Census Bureau

Congressional Apportionment--Why It's Done

Portion of the U.S. Consitition Drafted by the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and subsequently ratified by the states, the U.S. Constitution includes this passage from Article I, Section 2:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers....The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.

Ratified in 1865, Amendment XIV, Section 2, to the Constitution gave additional guidance on conducting the census. The census link to tax collection from the states was rescinded by Amendment XVI (1913). Contemporary guidelines about the decennial census are found in Title 13, U.S. Code (1976).

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