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U.S. Census: Home

Information on people, households, business, economics, geography and special topics.

Census Rolls

Census Rolls are released after 72 years- you can now access these documents through the National Archives for FREE!

The records for New York will now be indexed and searchable by name. The National Archives is looking for volunteers to help index the rest. If you are interested in helping go to Make History

Did you know...

The U.S. Census information for Montana is available on the first floor? You can check them out- Call number C 3.940-5:P81/V.2/PT.4

Statistical Abstract

What is the Statistical Abstract?

The Statistical Abstract of the United States, published since 1878, is the authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States.

Use the Abstract as a convenient volume for statistical reference, and as a guide to sources of more information both in print and on the Web.

Sources of data include the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, and many other Federal agencies and private organizations.

Historical Statistics of the United States, 1789 - 1945
  PDF - 54.3 MB | ZIP - 54.3 MB

Bicentennial Edition: Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970
  Part 1 - PDF | ZIP - 52.2 MB
  Part 2 - PDF | ZIP - 66.1 MB

Statistical Abstract of the United States

The current Statistical Abstract



Evolution of the Census

About the U.S. Census

The U.S. Census bureau gathers information from a number of surveys.

The Decennial Census takes place every ten years and started in 1790. The survey collects data about households, income, education, homeownership, and more for the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Island Areas.

Decennial Census Maps

Traditionally there were two census forms known as the long form and the short form. Currently the Decennial Census is the short form which asks for basic information. The long form is now used by the American Community Survey.

The American Community Survey (ACS) is an ongoing survey that provides data every year and randomly samples three million addresses. Information from the survey generates data that help determine how more than $400 billion in federal and state funds are distributed each year. Detailed questions are asked about age, sex, race, family/relationship, income. Health insurance, education, veteran status, disabilities, and other information.

There is a similar survey for Puerto Rico.

The Economic Census profiles the U.S. economy every 5 years, from the national to the local level and by detailed industry and business classification.

Most of this information is available through American FactFinder 2.

Agricultural Census
After 1950, the Census of Agriculture was completely separate from the Decennial Census, and is now published every five years, in years ending in "2" and "7."


The U.S. Census website is

The main database for the Census is American Factfinder.

Margins of Error- American Community Survey

When you use American Community Survey (ACS) in any of its 1-, 3-, and 5- year datasets you need to report MOE data for this reason:

In the ACS of 2005-2009 the population given for Muskogee, Oklahoma is NOT 39,614, but 39,614 with a Margin of Error (MOE) of +/- 65. What the Census Bureau says here is that they have a 90% level of confidence that the actual population of Muskogee during the years of the ACS dataset of

2005 - 2009 was actually between 39,614 people /minus/ 65 people through 39,614 people /plus /65 people. What Census does /not/ say is that the population was 39,614. To report it as 39,614 is to report it wrongly.

So to be accurate never regard a MOE as if it wasn't important:the MOE is as important as the basic data, and is actually part of that basic data. Report it correctly as in the Census citation guide that is reprinted here in *How to Choose Census Data* --