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E. H. Butler Library, Buffalo State, The State University of New York

Public Administration : United States Census & American Community Survey

United States Census Definitions 

Ornamental Image of Census Paperwork

Decennial Census:

Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a census to determine the number of people living in the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau conducts the census in years ending in zero, on Census Day, which is April 1.

The data collected by the decennial census are used to apportion the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.  The first U.S. census was in 1790 during the first term of our first president, George Washington. Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson led the effort. The population was 3,929,625, and Congress used these results to apportion 105 seats among 15 states. Additionally, the Census is required by the Constitution.

American Community Survey: 

The American Community Survey (ACS) is an ongoing survey that provides vital information on a yearly basis about our nation and its people. Information from the survey generates data that help determine how more than $675 billion in federal and state funds are distributed each year.

Through the ACS, we know more about jobs and occupations, educational attainment, veterans, whether people own or rent their homes, and other topics. Public officials, planners, and entrepreneurs use this information to assess the past and plan the future. When you respond to the ACS, you are doing your part to help your community plan for hospitals and schools, support school lunch programs, improve emergency services, build bridges, and inform businesses looking to add jobs and expand to new markets, and more.

Demographic & Statistical Databases at E. H. Butler Library

Census Data Tool (data.census.gov)

Census Topics & Links to Data Tools

Census Topics Links

Below is a group of links for each Census information topic

Other Census Data Tools
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Fax: (716) 878-3134
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