Since 1790, the Census has been taken every ten years in the United States, in accordance with the mandate set in the United States Constitution, specifically Article 1, Section 2. Data collected from the decennial census help determine the number of seats each state has in the United States House of Representatives. Decennial census data are also critical in enabling policymakers, legislators, businesspeople, researchers and others to make decisions and provide services and support for the community. Fund distribution from federal spending programs, such as Federal Pell Grant programs, are based on the results of decennial census data.
This year, Census Day is April 1, 2020 (no fooling). Around mid-March, a mailing from the U.S. Census Bureau will be sent out to be completed online, by mail, or by phone. The census is based on where one has been living most of the time as of Census Day. For Ursinus College students who live in residence halls and college-owned student housing, the census count will be administered by Ursinus College’s Residence Life Office. More details about Census 2020 can be found on the United States Census Bureau’s website.
Myrin Library’s collections include Census data materials and other publications about the Census suitable for research. Publications from the decennial censuses covering the period 1980-2010 are located in the 300’s section on Myrin Library’s 2nd Floor, using the subject heading “census data”. Publications of other censuses from previous years can be found on the United States Census Bureau’s website here, as well as on HathiTrust Digital Library. The Statistical Abstract of the United States is a great source of statistical tables from the United States Census Bureau as well as other governmental agencies, and Myrin Library has a full run of The Statistical Abstracts of the United States in print from 1960 to the present. The United States Census Bureau’s Statistical Abstracts of the United States website has issues dating back to 1879. Data from censuses can be searched on data.census.gov, as well as the database: ICPSR: Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (only available to Ursinus students, faculty and staff).
Your count matters this year! Contact Kerry Gibson, Collection Management Librarian, if you are seeking more information about Census 2020, or for assistance in finding Census data for research.