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Census Research: Home

Exploring the United States Census

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How the Census Originated

The primary resource for U.S. Census data is the U.S. Census Bureau: http://www.census.gov/

The Census is mandated in the United States Constitution under Article I, Section 2, as modifed by the 14th Amendment.

Prior to the 14th Amendment, the process of counting citizens of the union was a mathematical formula that counted every five individual untaxed Native Americans and African and African-American slaves to be three persons, skewing the tabulation -- and therefore political and social influence though governmental representation -- to favor European-Americans.

"Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

"The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct."

Section 2 of the 14th Amendment equalized the enumeration process for citizens, regardless of their race.

"Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed."

For information on the history and availability of Census records, Factfinder for the Nation released the following two items:

American Community Survey

The American Community Survey (ACS) is an ongoing survey that provides data every year -- giving communities the current information they need to plan investments and services. Information from the survey generates data that help determine how more than $400 billion in federal and state funds are distributed each year.

Subject Guide

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Niamh McGuigan
Niamh McGuigan
Head of Reference Services
Cudahy Library, 113

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