As mandated by the U.S. Constitution, America gets just one chance each decade to count its population. The U.S. Census counts every resident in the United States. It is mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution and takes place every 10 years. The data collected by the decennial census determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives (a process called apportionment) and is also used to distribute billions in federal funds to local communities.
The next Census in 2020 will require counting an increasingly diverse and growing population of around 330 million people in more than 140 million housing units. To get an accurate count, the Census Bureau must build an accurate address list of every housing unit, maximize self-response to the census, and efficiently follow up with those who do not respond.
Thursday April 1, 2010 was Census Day. Census 2010 was much different from previous censuses as Congress mandated that only data required for the reapportionment of congressional districts be collected. In-fact, the 2010 census form was the shortest since the first census in 1790.
The 2010 Census questionnaire consisted of only ten questions, asking for the name, gender, age, birth date, race and ethnicity of each person in the household. The remaining questions ask about housing tenure. Every household in the United States and U.S. Territory was polled on Census Day.
Census 2010 was a “Mail-out, Mail-back” operation. Each housing unit was mailed a census form in mid to late March 2010. Response rate in previous censuses has been about 65% by mail, so census enumerators were sent to non-responding households. The goal is to count every person living in the country.
Census information is considered the gold standard for population counts and the information is used to not only apportion congressional districts but also allocate trillions of dollars based on population. California, the most populated state in the nation, will get over 4.3 trillion dollars over the next ten years based on population along.
For further information please email Peter Smith, or call (661) 635-2900.
Year 2000 population and housing summaries are from the 2000 Census of Population and Housing. Estimates and projections are derived from California Department of Finance official estimates and projections and Kern COG projections.