13 U.S. Code § 141 - Population and other census information
References to the Secretary, meaning the Secretary of Commerce, were substituted for references to the Director of the Census, to conform with 1950 Reorganization Plan No. 5, §§ 1, 2, eff. May 24, 1950, 15 F.R. 3174, 64 Stat. 1263. See Revision Note to section 4 of this title.
The provision for taking the censuses in “1930 and every ten years thereafter” was changed to “1960 and every ten years thereafter” since the censuses for the years 1930, 1940 and 1950 have been completed.
The requirement that decennial censuses of “distribution” and “mines” should also be taken was omitted as superseded by section 121 of title 13, U.S.C., 1952 ed. (enacted in 1948), the provisions of which were carried into subchapter I of this chapter.
Section 1442 of title 42, U.S.C., 1952 ed., the Public Health and Welfare (which section has been transferred in its entirety to this revised title), made all provisions of chapter 4 of title 13, U.S.C., 1952 ed., applicable to the housing censuses provided for in such section. However, section 201 of such title 13 (which section was a part of such chapter 4), which, as indicated above, has been carried into this revised section, could not, except, possibly, for the provisions thereof relating to the territorial scope of the censuses and to the census duties of the governors of Guam, Samoa, the Virgin Islands, and the Canal Zone, have any relevancy to such housing censuses, and such section 1442 of title 42, U.S.C., 1952 ed., contained its own provisions relating to territorial scope of the housing censuses. Therefore the provisions of this revised section have not been made so applicable.
Changes were made in phraseology.
1976—Pub. L. 94–521 substituted “Population and other census information” for “Population, unemployment, and housing” in section catchline, without reference to amendment of catchline by Pub. L. 94–171.
Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 94–521 substituted “1980” for “1960” and “decennial census of population” for “census of population, unemployment, and housing (including utilities and equipment)”, inserted “of such year” after “April”, substituted “which date shall be known as the decennial census date” for “which shall be known as the census date”, and inserted provisions authorizing the Secretary to take the decennial census in whatever form and content he determines, using sampling procedures and special surveys, and authorizing him to obtain other such census information as is necessary, in connection with the decennial census.
Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 94–521 inserted “under subsection (a) of this section” after “population by States”, inserted “in Congress among the several States” after “Representatives”, and substituted “9 months after the census date” for “eight months of the census date”.
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 94–521 substituted “the decennial census date” for “the census date” wherever appearing.
Subsecs. (d) to (g). Pub. L. 94–521 added subsecs. (d) to (g).
1975—Pub. L. 94–171, § 2(a), inserted “; tabulation for legislative apportionment” in section catchline.
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 94–171, § 1, added subsec. (c).
1957—Pub. L. 85–207 substituted “Population, unemployment, and housing” for “Population, agriculture, irrigation, drainage, and unemployment; territory excluded” in section catchline; inserted in text housing census provisions, struck out census coverage of agriculture, irrigation, and drainage and geographical provisions, and designated existing provisions as so amended as subsec. (a); and added subsec. (b). Census of agriculture, irrigation, and drainage and the geographical provisions are covered by sections 142 and 191 of this title.
Pub. L. 105–119, title II, § 210(a)–(j), Nov. 26, 1997, 111 Stat. 2483–2487, established the Census Monitoring Board to observe and monitor all aspects of the preparation and implementation of the 2000 decennial census, described the membership and duties of the Board, and provided for its termination on Sept. 30, 2001.
Pub. L. 102–135, Oct. 24, 1991, 105 Stat. 635, known as the Decennial Census Improvement Act of 1991, provided that the Secretary of Commerce was to contract with the National Academy of Sciences for a study of the means by which the Government could achieve the most accurate population count possible and ways for the Government to collect other demographic and housing data, and that the Academy was to submit to the Secretary and to committees of Congress an interim report and, within 36 months after the date of the contract, a final report on the study.
Pub. L. 101–645, title IV, § 402, Nov. 29, 1990, 104 Stat. 4723, provided that not later than 1 year after Nov. 29, 1990, the General Accounting Office was to conduct a study of the methodology and procedures used by the Bureau of the Census in counting the number of homeless persons for the most recent decennial census conducted pursuant to this title, to determine the accuracy of such count, and report to the Congress the results of that study.
Pub. L. 101–624, title XXIII, § 2382, Nov. 28, 1990, 104 Stat. 4050, provided that Director of Bureau of the Census was to expand data collection efforts of Bureau to enable it to collect statistically significant data concerning changing economic condition of rural counties and communities in United States, including data on rural employment, poverty, income, and other information concerning rural labor force, and authorized to be appropriated $1,000,000 for each fiscal year for such efforts, prior to repeal by Pub. L. 104–127, title VII, § 707, Apr. 4, 1996, 110 Stat. 1112.
Ex. Ord. No. 13880, July 11, 2019, 84 F.R. 33821, which directed Federal agencies to assist the Department of Commerce in determining the number of citizens, non-citizens, and illegal aliens in the country for purposes of the 2020 census, was revoked by Ex. Ord. 13986, § 5, Jan. 20, 2021, 86 F.R. 7016, set out below.
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered:
Section 1. Background. We have long guaranteed all of the Nation’s inhabitants representation in the House of Representatives. This tradition is foundational to our representative democracy, for our elected representatives have a responsibility to represent the interests of all people residing in the United States and affected by our laws. This tradition also respects the dignity and humanity of every person. Accordingly, the executive branch has always determined the population of each State, for purposes of congressional representation, without regard to whether its residents are in lawful immigration status.
