Skip to main content
Individual study space @ Research Commons now available by reservation. All other Libraries spaces are closed. Online resources and support are available 24/7! UW Libraries COVID-19 Updates
What's in the Guide?
The 2020 Census is underway and it is easier than ever to respond from the comfort of your own home without ever seeing a Census worker at your door. In this guide, you will be able to find information about the history of the Census and the Census Bureau, learn how to complete the 2020 Census, and discover online resources to learn even more about the Census.
Statistics in Schools
Statistics in Schools (SIS) was created to help make the subjects being taught in the classroom more tangible by using real-world Census statistics. One of the really fun parts of this program is the materials provided by the Census Bureau, such as this coloring book. Below are the links for the printable versions of both the English and Spanish versions.
Books about the Census
When Women Didn't Count: the Chronic Mismeasure and Marginalization of American Women in Federal Statistics by Erroneous government-generated "data" is more problematic than it would appear. This book demonstrates how women's history has consistently been hidden and distorted by 200 years of official government statistics. * Provides new ways of thinking about the history of women in the United States * Examines the systems used to gather and publish federal statistics, identifying their strengths, weaknesses, and biases * Demonstrates the need for applying critical thinking skills even when examining assumedly trustworthy statistics from official sources * Reveals how details of women's lives in the United States have been erased or disguised in data that is considered authoritative and reliable
Publication Date: 2017-06-22
Who Counts? by One of Choice Magazine's Outstanding Academic Books of 2000 For those interested in understanding the historical and scientific context of the census adjustment controversy, Who Counts? is absolutely essential reading. --Science Ever since the founding fathers authorized a national headcount as the means of apportioning seats in the federal legislature, the decennial census has been a political battleground. Political power, and more recently the allocation of federal resources, depend directly upon who is counted and who is left out. Who Counts? is the story of the lawsuits, congressional hearings, and bureaucratic intrigues surrounding the 1990 census. These controversies formed largely around a single vexing question: should the method of conducting the census be modified in order to rectify the demonstrated undercount of poor urban minorities? But they also stemmed from a more general debate about the methods required to count an ever more diverse and mobile population of over two hundred million. The responses to these questions repeatedly pitted the innovations of statisticians and demographers against objections that their attempts to alter traditional methods may be flawed and even unconstitutional. Who Counts? offers a detailed review of the preparation, implementation, and aftermath of the last three censuses. It recounts the growing criticisms of innaccuracy and undercounting, and the work to develop new enumeration strategies. The party shifts that followed national elections played an increasingly important role in the politization of the census, as the Department of Commerce asserted growing authority over the scientific endeavors of the Census Bureau. At the same time, each decade saw more city and state governments and private groups bringing suit to challenge census methodology and results. Who Counts? tracks the legal course that began in 1988, when a coalition led by New York City first sued to institute new statistical procedures in response to an alleged undercount of urban inhabitants. The challenge of accurately classifying an increasingly mixed population further threatens the legitimacy of the census, and Who Counts? investigates the difficulties of gaining unambiguous measurements of race and ethnicity, and the proposal that the race question be eliminated in favor of ethnic origin. Who Counts? concludes with a discussion of the proposed census design for 2000, as well as the implications of population counts on the composition and size of Congress. This volume reveals in extraordinary detail the interplay of law, politics, and science that propel the ongoing census debate, a debate whose outcome will have a tremendous impact on the distribution of political power and economic resources among the nation's communities. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Census Series
Publication Date: 1999-08-19
America Classifies the Immigrants by When more than twenty million immigrants arrived in the United States between 1880 and 1920, the government attempted to classify them according to prevailing ideas about race and nationality. But this proved hard to do. Ideas about racial or national difference were slippery, contested, and yet consequential--were "Hebrews" a "race," a "religion," or a "people"? As Joel Perlmann shows, a self-appointed pair of officials created the government's 1897 List of Races and Peoples, which shaped exclusionary immigration laws, the wording of the U.S. Census, and federal studies that informed social policy. Its categories served to maintain old divisions and establish new ones.Across the five decades ending in the 1920s, American immigration policy built increasingly upon the belief that some groups of immigrants were desirable, others not. Perlmann traces how the debates over this policy institutionalized race distinctions--between whites and nonwhites, but also among whites--in immigration laws that lasted four decades.Despite a gradual shift among social scientists from "race" to "ethnic group" after the 1920s, the diffusion of this key concept among government officials and the public remained limited until the end of the 1960s. Taking up dramatic changes to racial and ethnic classification since then, America Classifies the Immigrants concentrates on three crucial reforms to the American Census: the introduction of Hispanic origin and ancestry (1980), the recognition of mixed racial origins (2000), and a rethinking of the connections between race and ethnic group (proposed for 2020).
Publication Date: 2018-03-26
What Is Your Race? by A historical overview of the census race question--and a bold proposal for eliminating it America is preoccupied with race statistics--perhaps more than any other nation. Do these statistics illuminate social reality and produce coherent social policy, or cloud that reality and confuse social policy? Does America still have a color line? Who is on which side? Does it have a different "race" line--the nativity line--separating the native born from the foreign born? You might expect to answer these and similar questions with the government's "statistical races." Not likely, observes Kenneth Prewitt, who shows why the way we count by race is flawed. Prewitt calls for radical change. The nation needs to move beyond a race classification whose origins are in discredited eighteenth-century race-is-biology science, a classification that once defined Japanese and Chinese as separate races, but now combines them as a statistical "Asian race." One that once tried to divide the "white race" into "good whites" and "bad whites," and that today cannot distinguish descendants of Africans brought in chains four hundred years ago from children of Ethiopian parents who eagerly immigrated twenty years ago. Contrary to common sense, the classification says there are only two ethnicities in America--Hispanics and non-Hispanics. But if the old classification is cast aside, is there something better? What Is Your Race? clearly lays out the steps that can take the nation from where it is to where it needs to be. It's not an overnight task--particularly the explosive step of dropping today's race question from the census--but Prewitt argues persuasively that radical change is technically and politically achievable, and morally necessary.
Publication Date: 2013-07-21
A Population History of the United States by The first full-scale, one-volume survey of the demographic history of the United States has been fully updated here. From the arrival of humans in the Western Hemisphere to the current century, Klein analyses the basic demographic trends in the growth of the pre-conquest, colonial and national populations. From the origin and distribution of the Native Americans to late twentieth century changes in family structure, fertility and mortality, this updated edition incorporates recent research, including data from the 2010 census. In this definitive study, Klein explores regional patterns of fertility and mortality, trends in births, deaths and international and internal migrations, comparing them with contemporary European developments. The profound impact of historic declines in disease and mortality rates on the population structure of the late-twentieth century is explained, while the more recent urbanisation and rise of suburbia are examined within the context of new massive international migrations on North American society.
Publication Date: 2012-09-27
This guide was created by Veronica Talley, an MLIS Graduate Student and student assistant in the Government Publications, Maps, Microforms, and Newspapers department in Suzzallo Library. If you have any questions you can email them to us by clicking here.