America by the Numbers: A Look at the Census Bureau, “Factfinder for the Nation”

What happens to the information you filled in on your census form in April? How is it used? Can you use it? As the twenty-third census of the United States progresses, the Government Documents Division presents an exhibit to guide us through the history of the Decennial Census and to demonstrate the countless ways that the Census Bureau serves as the “Factfinder for the Nation.”

The Library’s Regional Depository Librarian Laura Saurs has organized this display from our vast federal depository collection to illustrate changes in government data collection. It begins in 1790, when a temporary staff counted the thirteen states’ 3,929,214 people and published only one 56-page report, and brings us to present day America when the permanent Census Bureau conducts approximately 120 surveys a year and publishes over 1,500 reports. These surveys produce a mind-boggling array of data that is used by government, nonprofits, businesses, and individuals.

America by the Numbers is on view from July 7 through September 25 in the third floor gallery. For more information about the exhibit or the US Government Documents collection, please call 973-733-7812 or email