A decennial census of the U.S. population has been taken since 1790, as mandated by the U.S. Constitution. The 2010 census was taken starting on April 1, 2010. Census results determine congressional district boundaries, reapportion seats in the House of Representatives, and affect the distribution of federal and state funds.
The American Community Survey (ACS) is an ongoing survey that provides data every year -- giving communities the current information they need to plan investments and services. Information from the survey generates data that help determine how more than $400 billion in federal and state funds are distributed each year. All ACS data are estimates.
The Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program (PEP) produces estimates of the population for the United States, its states, counties, cities, and towns, as well as for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and its municipios. Demographic components of population change (births, deaths, and migration) are produced at the national, state, and county levels of geography. Additionally, housing unit estimates are produced for the nation, states, and counties.
QUICK LINKS & RECOMMENDED CENSUS DATA LINKS
Decennial Census 1790-1990
The U.S. Decennial Census has been taken every 10 years since 1790. The Library has all the printed statistical reports from the Decennial Census. We do not have the enumeration census schedules (schedules that include the names and personal data of persons who filled out the forms).
Look for printed reports in the Shields Library main book stacks.
Call numbers for the population census reports are similar in that the date of the census is incorporated into the call number. Report titles, number of volumes, and call numbers vary.
Basic population data volumes are online from the Census Bureau: Census of Population and Housing Decennial Census Data 1790 to 2010
Guide to Print volumes in Shields Library:
Bureau of the Census catalog of publications, 1790-1972, with classification numbers. Shields Library Humanities/Social Sciences Reference Z7554.U5 U6 1974. Also known as "Dubester" for the editor: Henry J. Dubester. The catalog includes Library of Congress Classification numbers for each volume, and our print volumes will usually use the same classification number. This is a complete list of everything published by Census during this time period. Online version is from Hathitrust.
Print Volumes in Shields:
HA201. 1790 A1. Return of the whole number of persons within the several districts of the United States,according to "An Act providing for the enumeration of the inhabitants of the United States;" passed March the first, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one [i.e. 1790]. (online pdf)
HA201. 1800 A1. Return of the whole number of persons within the several districts of the United States, according to "An act providing for the second census or enumeration of the inhabitants of the United States," passed February the 28th, one thousand eight hundred. (online pdf)
HA201. 1810. A4. Aggregate amount of each description of persons within the United States of America, and the territories thereof, agreeably to actual enumeration made according to law, in the year 1810 (online pdf)
HA201. 1820. A4. Census for 1820 :published by authority of an act of Congress, under the direction of the Secretary of State
HA201. 1830 etc. Fifth census or enumeration of the inhabitants of the United States, 1830
Census volumes through 1990 closely continue this numbering system through 1990 Census reports, eg., HA202. 1840, HA201. 1850, etc.
See the Census catalog for complete list of all printed reports.
More Online sources of Historial Census data:
Selected Historical Decennial Census Population and Housing Counts from the Census Bureau
Historical Census Browser - from the University of Virginia Geospatial and Statistical Data Center
Mapusa - Map USA provides maps and census data at the tract and county level from 1940 to 2000. It is a project designed and hosted at Brown University. 2010 data has also been added.
Other source of Census Data:
ICPSR - Census data - ICPSR also has microdata and aggregate data for many files
2000 Census statistical reports are available in print, and on CD/DVD. 2000 data is also available online.
Census Records from NARA
Census Schedule data is the individual respondent's answers to the questions asked. Under U.S. privacy laws, seventy-two years must elapse before census data on individual persons can be released, and thirty years before census data on individual businesses can be released. The information for previous censuses is typically available on microfilm although digital versions may also found.
The California State Library has many of the microfilm reels of the Census Schedules. For information, consult their page here:
UC Davis Library does not have the Census Schedule data.
The National Archives and Records Service has guides and indexes to Census Records. Microfilmed older census schedules may be purchased or borrowed; Census microfilm catalogs help identify the appropriate microfilm reels.