Census analysis

Authored by: Karen A. Woodrow-Lafield

Routledge International Handbook of Migration Studies

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  May  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415779722
eBook ISBN: 9780203863299
Adobe ISBN: 9781135183493


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The primary purposes for census-taking vary across nations. For the majority, censuses are the source of information on the migrant stock, but certain countries with population registers already have excellent data and censuses are not necessary. For the United States, the census is constitutionally mandated every 10 years for purposes of apportioning political representation among the states according to the distribution of the population. Just as dramatic changes occurred over time in implementing this count as technologies evolved from hand calculations and early tabulating machines to efficient, high capacity computers, the US Census Bureau's mission of providing timely, relevant, and quality data about the people and economy of the United States has evolved to include not only the crucial topics of people, housing, business, and governments, for which the major resource has historically been the decennial census of population and housing, but also information from other sources (surveys, administrative statistics, and other information), such as through the Statistical Abstract annual series. The US 2010 Census is the re-engineered census, with the American Community Survey (ACS) designed for collecting detailed social and economic characteristics nationally and subnationally on a continuous basis. With respondent participation on a mandatory basis, the ACS was gradually implemented and fully fielded by 2010. Similarly, Canada initiated the National Household Survey (NHS) in conjunction with the 2011 Census, for which participation is voluntary.

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