About the Census

What is the Census?

The U.S. Census Bureau conducts a count of every person living in the United States every 10 years, mandated by the U.S. Constitution in Article 1, Section 2.  The data collected by the decennial census determines the number of seats Maryland has in the U.S. House of Representatives and is also used to distribute billions in federal funds to its local communities.
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The law requires the Census Bureau to keep all information confidential and use it only to
produce statistics.

Why a Census?

The data collected by the census is important information for decision making.

Distribution of Federal Funds: The distribution of billions of dollars in federal funds and well as the allocation of state and local funds are based on formulas that depend on population counts and socioeconomic measures (e.g. poverty and income) per Marylander over the course of the decade. A good count assures Marylanders of their fair share of funding for important and life-saving programs.

Government and Community Programs and Services: The decennial census provides key data to support decisions on where investments need to be made for transportation, schools, healthcare, job training, housing, daycare and public safety, among others.

Business Investment Decisions: Businesses rely on decennial census data to supply the detailed descriptions of communities and places needed to make site location, marketing, service delivery and advertising decisions. Census data helps business owners know what Marylanders want and need in the way of goods and services within their communities.

Reapportionment and Redistricting: Census results are the foundation for Maryland’s political representation and the redrawing of political districts (congressional, state legislative and councilmanic) based on equal numbers of persons per district. The quality (completeness and accuracy) of census data directly impacts this fundamental foundation of our democracy.


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