The 2010 census, the constitutionally mandated decennial headcount, found 308.7 million people living in the United States, an increase of 9.7 percent from the nation's population of 281.4 million 10 years earlier. The 2010 census discovered a median age of 37.2 and an average household size of 2.58 people.
At $14.7 billion, the budget for the 2010 census was more than twice that of the roughly $6.5 billion 2000 census. The 72 percent response rate in the 2010 census remained the same as in 2000 despite a $340 million advertising campaign that included a $20,000 totem pole.
Here are 10 facts about the 2010 census:
The mantra of the 2010 census was "10 questions, 10 minutes," slogan designed to persuade Americans that completing the 2010 census would be relatively quick and painless. The 2010 census was the shortest questionnaire in the history of the census. So what were those questions on the 2010 census? Here's a list.
In addition to the 10 questions in the 2010 census head count, the U.S. Census Bureau also mailed out its more detailed annual American Community Survey in 2010. They didn't sit well with some people.
The Republican Party, in a resolution adopted on Aug. 6, 2010, called the annual American Community Survey a "dangerous invasion of privacy." The survey differs from the 10-question decennial head count in that it asks far more detailed questions and reaches only a statistical sample of the country - about 3 million housing units - every year.
The government agency responsible for the constitutionally mandated decennial headcount spent more than ever, an estimated $340 million, on advertising and marketing in the months leading up to April 1.
The outreach effort was stunning in scope. The advertising portion alone consisted of 400 commercials across all media - television, radio, print, digital, cinema, social media, events and sponsorships.
Here's a look at how the 2010 census money was spent.
When we said the U.S. Census Bureau went to unprecedented lengths to encourage Americans to return their questionnaires by mail in the 2010 census, we weren't kidding. The government spent $20,000 on a totem pole in the name of convincing more Alaskans to return their 2010 census forms.
The government commissioned an Alaskan artist to carve the totem pole, which was then shuttled to tribal events throughout the state for several months to promote participation in the census, according to the Juneau Empire newspaper.
The U.S. Census Bureau declared triumphantly in August 2010 that its decennial head count would cost $1.6 billion less than expected.
"This is a significant accomplishment, and I would like to thank the American public for responding to the census and the more than 255,000 private and public sector partners who joined with us in making the 2010 census a success," Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said in a statement.
But at $14.7 billion, the budget for the 2010 head count was more than twice that of the roughly $6.5 billion 2000 census, a detail that didn't escape notice of critics. And the 72 percent response rate in 2010 remained the same as in 2000 despite a $340 million advertising campaign that included a $20,000 totem pole.
The cost of the 2010 census could balloon to at least $22 billion in 2020, nearly double that of the 2010 census cost, unless the Commerce Department makes substantial changes to the decennial operation, the Inspector General's Office warned.
"Alternative approaches to the labor-intensive end-of-decade address list improvement and non-response follow-up operations - both of which were major 2010 cost drivers - must be explored and tested early in the decade to prevent schedule delays or cost increases, and to enhance accuracy."
The Inspector General's Office also suggest the Census Bureau improve its information-technology management, as well as reduce costs and risk by limiting the use of onetime-use technology.
The Census Office of Inspector General found that local census processing offices were experiencing computer system outages lasting from hours to days. The computer problems have added $1.6 million in census staff overtime costs during just the first quarter of 2010 with even more on the way, stated the report.
Before the 2010 census even beganm Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez announced the U.S. Census Bureau would be forced to scrap plans to use wireless handheld computers because of technical problems. Instead, Gutierrez told Congress that the Census Bureau would need to use old fashioned pencils and paper at an unplanned extra cost to taxpayers of up to $3.0 billion.
State population totals from the 2010 census data were used in the process of apportionment to divide the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives among the states. The apportionment population consists of the resident population of the 50 states, plus the overseas military and federal civilian employees and their dependents living with them who could be allocated to a state. The populations of the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are excluded from the apportionment population, as they do not have voting seats in Congress.
While calculating the center of the U.S. population sounds like a very modern high tech thing to do, the Census Bureau has been doing it every ten years since the first census in 1790, when the center of population was Chestertown, Maryland. Since then, the population center has progressively moved west. Previous population centers have been in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Missouri - clearly reflecting our nation's history of migration and the settling of the western frontier.
Find out where the center of population was in the 2010 census.
Census data are used to determine the allocation of more than $400 billion in federal funding annually, including $26 billion for educational services and other programs focused on children. Read why filling out the 2010 census was so important.