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United States Census Bureau

Seal of the Bureau of the Census

The United States Census Bureau (officially Bureau of the Census) is a part of the United States Department of Commerce. Its mission is defined in the Constitution of the United States, which directs that the population be enumerated at least once every ten years (through the U.S. Census), and the number of Representatives in Congress determined accordingly. It also is in charge of collecting statistics about the nation, its people, and economy.

The Census Bureau's establishment is codified in Title 13 of the United States Code.

Since 1903, the official census-taking organ of the United States government has been the Bureau of the Census. The Bureau is headed by a Director, assisted by a Deputy Director and an Executive Staff composed of the associate directors. The Bureau has 12 regional offices (Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Boston, Denver, New York, Charlotte, Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago, Kansas City, and Seattle) with additional processing centers set up temporarily for the decennial censuses.

The sole purpose of the censuses and surveys is to secure general statistical information. Replies are obtained from individuals and establishments only to enable the compilation of such general statistics. The confidentiality of these replies is very important. By law, no one — neither the census takers nor any other Census Bureau employee — is permitted to reveal identifiable information about any person, household, or business.

The bureau recognizes four census regions within the United States, and further organizes them into nine divisions. These regions are groupings of states that subdivide the United States for the presentation of data. They should not be construed as bound together by any geographical, historical, or cultural concerns. The regions are as follows:


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