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Population -- Oregon -- Portland Metropolitan Area, United States -- Census 2020, Demography -- Oregon -- Portland Metropolitan Area


In our increasingly polarized national environment, the census remains one of the few tasks that all United States residents share in common. The results of the census will have implications for the decade to come.

Mandated by Article I of the United States Constitution, the census is the largest peacetime mobilization in the country. Conducted at the start of each new decade, the census is an effort by the government to count every resident in the United States at the location where each person usually lives. While this once-a-decade survey might seem labor intensive, the results of the census impact every resident in the United States.

The original reason for the census as determined by the founders of the federal government was to allocate seats in the House of Representatives and by extension the Electoral College. Since then, the census’ role and importance have greatly expanded. Results from the census impact policymaking and shape the future of the United States in six major areas: apportionment, redistricting, distribution of federal funds, planning, emergency response, and the population base for federal surveys.


Originally appeared in the 2020 edition of Metroscape, published by the Population Research Center, College of Urban and Public Affairs, Portland State University.

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