Be counted

Article I, Section 2 of the US Constitution requires the United States Government to take a census of the population every ten years. It must count every person. That includes people of all ages, races, ethnic groups, citizens, and noncitizens residing in the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau sends out forms to every residential address in the nation.

The American people : Census 2000
Reynolds Farley and John Haaga, editors.
New York : Russell Sage Foundation, c2005.
  1. Includes bibliographical references and index.
  2. Politics and science in census taking / Kenneth Prewitt -- Diverging fortunes: trends in poverty and inequality / Sheldon Danziger, Peter Gottschalk -- Women, men, and work / Liana C. Sayer, Philip N. Cohen, Lynne M. Casper -- Gender inequality at work / David A. Cotter, Joan M. Hermsen, Reeve Vanneman -- Cohorts and socioeconomic progress / Dowell Myers -- Marriage and family in a multiracial society / Daniel T. Lichter, Zhenchao Qian -- Trends in the well-being of America's children / William P. O'Hare --
  3. The lives and times of the baby boomers / Mary Elizabeth Hughes, Angela M. O'Rand -- Immigration and a changing America / Mary M. Kritz, Douglas T. Gurak -- Immigration and fading color lines in America / Frank D. Bean ... [et al.] -- Who chooses to choose two? / Sonya M. Tafoya, Hans Johnson, Laura E. Hill -- Latinos and the changing face of America / Rogelio Saenz -- African Americans and the color line / Michael A. Stoll -- A demographic portrait of Asian Americans / Yu Xie, Kimberly A. Goyette.
Industry research using the economic census : how to find it, how to use it
Jennifer C. Boettcher and Leonard M. Gaines.
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2004.
Intended for business researchers, this handbook clarifies the procedures and terminology used by the Census Bureau to conduct the Economic Census every five years, the structure of the SIC and NAICS classification systems, and the format of the different reports produced. Boettcher (reference librarian, Georgetown University) and Gaines (Empire State Development) describe the Census of Agriculture conducted by the National Agricultural Statistical Service, illustrate how to access the data collected on the transportation, manufacturing, wholesale trade and retail trade sectors, and provide a sample questionnaire. Annotation 2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Manufacturing and mining. Numerical list of manufactured and mineral products.
Washington, DC : U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau : For sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. G.P.O., [2004]
  1. "Economic census, 2002"--Cover.
  2. "Issued April 2004."
  3. Chiefly tables.
  4. Shipping list no.: 2004-0155-P.
  5. Also available via Internet from the Census Bureau Web site. Address as of 06/26/04:; current access is available via PURL.

A household will receive one of the two types of forms. The most common is the short form. It collects basic information about people in the home such as the number of people, their name, age, sex and race. About one in six households will receive the long form, which was replaced by the American Community Survey. It may ask questions about the type of building of the address, vehicles driven, schools attended, and jobs held.

A complete and accurate count will:

  • Determine the number of seats each state holds in the US House of Representatives
  • Help local governments distribute federal funding
  • Let community planners know where facilities are needed
  • Be used by businesses to determine locations for new commercial projects

Individual census records are sealed for 72 years. This is to protect ones' privacy by prohibiting the release of personal information during ones' lifetime.

Your responses are confidential and are protected by Title 13 of the US Code, the Privacy Act of 1974 and 92 Stat. 915; Public Law 95-416; October 5, 1978. These provide individuals with rights pertaining to access information, restricts the type of data that can be collected and limits which information can be disclosed.

After answering the questions just mail the form back in the postage-paid envelope that is provided.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff