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What Are Census Records?

A census is a gathering of information about the public in general. These have occurred for thousands of years as a way of learning about the population of a specific area. In the United States, these censuses have occurred as a way of tracking where people live, what they earn as well as how many people are living in any one area. Census records, then, is the documentation of the data reported in these records. In many older censuses, there is not a lot of detail left by the reporting family. More currently, information is available but can be kept as anonymous. This can make it hard to use this information for some needs.


The US census is a requirement that is mandated under the US Constitution. Every ten years, the country conducts a full investigation of who is living in the country. It is then used to help allocate congressional seats as well as electoral votes. In many ways, the information contained in these censuses also helps the government to determine how much and what type of government funding the area requirements.


In addition to this large, 10-year census required by the Constitution, many local areas and states can conduct their own census. This provides more localized information and the goal for using it is the same as that of the larger census. Some of these are mandated under state laws while others are not.


The initial census of the US was taken just after the American Revolution occurred in 1790. Since that time, there have been 22 federal census requirements. The records from these censuses is still available in most cases, for those who wish to access them. However, records are not always as detailed as many would like them to be.


Census records may include a detailed description of the family including all people living within a home. This will include relations in some cases, too, such as the name, age and relationship to the head of household for the individual. These records also include information about the individual’s home including any details about the city or local area. Some census records include religious information. Most do not.


More modern censuses records include more information about political ties as well as income levels. The use of these records is often best when you are looking for details about an entire area rather than just one person. Nevertheless, a census records search can be helpful in many instances.


With a census records search, individuals can learn a great deal about a family or about the way a person lived long ago. Information for a genealogy record may also be gathered in this way. To learn about the census data that may be available, individuals can search databases and records through online sources to gather this data. Paper records are not commonly available in most cases and are not easy to obtain otherwise. However, many censuses are available through database searches. These can answer many of the questions a person may have about their family’s history.

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