United States Census Bureau
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Image:Census Bureau seal.jpg The United States Census Bureau (officially Bureau of the Census) is a part of the United States Department of Commerce. Its mission is defined in the Constitution of the United States, which directs that the population be enumerated at least once every ten years (through the U.S. Census), and each state's number of Federal Representatives in Congress determined accordingly. It also is in charge of collecting statistics about the nation, its people, and economy.
The Census Bureau's legal authority is codified in Title 13 of the United States Code.
Image:US Census regional map.gifSince 1903, the official census-taking organ of the United States government has been the Bureau of the Census. The Bureau is headed by a Director, assisted by a Deputy Director and an Executive Staff composed of the associate directors. The Bureau has 12 regional offices (Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Boston, Denver, New York, Charlotte, Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago, Kansas City and Seattle) with additional processing centers set up temporarily for the decennial censuses.
The sole purpose of the censuses and surveys is to secure general statistical information. Replies are obtained from individuals and establishments only to enable the compilation of such general statistics. The confidentiality of these replies is very important. By law, no one — neither the census takers nor any other Census Bureau employee — is permitted to reveal identifiable information about any person, household, or business.
The bureau recognizes four census regions within the United States, and further organizes them into nine divisions. These regions are groupings of states that subdivide the United States for the presentation of data. They should not be construed as necessarily being thus grouped owing to any geographical, historical, or cultural bonds. The regions are as follows:Image:US Census geographical region map.png
- Region 1 (Northeast)
- Region 2 (Midwest)
- Region 3 (South)
- Region 4 (West)
The data-analysis requirements of the Census bureau had substantial impact on the history of computing. Herman Hollerith built tabulators under contract to the bureau to dramatically speed up the process of analysing the 1890 census, an important step in establishing a market for automated data processing. Hollerith's company later merged with other firms to become computing behemoth IBM.
In the last decade the Census Bureau has begun to rank the states of the Union in qualitative terms based on their quantitative figures so that people can more easily understand the changing dynamics of the country. The goal of this effort is to stir up national pride and understanding along with governmental participation at the state and federal level.
The Census Bureau also mantains the "Population Clock", which is a realtime extrapolation of information on population, birth and death to give their approximation of the number of people in the United States and the World.
Reference and external links
- The original version of this article was adapted from U.S. Census Bureau text.
- United States Census Bureau website
- Geographic Areas Reference Manual from the U.S. Census Bureau contains detailed explanations of geographic terms used in the census.
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