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230 Years and Counting: The United States Census

March 2020

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

Center case 2020 census guides

The center case featured items used to promote the 2020 census. There were also a couple of pages from the sample questionnaire. The 2020 census can be completed online, by phone or 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 highlighted some of the many reports which come from the census, including some that 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 featured 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 census

Around the elevator lobby was an exhibit showing the census' records used by genealogists. These census records are closed for 72 years to protect confidentiality. The genealogical censuses contain individuals' names and allow us to trace our ancestors through time. The censuses on exhibit featured 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 was 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: November 2, 2021