The Twenty-third United States Census, known as Census 2010 or the 2010 Census, is the current national census of the United States. National Census Day was April 1, 2010 and is the reference date used in enumerating (counting) individuals.[1] The 2010 Census featured a renewed emphasis on getting an accurate count, an emphasis that included the hiring of 635,000 temporary enumerators.[2][3] The population of the United States was counted as 308,745,538.[4] It was a 9.7% increase from the 2000 census. The state with the highest percentage rate of growth was Nevada, while the state with the largest population increase was Texas.[5] Michigan was the only state to lose population (although Puerto Rico, a territory, lost population as well), and the District of Columbia saw its first gain since the 1950s.[6]


As required by the United States Constitution, the U.S. census has been conducted every 10 years since 1790. The 2000 U.S. Census was the previous census completed. Participation in the U.S. Census is required by law in Title 13 of the United States Code.[7]

On January 25, 2010, Census Bureau Director Robert Groves personally inaugurated the 2010 Census enumeration by counting World War II veteran Clifton Jackson, a resident of Noorvik, Alaska.[8] Census forms began to be delivered March 15, 2010. The number of forms mailed out or hand delivered by the Census Bureau was about 134 million.[9] Although the questionnaire used April 1 as the reference date as to where a person was living, an insert dated March 15, 2010 included the following printed in bold type: "Please complete and mail back the enclosed census form today."

As of 2010, the national participation rate was 72%.[10] From April through July 2010, census takers visited households that did not return a form, an operation called "non-response follow-up" (NRFU).

President Obama completing his census form in the Oval Office on March 29, 2010.

In December 2010, the Census Bureau delivered population information to the President for apportionment, and in March 2011, complete redistricting data was delivered to states.[1]

Major changes[]

The Census Bureau did not use a long form for the 2010 Census.[11] In several previous censuses, one in six households received this long form, which asked for detailed social and economic information. The 2010 Census used only a short form asking ten basic questions, including name, sex, age, date of birth, ethnicity, race, and homeownership status.[11] And in contrast to the 2000 census, an Internet response option was not offered, nor was the form available for download.[11][12]

Detailed socioeconomic information collected during past censuses will continue to be collected through the American Community Survey.[12] The survey provides data about communities in the United States on a 1-year or 3-year cycle, depending on the size of the community, rather than once every 10 years. A small percentage of the population on a rotating basis will receive the survey each year, and no household will receive it more than once every five years.[13]

In June 2009, the U.S. Census Bureau announced it would count same-sex married couples. However, the final form did not contain a separate "same-sex married couple" option. When noting the relationship between household members, same-sex couples who are married could mark their spouses as being "Husband or wife", the same response given by opposite-sex married couples. An "unmarried partner" option was available for couples (whether same-sex or opposite-sex) who were not married.[14]


The 2010 census cost $13 billion, approximately $42 per capita; by comparison, the 2010 census per-capita cost for China was about US$1 and for India was US$0.40.[15] Operational costs were $5.4 billion, significantly under the $7 billion budget.[16] In December 2010, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) noted that the census's cost has on average doubled each decade since 1970.[15] In a detailed 2004 report to Congress, the GAO called on the Census Bureau to address cost and design issues, and at that time, had estimated the 2010 Census cost to be only $11 billion.[17]

In August 2010, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced that the census operational costs came in significantly under budget; of an almost $7 billion operational budget:[16]

  • $650 million was saved in the budget for the door-to-door questioning (a.k.a. NRFU) phase because 72 percent of households returned mailed questionnaires;
  • $150 million was saved because of lower-than-planned costs in areas including Alaska and tribal lands; and
  • the $800 million emergency fund ended up not being needed.

