The Missouri Census Data Center provides menu-driven access to 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010 Census Demographic Profiles for all states, counties, tracts, cities, ZIP codes and other geographic entities.
Data Links by Area allows you to select a state, county or town and see which census data products contain information for that particular place. Includes data from the American Community Survey and the 2000 and 2010 decennial census.
MCDC holdings consist of public machine readable data archive and numerous reports and dynamic web applications. A state-wide network of lead, coordinating and affiliate agencies provides users with assistance in accessing the MCDC holdings and answering questions regarding their use and interpretation.
The Census Data is used for a number of purposes:
Other surveys are taken regularly on business, economics, manufacturing, housing and other topics.
The Census Bureau also collects and disseminates data from other agencies such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Science Foundation, the National Center for Education Statistics,and the Social Security Administration.
The origins of the census trace back to the Constitution of the United States. Article 1, Section 2; the main purpose was for apportionment of the House of Representatives and determination of Federal taxes.
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.
The Census Act in 1790 provided instructions for the marshalls entrusted with the census duties and stated the type of information to be collected. There were seventeen states in 1790, and the census was to be started the first Monday in August and take nine calendar months to complete. Inhabitants were to provide full information or be subject to a $20 fine. The census was to be used for representation/allocation of resources.
The Census Bureau has more information on the history of the census.