Census Act of 1790
On March 1, 1790, Congress passed the Census Act and President George Washington signed it into law. It authorized U.S. Marshals to ask 6 questions at each household for the purpose of collecting population data. It wasn't until 1830 that a pre-designed form was printed and used by census takers; prior to that the paper and form were supplied by each marshal.
On the first Monday in August, 1790, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson supervised the census-taking in the original 13 States, plus the districts of Kentucky, Maine, and Vermont, and the Southwest Territory (Tennessee).
Center of Population
The center of population for the United States is determined after each decennial census.
"The center is determined as the place where an imaginary, flat, weightless and rigid map of the United States would balance perfectly if all residents were of identical weight."--http://2010.census.gov/2010census/data/center-of-population.php
After the 2010 Census the National Mean Center of Population was calculated to be 2.9 miles from Plato, Missouri, an incorporated village of 29 people in Texas Co.
1790 Kent County, Maryland
1840 Upshur County, West Virginia
1890 Decatur County, Indiana
1940 Sullivan County, Indiana
1990 Crawford County, Missouri
NEW! Census Data Visualization Gallery
Weekly the Census Bureau will present a different graphic view of census information, starting with population (decennial census) information and branching out to visualize the variety of statistics gathered by the Bureau.
United States Census Information
In the United States the Census Bureau collects information about people and the economy. Title 13 and Title 26 of the U.S. Code give the Census Bureau authority to gather this information for the purposes of determining the distribution of Congressional seats to states, making decisions about community services, distributing federal funds to local, state, and tribal governments, and to provide a search of confidential records for Social Security, passport, legal and other information needs.
- Population & Housing Census - every 10 years
- Economic Census - every 5 years
- Census of Governments - every 5 years
- American Community Survey - annually
- Surveys -- both Demographic & Economic
- Economic Indicators Economic Indicators Database
International Census Information
Government Information and History Librarian