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Factfinder for the Nation: Energy and Related Statistics

Report Number CFF No. 20 (Rev.)


The Bureau of the Census collects a number of statistics that relate to the production and consumption of energy. Some either directly or indirectly reflect environmental concerns and conservation measures in the United States. These figures come from periodic censuses and current surveys in two broad areas – demographic and economic.

The demographic data cover population and housing, for which the Bureau carries out a census at 10-year intervals in years ending in “0,” as well as a variety of monthly, quarterly, and annual surveys. The first decennial census was taken in 1790 as specified in the United States Constitution, Article I, section 2. The economic censuses trace their beginnings to the 1810 Decennial Census, which included questions on manufactures with those for population. By law (Title 13, United States Code), response to census inquiries is mandatory. The periodic surveys fall under the same authority, but response to those conducted more often than once yearly is voluntary. The results usually are presented in summary form. (The Bureau makes certain that no person, household, or individual firm’s operations can be identified from the figures in its published products. Violators of the law’s confidentiality provisions face heavy penalties.)

The economic subjects, in addition to manufactures, now include wholesale and retail trade; mineral, construction, and service industries; and transportation. Censuses from this group take place every 5 years for years ending in “2” and “7,” and, again, there are a number of intercensal surveys. Within each economic category, an establishment or firm is assigned a standard industrial classification (SIC) based upon its primary activity or the principal product or group of products it distributes.

Related subjects include governments and agriculture (census statistics for years ending in “2” and “7” plus periodic survey data), and foreign trade. The Bureau collects foreign trade statistics monthly and publishes them either monthly, quarterly, or annually. Foreign trade data are authorized by the Foreign Trade Statistics Regulation, Title 15, Part 30, Code of Federal Regulations (following ch. 9 of Title 13 of the U.S. Code).

Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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