Censuses are a wonderful snapshot of the population of the United States, They offer a treasure trove of demographic and social information that facilitates discussion of many historical and contemporary topics in social studies classes.
For the 2010 Census, all U.S. households should by now have received a census form with 10 questions about the number of people living in the household on April 1, as well as their gender, age and race.
Here are three articles on the census from recent NCSS publications.
- It’s About Us: 2010 Census in Schools
Social Studies and the Young Learner, March-April 2010, 4-5
- Teaching with Data: Using Our Nation’s Statistical Snapshot
Social Education, March/April 2010, 89-91
- Ten Questions on the 2010 Form with Explanations Provided by the Census
Social Studies and the Young Learner, March-April 2010, 6
NCSS Members Only Resources
- The Census: America’s Reflecting Pool
A photographic feature on the history of the Census from Social Education, November/December 2010
- The March/April 2010 issue of Social Studies and the Young Learner
Not a member?
More Census Resources
Check out the following sites and web pages.
U.S. Census Bureau
Information, lesson plans and other resources for teachers.
A chronology of historical information about the census every ten years from 1790-2010.
Information and activities for teenagers.
Information and activities for younger students.
Past censuses, which offer the opportunity to make interesting historical comparisons and additional historical data
Data from censuses of other countries that can be compared with U.S. data.from the Census Bureau and Population Reference Bureau.
Scholastic’s website offers information, lesson plans and resources developed in cooperation with the U.S. Census Bureau
In-depth historical and contemporary lesson plans for middle and high school students are available on the PBS website, www.pbs.org. Their topics include the use of census data to examine slavery, westward expansion in the 19th century, urban growth, immigration, and the racial and ethnic distribution of the U.S. population.