Secretary Locke credited the management practices of Census Bureau Director Robert Groves, citing in particular the decision to buy additional advertising in locations where responses lagged, which improved the overall response rate. The agency also has begun to rely more on questioning neighbors or other reliable third parties when a person could not be immediately reached at home, which reduced the cost of follow-up visits. Census data for roughly 22 percent, or more than 1 in 5, of U.S. households that did not reply by mail were based on such outside interviews, Groves said.[16]


In 2005, Lockheed Martin won a six-year, $500 million contract to capture and standardize data for the census. The contract includes systems, facilities, and staffing. Information technology was about a quarter of the projected $11.3 billion cost of the decennial census.[18] This was the first census to use hand-held computing devices with GPS capability, although they were only used for the address canvassing operation. The Census Bureau chose to conduct the primary operation, Non-Response Follow Up (NRFU), without using the handheld computing devices.[19][20]

Marketing and undercounts[]

Due to allegations surrounding the previous censuses that poor people and people of color are routinely undercounted, this time the Census Bureau has tried to avoid that bias by enlisting tens of thousands of intermediaries, such as churches, charities and firms, to explain to people the importance of being counted.[9]

In April 2009, the Census Bureau announced that it intended to work with community organizations in an effort to count all illegal immigrants in the United States for the census.[21]

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) was given a contract to help publicize the importance of the census count and to encourage individuals to fill out their forms. In September 2009, after controversial undercover videos showed four ACORN staffers giving llegal tax advice to a man and woman posing as a pimp and prostitute, ACORN's contract with the Census Bureau was terminated.[22] Various American celebrities like Demi Lovato and Eva Longoria[23] have created public service announcements targeting younger people to fill out census forms. Wilmer Valderrama and Rosario Dawson have helped spread census awareness among young Hispanics, a historically low participating ethnicity in the US Census.[24] Rapper Ludacris has also helped spread awareness of the 2010 Census.[25]

The Census Bureau hired about 635,000 people to try to obtain census information from those living in the US that failed to return their forms; as of May 28, 2010, 113 census workers have been victims of crime while conducting the census.[3] As of June 29, there were 436 incidents involving assaults or threats against enumerators through June more than double the 181 incidents in 2000; one enumerator, attempting to hand-deliver the census forms to a Hawaii County police officer, was arrested for trespassing by the officer's fellow policemen.[2]

Some political conservatives and libertarians have questioned the validity of the questions and even encouraged people to refuse to answer questions for privacy and constitutional reasons.[26] Michele Bachmann, a conservative Republican Congresswoman from Minnesota, has stated she will not fill out her census form other than to indicate the number of people living in her household because "the Constitution doesn't require any information beyond that."[27] Former Republican Representative and Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr feels that the census has become too intrusive, going beyond mere enumeration (i.e., count) intended by the framers of the U.S. Constitution.[28] According to political commentator Juan Williams, "Census participation rates have been declining since 1970, and if conservatives don't participate, doubts about its accuracy and credibility may become fatal."[26]

As a result, the Census Bureau undertook an unprecedented ad campaign targeted at encouraging white political conservatives to fill out their forms, in the hope of avoiding an undercount of this group. The 2010 U.S. Census was the primary sponsor at NASCAR races in Atlanta, Bristol, and Martinsville, and sponsored the #16 Ford Fusion driven by Greg Biffle for part of the season, this was because of a marketing survey that showed that most NASCAR fans lean politically conservative.[26] It also ran a census ad during the Super Bowl, and hired singer Marie Osmond, who is thought to have many conservative fans, to publicize the census.[26]

2012 election[]

The results of the 2010 census determined the number of seats each state receives in the United States House of Representatives starting with the 2012 elections. Consequently, this affected the number of votes each state has in the Electoral College for the 2012 presidential election.

Because of population changes, eighteen states had changes in their number of seats. Eight states gained at least one seat, and ten states lost at least one seat.[29]

Gained four seats Gained two seats Gained one seat Lost one seat Lost two seats
Texas Florida Arizona
South Carolina
New Jersey
New York


Some object to the counting of persons who are in the United States illegally.[30][31] The Republican senators David Vitter and Bob Bennett tried unsuccessfully to add questions on immigration status to the new form.[9]

Organizations such as the Prison Policy Initiative argue that the census counts of incarcerated men and women as residents of prisons, rather than of their pre-incarceration addresses, will skew political clout and result in misleading demographic and population data.[32]

The term "Negro" is used in the questionnaire (Question 9. What is Person (number)'s race? ... Black, African Am., or Negro) as a choice to describe one's race. Census Bureau spokesman Jack Martin stated that, "Many older African-Americans identified themselves that way, and many still do. Those who identify themselves as Negroes need to be included."[33][34] The word was also used in the 2000 Census, with over 56,000 people identifying themselves as "Negro."[35]

The 2010 census contains ten questions about age, gender, ethnicity, home ownership, and household relationships. Six of the ten questions are intended to be answered by each individual in the household. Current federal law has provisions for fining those who refuse to complete the census form.[36]

