According to the U.S. Census Bureau*, census data are used as follows: 

  • Decision making at all levels of government.
  • Drawing federal, state, and local legislative districts.
  • Attracting new businesses to state and local areas.
  • Distributing over $675 billion annually in federal funds and even more in state funds.
  • Forecasting future transporta¬tion needs for all segments of the population.
  • Planning for hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and the location of other health services.
  • Forecasting future housing needs for all segments of the population.
  • Directing funds for services for people in poverty.
  • Designing public safety strategies.
  • Development of rural areas.
  • Analyzing local trends.
  • Estimating the number of people displaced by natural disasters.
  • Developing assistance pro¬grams for American Indians and Alaska Natives.
  • Creating maps to speed emer¬gency services to households in need of assistance.
  • Delivering goods and services to local markets.
  • Designing facilities for people with disabilities, the elderly, or children.
  • Planning future government services.
  • Planning investments and eval¬uating financial risk.
  • Publishing economic and statistical reports about the United States and its people.
  • Facilitating scientific research.
  • Developing “intelligent” maps for government and business.
  • Providing proof of age, rela¬tionship, or residence certifi¬cates provided by the Census Bureau.
  • Distributing medical research.
  • Reapportioning seats in the House of Representatives.
  • Planning and researching for media as background for news stories.
  • Drawing school district boundaries.
  • Planning budgets for govern¬ment at all levels.
  • Spotting trends in the eco¬nomic well-being of the nation.
  • Planning for public transporta¬tion services.
  • Planning health and educa¬tional services for people with disabilities.
  • Establishing fair market rents and enforcing fair lending practices.
  • Directing services to children and adults with limited English proficiency.
  • Planning urban land use.
  • Planning outreach strategies.
  • Understanding labor supply.
  • Assessing the potential for spread of communicable diseases.
  • Making business decisions.
  • Understanding consumer needs.
  • Planning for faith-based organizations.
  • Locating factory sites and dis¬tribution centers.
  • Distributing catalogs and developing direct mail pieces.
  • Setting a standard for creating both public and private sector surveys.
  • Evaluating programs in differ¬ent geographic areas.
  • Providing genealogical research.
  • Planning for school projects.
  • Developing adult education programs.
  • Researching historical subject areas.
  • Determining areas eligible for housing assistance and reha¬bilitation loans.

For additional information about the 2020 Census, please visit

* U.S. Census Bureau, “2020 Census Complete Count Committee Guide,” Appendix A: 50 Ways Census Data Are Used, pg. 14,


NAR 2020 Census Webinar

On March 4, NAR hosted a webinar with the U.S. Census Bureau on the importance of this year's decennial census and how census data are used.

Watch the recorded webinar

Download the presentation slides (PDF: 2 MB)

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