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1.1 Population in the U.S.

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IN THIS SECTION, you will learn about the population of the United States.

Discuss the following questions with a partner.

  • Which state do you think has the largest population?
  • Do you think there are more younger or older people in the United States?
  • Do you know what the median age is in the United States?
  • Is the US population increasing or decreasing?

The U.S. Census

cen•sus the official count or survey of the population

When the United States was a young country, the founding fathers wanted a nation established on different principles. Up until 1776, a census was primarily used to tax its people or to conscript young men into the army.

But the founding fathers of the United States wanted the government to be ruled by the people, and not the government to rule the people.  So “The plan was to count every person living in the newly created United States of America, and to use that count to determine representation in the Congress” (census.gov).

Today, every ten years, the United States conducts a nationwide census to count its population where it is located. “The census asks questions of people in homes and group living situations, including how many people live or stay in each home, and the sex, age and race of each person.”

Just for your interest; check out the US Census website.


Think about the questions in Topic Preview and the discussion from the video. Then write three questions you would like to ask about population.