On March 22, 2011, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing announced at a press conference that the city would formally challenge that Census count of the city.[37] The challenge, being led by the city's planning department, cited an inconsistency as an example showing a downtown census tract which lost only 60 housing unit, but 1,400 people, implying that a downtown jail or dormitory was missed in canvassing.[38]

On March 27, 2011, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the city would file a formal challenge to the Census results, as a result of alleged undercounting in the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn.[39] The mayor has asserted that the numbers for Queens and Brooklyn, the two most populous boroughs, are implausible.[40] According to the Census, they grew by only 0.1% and 1.6%, respectively, while the other boroughs grew by between 3% and 5%. In addition, the Mayor claims, the census showed improbably high amounts of vacant housing in vital neighborhoods such as Jackson Heights, Queens.

The District of Columbia announced in August 2011 that it would also challenge its census results. The mayor's office claims that the detailed information provided for 549 census blocks is "nonsensical". The District government cited examples of census data that show housing units located in the middle of a street that do not actually exist. However, officials do not believe the city's total population will drastically change as a result of the challenge.[41]

Clemons v. Department of Commerce[]

A lawsuit filed in September 2009, Clemons v. Department of Commerce (see also United States congressional apportionment#Controversy and history), sought a court order for Congress to reapportion the House of Representatives with a greater number of members following the census, to rectify under- and over-representation of some states under the so-called 435 rule established by the Apportionment Act of 1911, which limits the number of U.S. Representatives to that number, meaning that some states are slightly underrepresented proportionate to their true population and that others are slightly overrepresented by the same standard. Had this occurred, it would have also affected Electoral College apportionment for the 2012–2020 presidential elections.[42] After the court order was not granted, the plaintiffs appealed the case to the United States Supreme Court, and on December 13, 2010, the Supreme Court vacated and remanded with instructions to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction.[43]

State rankings[]

Population as of
2000 Census
Population as of
2010 Census[44]
1  California 33,871,648 37,253,956 3,382,308 10.0%
2  Texas 20,851,820 25,145,561 4,293,741 20.6%
3  New York 18,976,457 19,378,102 401,645 2.1%
4  Florida 15,982,378 18,801,310 2,818,932 16.6%
5  Illinois 12,419,293 12,830,632 411,339 3.3%
6  Pennsylvania 12,281,054 12,702,379 421,325 3.4%
7  Ohio 11,353,140 11,536,504 183,364 1.6%
8  Michigan 9,938,444 9,883,640 decrease -54,804 −0.6%
9  Georgia 8,186,453 9,687,653 1,501,200 18.3%
10  North Carolina 8,049,313 9,535,483 1,486,170 18.5%
11  New Jersey 8,414,350 8,791,894 377,544 4.5%
12  Virginia 7,078,515 8,001,024 922,509 13.0%
13  Washington 5,894,121 6,724,540 830,419 14.1%
14  Massachusetts 6,349,097 6,547,629 198,532 3.1%
15  Indiana 6,080,485 6,483,802 403,317 6.6%
16  Arizona 5,130,632 6,392,017 1,261,385 24.6%
17  Tennessee 5,689,283 6,346,105 656,822 11.5%
18  Missouri 5,595,211 5,988,927 393,716 7.0%
19  Maryland 5,296,486 5,773,552 477,066 9.0%
20  Wisconsin 5,363,675 5,686,986 323,311 6.0%
21  Minnesota 4,919,479 5,303,925 384,446 7.8%
22  Colorado 4,301,261 5,029,196 727,935 16.9%
23  Alabama 4,447,100 4,779,736 332,636 7.5%
24  South Carolina 4,012,012 4,625,364 613,352 15.3%
25  Louisiana 4,468,976 4,533,372 64,396 1.4%
26  Kentucky 4,041,769 4,339,367 297,598 7.4%
27  Oregon 3,421,399 3,831,074 409,675 12.0%
28  Oklahoma 3,450,654 3,751,351 300,697 8.7%
29  Connecticut 3,405,565 3,574,097 168,532 4.9%
30  Iowa 2,926,324 3,046,355 120,031 4.1%
31  Mississippi 2,844,658 2,967,297 122,639 4.3%
32  Arkansas 2,673,400 2,915,918 242,518 9.1%
33  Kansas 2,688,418 2,853,118 164,700 6.1%
34  Utah 2,233,169 2,763,885 530,716 23.8%
35  Nevada 1,998,257 2,700,551 702,294 35.1%
36  New Mexico 1,819,046 2,059,179 240,133 13.2%
37  West Virginia 1,808,344 1,852,994 44,650 2.5%
38  Nebraska 1,711,263 1,826,341 115,078 6.7%
39  Idaho 1,293,953 1,567,582 273,629 21.1%
40  Hawaii 1,211,537 1,360,301 148,764 12.3%
41  Maine 1,274,923 1,328,361 53,438 4.2%
42  New Hampshire 1,235,786 1,316,470 80,684 6.5%
43  Rhode Island 1,048,319 1,052,567 4,248 0.4%
44  Montana 902,195 989,415 87,220 9.7%
45  Delaware 783,600 897,934 114,334 14.6%
46  South Dakota 754,844 814,180 59,336 7.9%
47  Alaska 626,932 710,231 83,299 13.3%
48  North Dakota 642,200 672,591 30,391 4.7%
49  Vermont 608,827 625,741 16,914 2.8%
50  District of Columbia 572,059 601,723 29,664 5.2%
51  Wyoming 493,782 563,626 69,844 14.1%
   United States 281,421,906 308,745,538 27,323,632 9.7%

