Census in the Constitution: Margo Anderson
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Census in the Constitution: Margo Anderson

October 21, 2019


[music] The Census is a very
unobtrusive event. It occurs once every 10 years. This is only the 23rd time. We have had 44 presidents, but
we will only have 23 censuses. The concept of taking a
census every 10 years, goes back to the writing of the
Federal Constitution in 1787. In other words, it’s part of the
documents that had to be drafted to create the American
government after the Revolutionary War. In 1790, after the Federal
Government gets going, Congress writes the
Census statute; that statute creates
the procedures to actually take the Census. The marshals — the
United States marshals — will take the Census; they will
then appoint assistant marshals in their districts and the
assistant marshals will go household by household and
collect the information on the six questions that Congress has
asked to be answered. It’s the first Census in
the history of the world that is used to apportion
political power. That was a political innovation
in democratic governance that Americans can
take credit for. [music]

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