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The United States Census Bureau (officially Bureau of the Census as defined in Title 13 §11) is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data. The Bureau of the Census is part of the United States Department of Commerce. The agency director is a political appointee selected by the current President.

Legal mandateEdit

The Constitution of the United States directs that the population be enumerated at least once every ten years and the resulting counts used to set the number of members from each state in the House of Representatives and, by extension, in the Electoral College. In addition, Census data directly affects how more than $300 billion per year in federal and state funding is allocated to communities for neighborhood improvements, public health, education, transportation and more. The Census Bureau is mandated with fulfilling these obligations: the collecting of statistics about the nation, its people, and economy. The Census Bureau's legal authority is codified in Title 13 of the United States Code. The first population census taken was in 1790. The Census Bureau now conducts a full population count every 10 years in years ending with a zero and uses the term "decennial" to describe the operation. Between censuses, the Census Bureau makes population estimates and projections.[1]

In addition, the Census Bureau also conducts surveys on behalf of various Federal Government and local government agencies on topics such as employment, crime, health, consumer expenditures, and housing. Within the bureau, these are known as "demographic surveys" and are conducted perpetually between and during decennial population counts. The Census Bureau also conducts economic surveys of manufacturing, retail, service, and other establishments and of domestic governments.

Organizational structureEdit

Since 1903, the official census-taking agency of the United States government has been the Bureau of the Census. The Census Bureau is headed by a Director, assisted by a Deputy Director and an Executive Staff composed of the associate directors.

The Census Bureau headquarters is located in Suitland, Maryland. There are regional offices in 12 cities: Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, Kansas City, Seattle, Charlotte, Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, and Los Angeles. The National Processing Center is located in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Additional temporary processing facilities are used to facilitate the decennial census, which employs more than a million persons. During the years just prior to the decennial census, parallel Census offices, known as "Regional Census Centers" are opened in the 12 field office cities. The decennial operations are carried out expressly from these facilities. The Regional Census Centers will oversee the openings and closings of smaller "Local Census Offices" within their collection jurisdictions.

The Census Bureau also runs the Census Information Center cooperative program that involves 58 "national, regional, and local non-profit organizations." The CIC program aims to represent the interests of underserved communities.[2]

The Census Bureau also maintains Population Radio, a real-time extrapolation of information on population, birth, and death to give their approximation of the number of people in the United States and the world.

Census Bureau in MichiganEdit

The Census Bureau office in Detroit oversees operations in Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia. Michigan is considered part of the "East North Central States" with Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois.


  • The original version of this article was adapted from U.S. Census Bureau text.
  • Geographic Areas Reference Manual from the U.S. Census Bureau contains detailed explanations of geographic terms used in the census.
  • The mission and operation of the U.S. Census Bureau are laid out in Title 13 of the United States Code.[3]


External linksEdit

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