City Rankings[]

2010 U.S. City Population Rankings[45]
Rank City State Population
1 New York New York 8,175,133
2 Los Angeles California 3,792,621
3 Chicago Illinois 2,695,598
4 Houston Texas 2,099,451
5 Philadelphia Pennsylvania 1,526,006
6 Phoenix Arizona 1,445,632
7 San Antonio Texas 1,327,407
8 San Diego California 1,307,402
9 Dallas Texas 1,197,816
10 San Jose California 945,942
11 Jacksonville Florida 821,784
12 Indianapolis Indiana 820,445
13 San Francisco California 805,235
14 Austin Texas 790,390
15 Columbus Ohio 787,033
16 Fort Worth Texas 741,206
17 Charlotte North Carolina 731,424
18 Detroit Michigan 713,777
19 El Paso Texas 649,121
20 Memphis Tennessee 646,889
21 Baltimore Maryland 620,961
22 Boston Massachusetts 617,594
23 Seattle Washington 608,660
24 Washington District of Columbia 601,723
25 Nashville Tennessee 601,222

See also[]

  • United States Census
  • United States congressional apportionment
  • List of U.S. states by historical population
  • MyTwoCensus


  1. ^ a b "Interactive Timeline". About the 2010 Census. U.S. Census Bureau. 2011. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Niesse, Mark (July 5, 2010). "Census worker taken to court for trespassing". Associated Press (The Seattle Times). Retrieved 2010-07-06. "The resident continued to refuse to take the Census, and [census worker Russell] Haas said he waited outside a chain-link fence while the resident called his co-workers at the Hawai‘i County Police Department. When police arrived, instead of asking the resident to accept the forms as required by federal law, the officers crumpled the papers into Haas' chest and handcuffed him, Haas said....Haas said he told officers that it was his duty to leave the Census forms with the resident, and that he would leave as soon as he did it. The officers were enforcing state law and had not been trained on the federal Census law, Hawaii County Police Maj. Sam Thomas said." 
  3. ^ a b "US Census Takers Attacked on the Job". National Ledger. May 28, 2010. Retrieved May 30, 2010. 
  4. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau Announces 2010 Census Population Counts -- Apportionment Counts Delivered to President" (Press release). United States Census Bureau. December. 21, 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  5. ^ >> Texas Adds Four Congressional Seats as State's Hispanic Population Grows
  6. ^ USA Today 2010 Census
  7. ^ Must I answer the census? from the United States Census website
  8. ^ D'oro, Rachel (January 2010). "Remote Alaska village is first eyed in census". Noorvik, Alaska: The Associated Press. 
  9. ^ a b c Census Day: Stand up and be counted. The Economist. April 3rd-9th 2010. p.40
  10. ^ "Take 10 Map 2010 Census Participation Rates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2010-08-10. 
  11. ^ a b c "Frequently Asked Questions". 2010 Census. United States Census Bureau. 10 May 2010. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Castro, Daniel (February 2008). "e-Census Unplugged: Why Americans Should Be Able to Complete the Census Online". Washington, D.C.: Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. 
  13. ^ "Chapter 4: Sample Design and Selection". ACS Design and Methodology. U.S. Census Bureau. December 2010. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  14. ^ LGBT Fact Sheet
  15. ^ a b "Censuses: Costing the count". The Economist. 2 June 2011. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  16. ^ a b c "Census Bureau comes in under budget for 2010 operational costs". CNN. August 10, 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-10. 
  17. ^ "2010 Census: Cost and Design Issues Need to Be Addressed Soon (GAO-04-37)" (PDF). Washington, D.C.: United States General Accounting Office. 2004-01-15. OCLC 54778614. Retrieved 2009-12-27. 
