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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition
Census 2010 Education Kit

The Importance of the Census

The decennial census has several important uses, some of which are discussed below. First, decennial census data on state populations determine the number of seats in Congress each state receives and how those districts are drawn, through processes called “reapportionment” and “redistricting”. Second, the census provides the figures that determine the number of electors each state receives for presidential elections. Third, census numbers determine the allocation of hundreds of billions of federal program dollars. Fourth, federal agencies and private litigants use data on race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, age, and disability to monitor compliance with civil rights laws and to determine where disparities exist and remediation is required. Finally, the private sector uses census data to make important decisions about their businesses, including investment strategies, hiring plans, and location of facilities.

Next Section: Reapportionment and redistricting