U.S. Census & Demographics: Home

Getting Started

American Community Survey

The ACS is a nationwide survey conducted for the purpose of producing a socio-demographic description of the population. The survey is conducted on a continuous basis with reports being released annually. 

Annual 1, 3 & 5 year Period Estimates   (Which to Choose?)
  • are based on a survey conducted over a stretch of time rather than on a point in time
  • with care can be compared to point-in-time data like Decennial Census data
  • when comparing a period estimate to another period estimate:
    only compare estimates with the same time span length and no overlapping years.

Current Population Survey 

The Current Population Survey (CPS) is a monthly survey of about 50,000 households which has been conducted annually for over 50 years. General information about the survey can be found at the Census Bureau's CPS website or ICPSR CPS webpage.The components of the survey are:

Basic Monthly Survey

CPS Supplements

Done on behalf of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, contains data on employment, unemployment and the labor force with  only limited socio-demographic detail.

Topic-specific surveys done annually or less frequently to gather demographic and socio-economic data; the most notable the Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC)

Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a census to determine the number of people living in the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau conducts the census in years ending in zero, on Census Day, which is April 1.

The data collected by the decennial census are used to determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.  The first U.S. census was in 1790 during the first term of our first president, George Washington. Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson led the effort. The population was 3,929,625, and Congress used these results to apportion 105 seats among 15 states.