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Political Geography. The United States Census


It is compulsory for the Government to count all U.S. inhabitants after every 10 years; a function conducted by the census bureau. This is a government run agency mandated with the overall role of gathering, analyzing and disseminating national population and economic information. This information is important for the U.S. government because it forms the main basis for determining the number of representatives the government allocates to each state in the House of Representatives.

In the past, U.S. marshals conducted the counting process, with help of enumerators who worked on temporal basis, but currently the whole process has undergone an overhaul; hence, there exist a permanent census bureau run under the commerce department. The census process involves a series of activities and processes, which ensure census officials, follow required steps and work within set ethics. This helps to ensure the bureau meets its goals and objectives for it is the main source of demographic data for government planning (National academic press, 2003, p. 19)

Importance of the U.S. Census

Constitutionally the government uses census data to reallocate representative positions in the House of Representatives. The re-appointment of representatives goes hand in hand with re-structuring of congressional district borders. The constitution dictates that the government should conduct the enumeration exercise three years after the U.S. congress conducts their first assembly within a time span of ten years. To implement correctly the “one man one vote” principle, data from the bureau should be very accurate to allow correct decision making of the redistricting process. This gives the census body the mandate of not only getting demographic figures but also exactly locating people’s living positions. In addition, as dictated by the U.S. voting act, census information should give correct information on age, race and ethnicity of all the American people counted (U.S Census Bureau, 1999, Para. 2-13).

On the other hand, due to importance of an educated citizenry as emphasized by the government, data from census help in formulation of educational policies that meet the needs of American citizens. As directed by the education act, the government uses collected information on poverty status of various Americans for distribution of compensatory education finances. This helps in avoiding discriminations in resource allocation to all American natives (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000, Para. 1-6).

The census data also plays an important role in the Naturalization and Immigration department, because census data forms the main basis for legislation processes decisions. The department uses census information for the overall planning, implementation, and assessing of effectiveness of its programs in serving both the minority and majority groups in America. In addition, the data helps to evaluate employment patterns, hence ensuring practices adopted by government agencies are not discriminatory (Terry, (n.d.), p.3-4).

For effective economic planning by the government and setting of achievement standards, census information on income and occupation determines economic policies adopted by the government. The information guides decisions on implementation of cost effective measures, which meet economic demands of American populations. For example, survey information collected by economic survey bureau helps government bodies in assigning finances to health and other family aid programs. Majority of federal agencies use census data in determining their financial budgets in order to meet specific social needs of a particular American community. Regional planners also use the data to locate target areas that face specific economic constraints; hence, formulation of support programs that serve needs of immigrants and other needy American natives. In addition, financial planners utilize census data to formulate and implement correct financial plans. This in turn helps to ensure the government makes good use of the tax collected and misappropriations never occur, hence sense of responsibility by the government (U.S. census Bureau, 2008, Para. 1-6).

Regional planners also use census outcomes to determine main contributing factors to regional disparities in terms of development and resource endowment. This further serves the purpose of determining migration patterns and main contributing factors. U.S. currently faces an influx of immigrants who in one way or another have had impacts on the social-economic status of countries. Thus, census data can help in unraveling such information, which directs policy formulations in order to avert discriminations and ensure such groups receive correct attention.

On the other hand, majority o business organizations also utilize census information in their overall planning and policy implementation. Census information is the main indicator of population distributions in America; hence, for business to balance their activities census information remains the cornerstone. For example, employment patterns adopted by majority of American businesses depend on distribution of population, because in most cases company employments target disadvantaged groups. This is possible through critical analysis done by company’s human resource departments on population distributions. In addition, marketing strategies adopted organizations depend on population distribution patterns of American people. Critical analysis of labor markets by organizations helps business units to serve the changing needs of Americans. For example, decisions on construction of new plants, product innovations, and quality achievements depend primarily on market forces (United States small business administration, 2009, Para. 2-6).

Lastly, not only is census important to the government and businesses, but also census information is useful to the public. Census information direct majority of civic activities for example voting and active participation to ensure societies adopt democratic practices.

Impacts of Loosing a Seat in the House of Representatives

The house of representatives plays the key role of passing bills, which affect American citizens in many ways. Decisions by the house determine the tax system, funding mechanisms and nature on laws to be applied on critical issues for example abortion and immigration. Although the house emphasizes fairness in its dealings, senators always aim to please their natives so that they can be re-elected. For example, senators in the house determine district boundaries, and resource allocation depends on districts hence likelihood of favoritism on one’s state. Leaders who are re-appointed always aim to reward loyal members, which in most cases has resulted to equality in resource allocations In addition to resource allocation variations, political leaders in the house influence very much quality of justice to its members. Loosing of seats by some states affects quality of justice received by its natives, although not widely manifested few cases have occurred. In addition, loosing of such seats affects productivity of some states due to varying resource endowment of different states (Mason, 2002, pp. 570-582).

Personal Experience with Census

The counting process has always faced many obstacles due to counting flaws, which later manifests themselves in resource allocation patterns that the government adopts. Majority of errors occur result due to lack of collection of all questionnaires by enumerators.

Dealing with some American families is hard due to lack of cooperation from some families that do not recognize importance of census. On the other hand, the old PDA tool used for checking addresses has received many rejections from citizens due to doubt on its accuracy to exactly give required information.


In conclusion, governments and individuals should not underestimate the importance of census. In addition, the government should ensure the whole exercise is well organized and coordinated in order to ensure its effectiveness and address all population concepts. The government should make correct cost estimates and it must ensure the bureau meets the census targets.


Mason, L. J. (2002). Majority party leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1977-96: speakers, committee assignments, institutional context. Social science quarterly 82(3), 570-582.

National academic press. (2009). Modernizing the U.S. census. Web.

Terry, M. (n.d.). Connecting the dots: understanding the importance of census participation to civic engagement. Web.

United States small business administration. (2009). Firm size data. Web.

U.S. Census Bureau. (1999).The Constitution, the Congress and the Census: Representation and Reapportionment. Web.

U.S. Census Bureau. (2000). U.S. census bureau news. Web.

U.S. census Bureau. (2008). A detailed portrait of the U.S. economy. Web.


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