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The Census


What is a Census?
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US Census Results

The most populous states in the USA are:
1. California
2. Texas
3. New York
4. Florida
5. Illinois
6. Pennsylvania
7. Ohio
8. Michigan
9. New Jersey
10. Georgia
11. North Carolina
12. Virginia
A census is an official count of the number of people in a region. The survey is done by a government, usually periodically.

Censuses have been taken by governments for thousands of years. The name census is from the Latin word censere, which means "to assess." The census was done in ancient Rome in order to keep track of men for military service and to aid in tax collection.

The US Census
The US census has been taken every 10 years since 1790 (in years ending in zero); this as mandated by the US Constitution. It is a massive survey that is done to determine how many people live in the country, where they live, and other important socio-economic information.

The population figures from the census are used to determine how many members of the US House of Representatives represent an area, and to allocate federal funding for local programs. Locations with more people get more representatives in Congress, and places with more people may get more government funding for projects.

Questionnaires are sent to every household in the country. The census asks questions about the number of people living in each house, their gender, age, and ethnicity, and how the people in that household are related to one another. Randomly-selected people are also asked more in-depth questions, including information about the type of home they live in, number of bedrooms, plumbing availability, fuel costs, rent/mortgage costs, education, citizenship, disabilities, number of cars, occupation, employer, work hours, income, transportation used, and other data.

Response to the census is required by law. The information is confidential, but is released to the public after 72 years. Many people use old census information to help trace their ancestors.

Printable Activity:
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Census:
Printable Read-and-Answer Worksheet

A printable worksheet on the census, with a short text to read, a map to color, and questions to answer. Or go to the answers. Or go to a pdf file with the worksheet and the answers.


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