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Census History

The first census took place in 1790 to determine the number of seats each state would have in the U.S. House of Representatives. The census was also created to gain a better understanding of where people lived and to establish patterns of settlement as the nation grew.

The Census Bureau was established in 1902. Today, in addition to administering the census of population and housing, the Census Bureau conducts more than 200 annual surveys, including the American Community Survey, the Current Population Survey and economic censuses every five years.