Through the Decades, How the Census Bureau Protects Your Privacy

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 Through the Decades, How the Census Bureau Protects Your Privacy

When U.S. Marshals conducted America’s first census in 1790, they posted the answers in the town square so locals could check for accuracy, as required by law. This practice continued until 1850. 

How times have changed. Today, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) may release decennial census records after 72 years. The most recent census available to the public is the 1940 Census.

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A new Census Bureau infographic below charts the path of census safeguards from 1790 to now, from zero privacy to today’s absolute strictures designed to maintain public trust.

To read more about how the 2020 Census will be the first census to use a powerful new privacy protection system designed for the digital age, continue reading...

History of Privacy Road Map Graphic

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America Counts tells the stories behind the numbers in a new inviting way. It features stories on various topics such as families, housing, employment, business, education, the economy, emergency preparedness, and population. Contact our Public Information Office for media inquiries or interviews.