Demographics and Race

Encyclopedia of Race and Racism
Publication Documents

The United States Census has collected information about race ever since the first census was taken in 1790. Indeed,
the Census and the collection of information about race were originally mandated in the U.S. Constitution. In
Article One, Section Two, the founders of the United States set forth the language for collecting information about race in the decennial census:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be
included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three
fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.