Why Counting Counts!

What is a Census?

Every ten years the United States government spends a lot of time and money gathering information… about you… about your family… about your friends and their families, and all the other families or individuals who live in the 105 million households that are in the United States of America. It wants to know how many people live in your house, how old you are, if you're male or female. It wants to know what race you are… white, black, American Indian, Asian … What it's really looking to find out is, who makes up this great country of ours?

Why do you think our government -- the US Census Bureau to be exact -- sends out millions of census forms to all the households in the US? Why do you think the government cares so much about having this information?

Well, one of the ways it uses the information is to see what areas of the country need what things. If a town has more children living in it than it had ten years ago (when the last census count was taken), this would be a good place to build another school. Or, if workers in a city are spending too much time getting to work (stuck in traffic maybe), this would be a good place to build more roads, or better yet, more public transportation like subways and buses.

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