Key Themes: Reflections from the Child Indicators Projects. Census 2000


  • The main purpose of Census 2000 is to count the population every 10 years, while the American Community Survey provides yearly updated information on the characteristics of the population. Both provide statistics for small geographic areas and small population groups. The questions on the American Community Survey provide indicators that are similar to those of the Census 2000 long form.
  • The Census 2000 short form asks seven questions of evey person and housing unit in the U.S. about age, race, Hispanic origin, gender, household relationship, and housing tenure (owner or rented). Field staff determine characteristics of vacant housing units.
    • Respondents could select one or more races, a change from 1990. As in past Censuses, there is a separate question on Hispanic origin.
    • Less than 2 percent of the total U.S. population marked two or more races; the percentage is higher among children. There are 126 race and Hispanic origin categories in some Census products. Most products, however, show only the counts of those who reported six single racial groups and "two or more races." See Sharon M. Lee, Using the New Racial Categories in the 2000 Census, (
  • Additional questions are asked in the long form of a sample of housing units and people living in group quarters.
    • Population statistics are provided on a range of topics including marital status, place of birth/citizenship, disability, ancestry, migration, language spoken at home and ability to speak English, school enrollment and educational attainment, grandparents as caregivers, place of work and journey to work, occupation, industry and class of worker, work status in the week before the Census or the last year in which the person worked, and income in 1999.
    • A new question asked about grandparents as caregivers for dependent children and for how long they had been responsible for their basic needs.
    • In Census 2000, the disability question specifically asks about vision or hearing impairments as well as conditions that limit learning or remembering.
    • Housing statistics based on the long form include number of rooms and bedrooms, plumbing and kitchen facilities, the age and value of the housing unit, and questions to indicate housing affordability including the cost and type of utilities, mortgage/rent paid, and taxes and insurance.
    • Results are available for geographic levels, including the Block (short form information only), Block Group, Census Tract, County, Metropolitan area, state, and national levels.
  • A significant change from the 1990 Census is the race question. Various groups are working out options for comparing racial categories from the 1990 and 2000 Censuses.
  • Information about Census 2000 products, documentation, and the product release schedule are on the Census Bureau's website: Other sites: