Census Education Initiative
Supporting the residents of Louisiana, Podcast listeners and Webinar attendees with up-to date, accurate information, trainings and providing allies & decision-makers with a direct link to the unheard voices of our state and region
The U.S. Constitution empowers the Congress to carry out the census in "such manner as they shall by Law direct" (Article I, Section 2). The Founders of our fledgling nation had a bold and ambitious plan to empower the people over their new government. The plan was to count every person living in the newly created United States of America, and to use that count to determine representation in the Congress.
Enshrining this invention in our Constitution marked a turning point in world history. Previously censuses had been used mainly to tax or confiscate property or to conscript youth into military service. The genius of the 'Founders' was taking a tool of government and making it a tool of political empowerment for the governed over their government.
They accomplished that goal in 1790 and our country has every 10 years since then. In 1954, Congress codified earlier census acts and all other statutes authorizing the decennial census as Title 13, U.S. Code. Title 13, U.S. Code, does not specify which subjects or questions are to be included in the decennial census. However, it does require the Census Bureau to notify Congress of general census subjects to be addressed 3 years before the decennial census and the actual questions to be asked 2 years before the decennial census [census.gov]