By Steve Dillingham
Today, I am on the road partnering with state and local leaders to urge communities to respond to the 2020 Census. We kicked our outreach efforts off in Philadelphia, PA, one year ago, at the National Constitution Center. We chose that location and this day, Constitution Day, to celebrate the fact that our critical mission stems from the Constitution of the United States signed September 17, 1787.
Article I, Section II of the Constitution calls for an “actual Enumeration” to be “made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.” The first “Enumeration” took place in 1790, and has been conducted every 10 years since.
Two hundred and thirty years ago, by foot and on horseback, U.S. Marshals visited every single household across our young nation. During that first census, Congress expected to find about 2 million people living in the country. When the results came back in 1793, the population exceeded 3.9 million.
The Constitution had set the number of Representatives at 65 from 1787. The first apportionment, based on the 1790 census, resulted in an increase to 105 members. They had to build an addition onto Independence Hall to fit the new congress! The House of Representatives grew after each census until reaching its current number of 435 in 1911.
The data collected through the 2020 Census is just as impactful as the data collected in 1790. A complete and accurate population count determines how many members each state will have in the House of Representatives and how hundreds of billions of federal dollars are distributed every year — money that funding schools, roads, hospitals, and so much more and shaping the future of every community across the Nation.
If you haven’t responded already, please respond now, online at 2020Census.gov, by phone or by mail — or when a census taker visits.
Your answers are protected and confidential, and it only takes a matter of minutes.