A census is simply a count of people. Civilizations have been conducting censuses for thousands of years often in order to keep track of the number of tax paying citizens.
In the United States, the U.S. Constitution requires that a census be conducted every 10 years to determine the proper number U.S. House Representatives for each state (and other things such as electoral college votes, funding for government programs, etc.). As you recall, each state is entitled to at least one U.S. House Representative regardless of the state’s population, and every state also has two Senators. Therefore, each state is entitled to a minimum of three (3) total representatives in Congress – one for the House and two for the Senate. However, most states have more than one House representative. California currently has the most House Representatives with 53.
The next U.S. census is in 2010, and every U.S. citizen is required by law to participate. There will be some interesting changes in the upcoming census, including the use of GPS devices by U.S. census canvassers to better collect information.
In this article, we go over a brief census history, the law that requires a census, how the 2010 census will work, what information you’ll need to provide for the census, and some interesting statistics.
Next, we’ll go over a brief census history.