  18. ^ Sternstein, Aliya (2005-06-13). "Preparing for a decennial task". Federal Computer Week (Falls Church, Virginia: 1105 Media). Retrieved 2009-12-27. 
  19. ^ Harris Corporation Selected for $600 Million U.S. Census Bureau Field Data Collection Automation Program
  20. ^ U.S. Census Bureau - Use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
  21. ^ Ballasy, Nicholas (2 April 2009). "Census Bureau: We’ll Work with ‘Community Organizations’ to Count All Illegal Aliens in 2010". Cybercast News Service. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  22. ^ Sherman, Jake (12 September 2009). "Census Bureau Cuts Its Ties With Acorn". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  23. ^ Demi Lovato And Eva Longoria Urge Census Participation
  24. ^ Rosario Dawson, Wilmer Valderrama Encourage Latinos To Complete 2010 Census In New PSA's
  25. ^ Ludacris 2010 Census Campaign In New York :
  26. ^ a b c d Williams, Juan (March 1, 2010). "Marketing the 2010 census with a conservative-friendly face". Washington Post. Retrieved March 25, 2011. 
  27. ^ Swami, Perana (June 18, 2009). "Rep. Bachmann Refuses To Fill Out 2010 Census". Political Hotsheet (CBS News). Retrieved April 15, 2010. 
  28. ^ "Census goes too far with children". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved 8 September 2009. 
  29. ^ "APPORTIONMENT POPULATION AND NUMBER OF REPRESENTATIVES, BY STATE: 2010 CENSUS". US Census. 2010-12-21. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  30. ^ Baker, John S.; Stonecipher, Elliott (August 9, 2009). "Our Unconstitutional Census". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 9 August 2009. 
  31. ^ "Census 2010: Latino Pastors Urge Census Boycott". Washington Post. Retrieved 22 April 2009. 
  32. ^ (Spring 2004) "Prisoners of the Census: Electoral and Financial Consequences of Counting Prisoners Where They Go, Not Where They Come From" 24 (2): 587–607. ISSN 0272-2410.  Originally presented at Prison Reform Revisited: a symposium held at Pace University School of Law and the New York State Judicial Institute, Oct. 16–18, 2003. Research supported by grants from the Soros Justice Fellowship Program of the Open Society Institute. Retrieved 2010-01-02.
  33. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau interactive form, Question 9.". Retrieved January 8, 2010. 
  34. ^ McFadden, Katie; McShane, Larry (January 6, 2010). "Use of word Negro on 2010 census forms raises memories of Jim Crow". Retrieved January 8, 2010. 
  35. ^ Kiviat, Barbara (January 23, 2010). "Should the Census Be Asking People if They Are Negro?". Time.,8599,1955923,00.html. Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
  36. ^ Frequently Asked Questions on the National Census from the ACLU website
  37. ^ Cwiek, Sarah (March 22, 2011). "Bing plans to challenge Detroit census numbers". Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  38. ^ Davidson, Kate (May 2, 2011). "Detroit census challenge". Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  39. ^ NYC To File Formal Challenge to 2010 Census under Count Question Resolution Process [1]
  40. ^ On the 2010 Census Results
  41. ^ DeBonis, Mike (August 10, 2011). "District challenges its 2010 Census count". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 14, 2011. 
  42. ^;
  43. ^ Supreme Court orders for December 13, 2010
  44. ^ "Resident Population Data: Population Change". United States Census Bureau. 23 December 2010. Retrieved December 23, 2010. 
  45. ^

External links[]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at 2010 United States Census. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.