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Governments produce a wide array of documents ranging from Congressional hearings, debates and reports, census data, agency or departmental papers to brochures, maps and posters. These official governmental sources provide insight into all aspects of history from social issues to politics, from cultural mores to scientific endeavor.
U.S. Federal censuses and international demographic data are an invaluable tool for historians and other social scientists. Despite their value, the census counts are nevertheless far from perfect. Like any historical source, they must be evaluated, their strengths noted, and their limitations recognized.*
Help: Making Sense of Numbers and Census Data and Measuring America: The Decennial Censuses from 1790 to 2000.