Silver Hill Road
Washington DC 20233
Director: John Thompson
Established in 1903, The Census Bureau
is a division of the US Department of Commerce. The bureau's
mission is to collect general statistical data about America,
its people, and economy.
Following the independence of the United
States, there was an almost immediate need for a census of the
entire nation. The first census was taken in 1790, under the
responsibility of Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. That census,
taken by U.S. marshals on horseback, counted 3.9 million inhabitants.
As the nation grew, it needed statistics
to help people understand what was happening and to plan for
In addition to taking a census of the population
every 10 years, the Census Bureau conducts censuses of economic
activity and state and local governments every five years. And
every year, the Census Bureau conducts more than 100 other surveys.
By issuing surveys to people, households, and business, the Census
Bureau collects and publishes statistical information. It is
extremely important that these surveys remain anonymous. By law,
no one-not even the census takers nor Census Bureau employees-are
allowed to reveal the identities of the people, households, or
businesses that have taken their surveys.
In order to assess the country accurately, the Census Bureau
divides the United States into four census regions-Northeast,
Midwest, South, and West. Then, these four regions are further
organized into nine divisions.
The Census Bureau employs nearly 12,000 people with 4,285 at headquarters. The workforce expands dramatically when the census is taken every 10 years. About 1.4 million temporary workers are expected to be hired for Census 2010.
The Census Bureau has 12 regional offices located in Atlanta,
Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Kansas City,
Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and Seattle. Additional
processing centers are set up temporarily in other cities around
the United States.
John Thompson became the 24th director of the U.S. Census Bureau on August 8, 2013.
Updated October 8, 2015