Census 2020 icon

230 Years and Counting: The United States Census

March 2020

This month’s display features the US census. Census day 2020 is April 1. The census counts everyone living in the United States, District of Columbia and five US territories. The census is mandated by the Constitution and has been going on since 1790. 

Center case 2020 census guides

The center case features items used to promote the 2020 census. There are also a couple of pages from the sample questionnaire. The 2020 census will be done online, by phone and by mail. The census provides data used by businesses, lawmakers, teachers and others to provide services.  It is also used to determine the number of representatives in Congress.

Left case census reports

The left case highlights some of the many reports which come from the census. They allow us to get an accurate measure of US business and agriculture. The American Community Survey is the latest method used to provide a snapshot of life in the United States: it is an ongoing survey which provides vital information to local governments in planning essential services.


Right case census in schools

The right case features Census in Schools. The US Census helps provide data for effective funding for students including those with disabilities and those living in poverty. Children under five are often among the undercounted population and the 2020 census wants to insure these children are correctly counted.

Susan B. Anthony in 1850 Rochester, NY censusAround the elevator lobby is an exhibit showing the census’ records used by genealogists. These census records are closed for 72 years to protect confidentiality. The genealogical censuses contain individual’s names and allow us to trace our ancestors through time. These censuses feature people such as Mario Cuomo, Shirley Chishom and Theodore Roosevelt. The image at right is a census from Rochester, NY in 1850 featuring a signature from Susan B. Anthony. There is also a section on the New York State census, which was taken in the years between the federal census.


count every child 2020 census icon

Exhibit curated by Stephanie Barrett

Last Updated: March 6, 2020