American Government

The Census

Posted on in American Government

The U.S. is in the middle of the 2020 Census count. The Census is mandated by the Constitution and occurs every ten years. The goal is to count every living person in the U.S. and the five U.S. territories. It provides critical information to lawmakers.

The U.S. Census Bureau is expected to end their count on September 30, but some offices are ending in-person counting as early as September 18. This move has raised concerns about the accuracy of the census, which are exacerbated by the fact that many people have been displaced because of COVID.

Instructors, click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt and a debate question as well as other assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for “The Census”


“Census Work Has Been Winding Down, But A Judge Says It Needs To Press On For Now”
“‘It’s Going Horribly’: College Towns Fret About Census Count”
“Battered by the virus, tribes race to boost census count”

“The census must count all children for their health and well-being. It can’t stop prematurely.”
“Census response in poor and minority neighborhoods is undermined by coronavirus”
“These states would lose House seats under Trump Census order: study”


  • Writing: Explain what is determined with the data collected from the Census and identify the controversies that have surrounded the 2020 census. What are the consequences of undercounting and who is less likely to be counted?
  • Debate: Should the U.S. Census count only citizens? Should the census be completed more frequently than ten years?
  • Poll: Should the census still be completed person to person, or should census sampling be used to compensate for undercounting?
  • Short Answer: Explain the purpose of the census.

Current events quiz:

1) How many states are expected to not gain congressional seats?

a. Fourteen
b. Twenty-four
c. Thirty-eight
d. Forty-three

2) Why exactly did some people not want a question concerning citizenship to be included within the 2020 Census?

a. Belief that it would take too much time to complete the form.
b. Concern that some individuals wouldn’t know the answer to the question.
c. Fear that noncitizens would be less likely to complete the Census.
d. The cost associated with asking an additional question.

3) For the first time the Census will ask which of the following?

a. Your sexual orientation
b. Your age
c. Your race
d. Your address

4) The States projected to gain a congressional seat are all in the same region. (T/F)

5) The Census is required by the U.S. Constitution. (T/F)

6) The Census impacts how many U.S. Senators each state receives. (T/F)


1) D

2) C

3) A

4) False

5) True

5) False


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Featured Image Credit: Salud Carbajal

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