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Population and Housing Inquiries in U.S. Decennial Censuses, 1790-1970

Beginning with their earliest history, the people of the United States have had a keen interest in facts about themselves and about the conditions affecting their lives. Since the first decennial census in 1790, which provided the basis for apportioning the number of representatives in Congress from the various States and for assessing the Nation's growth, the census has been relied upon to furnish the basic data needed for planning on all levels, both in government and in private enterprise.

A Note on Language

Census statistics date back to 1790 and reflect the growth and change of the United States. Past census reports contain some terms that today’s readers may consider obsolete and inappropriate. As part of our goal to be open and transparent with the public, we are improving access to all Census Bureau original publications and statistics, which serve as a guide to the nation's history.


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