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230 Years and Counting

230 Years and Counting

How does the 2020 Census compare to the 1790 count?

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Milestone

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1790 Census

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This was the first United States census.

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2020 Census

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This is the first census with the option for households in the U.S. to respond online, by phone, or by mail.

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Area Counted

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1790 Census

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The original 13 states; the districts of Kentucky, Maine, and Vermont; and the Southwest Territory (Tennessee).

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2020 Census

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The 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands).

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Conducting the Count

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1790 Census

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By horseback and on foot, approximately 650 U.S. marshals and assistants recorded answers on forms made of parchment and animal skins.

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2020 Census

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Households can now respond online, by phone, or by mail. Hundreds of thousands of temporary census takers will use smartphones to follow up with households that don't respond.

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Leading the Effort

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1790 Census

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Thomas Jefferson,
Secretary of State.

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2020 Census

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Steven Dillingham,
Census Bureau Director.

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Census Day

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1790 Census

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August 2, 1790.

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2020 Census

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April 1, 2020.

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Representatives in Congress

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1790 Census

65
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This number would increase to 105 based on the results of the 1790 Census.

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2020 Census

435
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The total number of representatives was set by the Apportionment Act of 1929; the current Congress includes record numbers of women and minority representatives.

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In the News

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1790 Census

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President George Washington delivered the country's first State of the Union address in January.

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2020 Census

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More than 500 U.S. athletes are expected to compete in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

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Tunes of the Times

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1790 Census

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The country's first singing contest was held between choirs from Dorchester and Stoughton, Massachusetts.

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2020 Census

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Alicia Keys hosted the 62nd annual Grammy Awards in January.

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Did You Know?

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1790 Census

31254
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109,826. That was the combined population of the country's five largest cities: New York City (33,131 people); Philadelphia (28,522); Boston (18,320); Charleston, South Carolina (16,359); and Baltimore (13,503).

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2020 Census

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107,601. That is the attendance capacity at the largest college football stadium in the United States—Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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U.S. Population

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1790 Census

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3,929,214.

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2020 Census

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Coming soon! Complete the census to make sure you're counted!


Hall, R. (2014, November 8). The Stoughton Musical Society Wins America's First-Ever Singing Contest in 1790. Retrieved from http://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/old-stoughton-musical-society-wins-americas-first-ever-singing-contest/.

Michigan Stadium. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://mgoblue.com/sports/2017/6/16/facilities-michigan-stadium-html.aspx.

Team USA. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.teamusa.org/.

For more information about the history of the U.S. Census, visit census.gov/history.

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