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Count Me In!

In January, government workers spread out across remote towns in Alaska. They arrived in small planes, then traveled over snow and ice by snowmobiles and even dogsleds. Why? They were there to kick off the 2020 U.S. Census, a nationwide count of all the people living in the country. The first people counted live in a small fishing village named Toksook Bay.  

For the rest of the country, the census begins this month. The U.S. Census Bureau will send questionnaires to every household to ask about the number of people who live there, their ages, races, and more. Read on to find out how the federal government uses that information to help make some BIG decisions.

The U.S. Constitution requires the federal government to conduct a national census once every decade. The first census took place in 1790.

There are 3 ways to complete the census:

To try to ensure that no one gets left out, census workers will go door-to-door to collect answers from people who don’t respond by April 1.

According to the last census, about 309 MILLION people lived in the U.S. in 2010. 

Census data helps the U.S. government decide how and where to spend about $675 BILLION each year.

That money is used to repair roads, build schools and hospitals, and more.

Census results also determine the number of seats each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives. States with larger populations elect more representatives.

Jim McMahon/MapMan®

According to the map and text, which state has the second-largest population?

Note: People living in the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands are also counted in the census.

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