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4. The United States was the first country in the world to make a census a mandatory part of its constitution. Article 1, Section 2 of the US Constitution mandates that a census must be done every ten years and that representatives of Congress and direct taxes “shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this union, according to their respective numbers”.


5. There is a lot riding on the US Census Bureau getting an accurate count of the population. The US Supreme Court has ruled that federal funds and Congressional representation must be based on the actual count of individuals within a district and not on any kind of statistical sampling technique that attempts to estimate the number of underreported people. Originally, there were 65 members in the US House of Representatives. This number grew to 106 members after the 1790 census showed the nation had grown to 4 million people. The number of members in the House of Representatives continued to grow until 1911 (after the results of the 1910 census were released), at which point the size of Congress waspermanently capped at 435 representatives. Thus, areas of the nation that undercount people will not only lose federal funds but will also have less proportional representation.


6. All households received the same questionnaire for the 2010 census (there will no longer be both a short form and a long form). The 2010 census recorded the name, gender, date of birth, ethnicity, race and relationship of everyone in the household. By comparison, the first census in 1790 asked for the name of the head of the household, number of people in the household and the gender and skin colors of everyone else (servants and slaves) who lived in the household. A separate question asked for the number of free white males over the age of 16 living at the address. These numbers were collected separately to gauge the number of young men that could be drafted for war or who were available to work in industrial jobs. The ensure compliance, the first US census was conducted by Federal marshals. Slaves were only counted as 3/5 of a person and American Indians were deliberately not counted at all.

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