A census is all about numbers. It is a count of the nation's people. It is a count of where those people live. It is a look at the numbers of people who call themselves members of different races or ethnicities.
At first look, the results of a census can be hard to understand.
But census numbers do tell a story. They explain who we are. They explain where the population has gone up or down. They also give us other details about how our country has changed. For at least 10 years, those numbers become the story of America itself.
The last U.S. census was in 2010. The results of the count showed a lot of change.
The total number of people in the U.S. was 308.7 million. In the year 2000, there were 281.4 million people. That was an increase of 9.7%.
The U.S. Census Bureau also does a separate count for a few million households each year. It helps to provide a look at the U.S. between census years. It also helps to predict some changes. In 2018, the Census Bureau said the total number of people had grown to 327.2 million.
The 2020 census could show another increase. Or it could show that the population has gone down.
Even if the U.S. population stays the same, it moves around.
The 2010 census showed that growth was faster in the South and West. The South and West made up 84.4% of the nation's growth between 2000 and 2010.
Which state grew the fastest? The winner was Nevada. It grew by 35.1% in 10 years. The next-fastest-growing states were Arizona, Utah, and Idaho.
The slowest-growing states grew by less than 2%. They were Rhode Island, Louisiana, and Ohio. The state of Michigan lost 0.6% of its people.
Non-Hispanic whites were still the biggest group of U.S. residents in 2010. They made up 72% of all people.
But Hispanic and Asian groups grew the fastest. The number of Hispanics grew 43% between 2000 and 2010. That made them 16% of the total population. That is more than the black population at 13%. The number of people who reported as Asian also grew by 43%. That made them 5% of the population.
This year's census is sure to show changes since 2010. But what will those changes be? And what will they mean? That story is still to be told.
SOURCE: THE U.S. CENSUS BUREAU