The United States Census Bureau asks all residents of the United States to be counted. The census is required by Article 1, Section 2 of the United States Constitution.
The first census began in 1790 a year after the inauguration of President Washington and shortly before the second session of the first Congress ended. Congress assigned responsibility for the 1790 census to the marshals of the U.S. judicial districts. The law required that every household be visited, that completed census schedules be posted in “two of the most public places within [each jurisdiction], there to remain for the inspection of all concerned…” and that “the aggregate amount of each description of persons” for every district be transmitted to the president. (U.S. Census Bureau, History).
Why is the Census important? Census information affects the numbers of seats your state occupies in the U.S. House of Representatives. Individuals, businesses, and states use census data for political, economic and social decision-making. The information the census collects helps to determine how more than $400 billion dollars of federal funding each year is spent on infrastructure and services. For students at SDSU, this means federal dollars for education, research, financial aid, and community services.
Briggs Library Government Documents Department has an extensive Census collection on the lower level of the library dating back to 1790. In addition, current and historical census information can be found on the library’s Government Information Census web page. And for your browsing pleasure, Documents Staff have created a Census 2010 display on the lower level of the library.
Vickie Mix, Documents Librarian