The census and apportionment processes are enshrined in the Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment apportions seats in the House of Representatives “among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State.” (U.S. Const. amend. XIV, sec. 2.) Article I, in turn, provides that, in order to determine those numbers, an “actual Enumeration” of the population of the United States must be conducted every 10 years. (U.S. Const. art. I, sec. 2, cl. 3.) The Congress has assigned responsibility for conducting the decennial census to the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary). (13 U.S.C. 141(a).)
Once the Secretary, through the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau, takes the count, the President must carry out the apportionment of Representatives among the States. The Secretary prepares the “tabulation of total population by States … as required for the apportionment of Representatives,” and reports that tabulation to the President. (13 U.S.C. 141(b).) The President then sends a statement to the Congress showing “the whole number of persons in each State,” as ascertained under the census, and “the number of Representatives to which each State would be entitled under” the equal proportions apportionment method. (2 U.S.C. 2a(a).) The Clerk of the House of Representatives then transmits to each State a certification of the number of seats that the State receives under that apportionment. (2 U.S.C. 2a(b).) Finally, within 1 year of the decennial census date, the Secretary must also report to the Governor and officers or public bodies having responsibility for legislative apportionment or districting of each State the population tabulations to be used for apportioning districts within that State. (13 U.S.C. 141(c).)
At no point since our Nation’s Founding has a person’s immigration status alone served as a basis for excluding that person from the total population count used in apportionment. Before the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, the Constitution did not give equal weight to every person counted under the census. (U.S. Const. art. 1, sec. 2.) In accord with constitutional and statutory requirements, however, every apportionment since ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment has calculated each State’s share of Representatives based on “the whole number of persons in each State,” excluding only “Indians not taxed”—an express constitutional exception that no longer has legal or practical effect. (U.S. Const. amend. XIV, sec. 2; 2 U.S.C. 2a(a).) The term “persons in each State” has always been understood to include every person whose usual place of residence was in that State as of the designated census date. (See, e.g., Act of Mar. 1, 1790, ch. 2, secs. 1, 5, 1 Stat. 101, 103; Franklin v. Massachusetts, 505 U.S. 788, 804 (1992).) This unbroken practice has ensured that “the basis of representation in the House” is “every individual of the community at large.” (Evenwel v. Abbott, 136 S. Ct. 1120, 1127 (2016) (emphasis and quotation marks omitted).) And it reflects a sound policy judgment that the apportionment base be both clear and insulated against manipulation designed to affect the balance of power among the States.
During the 2020 Census, the President announced a policy that broke from this long tradition. It aimed to produce a different apportionment base—one that would, to the maximum extent feasible, exclude persons who are not in a lawful immigration status. See Presidential Memorandum of July 21, 2020 (Excluding Illegal Aliens From the Apportionment Base Following the 2020 Census) [formerly set out below]. This policy conflicted with the principle of equal representation enshrined in our Constitution, census statutes, and historical tradition. The policy further required the Census Bureau to inappropriately rely on records related to immigration status that were likely to be incomplete and inaccurate.
Sec. 2. Policy. Both the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and section 2a(a) of title 2, United States Code, require that the apportionment base of each State, for the purpose of the reapportionment of Representatives following the decennial census, include all persons whose usual place of residence was in that State as of the designated census date, regardless of their immigration status. These laws, affirmed by the executive branch’s longstanding historical practice, do not permit the exclusion of inhabitants of the United States from the apportionment base solely on the ground that they lack a lawful immigration status. Reflecting this legal background, and the values of equal representation and respect that the Constitution and laws embody, it is the policy of the United States that reapportionment shall be based on the total number of persons residing in the several States, without regard for immigration status. It is likewise essential that the census count be accurate and based on reliable and high-quality data.
Sec. 3. Ensuring that the Apportionment Base and State-Level Tabulations Include All Inhabitants of Each State. In preparing the report to the President required under section 141(b) of title 13, United States Code, the Secretary shall report the tabulation of total population by State that reflects the whole number of persons whose usual residence was in each State as of the designated census date in section 141(a) of title 13, United States Code, without regard to immigration status. In addition, the Secretary shall use tabulations of population reflecting the whole number of persons whose usual residence was in each State as of the census date, without regard to immigration status, in reports provided to the Governor and officers or public bodies having responsibility for legislative apportionment or districting of each State under section 141(c) of title 13, United States Code.
Sec. 4. Data Quality. The Secretary shall take all necessary steps, consistent with law, to ensure that the total population information presented to the President and to the States is accurate and complies with all applicable laws.
Sec. 5. Revocation. Executive Order 13880 of July 11, 2019 (Collecting Information About Citizenship Status in Connection With the Decennial Census) [formerly set out above], and the Presidential Memorandum of July 21, 2020 (Excluding Illegal Aliens From the Apportionment Base Following the 2020 Census), are hereby revoked.
Sec. 6. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
Memorandum of President of the United States, July 21, 2020, 85 F.R. 44679, which excluded from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status for the purpose of the reapportionment of Representatives following the 2020 census, was revoked by Ex. Ord. No. 13986, § 5, Jan. 20, 2021, 86 F.R. 7016, set out above.