

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