Harry S. Truman photo

Proclamation 2876—Seventeenth Decennial Census

March 18, 1950

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Whereas, pursuant to the acts of Congress approved June 18, 1929, 46 Stat. 21, and July 15, 1949 (Public Law 171, 81st Congress, 1st Session), the Seventeenth Decennial Census of the United States will be taken beginning April 1, 1950; and

Whereas this Census, which will mark the one hundred and sixtieth anniversary of the first United States Census, is required by the Constitution of the United States to determine the apportionment among the several States of seats in the House of Representatives; and

Whereas during the ten years intervening since the Sixteenth Census a great World War in which our Nation has been involved has wrought unparalleled changes in the growth, location, and characteristics of our people and in their housing and industries, and has made it more essential than ever before that we have a current inventory of the Nation's people, homes, farms, and other resources to guide us in the future:

Now, Therefore, I, Harry S. Truman, President of the united States of America, do hereby declare and make known that under the aforesaid acts of Congress, it is the duty of every person over eighteen years of age to answer all questions in the census schedules applying to him and the family to which he belongs, and to the farm or home occupied by him or his family, and that any person refusing to do so is subject to penalty as provided by law.

The sole purpose of the Census is to secure general statistical information regarding the population, its characteristics, its homes, and its farms. Replies are required from individuals only to enable the compilation of such general statistics. No person can be harmed in any way by furnishing the information required. Individual information collected under the Seventeenth Decennial Census will not be used for purposes of taxation, investigation, or regulation, or in connection with military or jury service, the compulsion of school attendance, the regulation of immigration, or with the enforcement of any national, state, or local law, or ordinance. There need be no fear that disclosure will be made regarding any individual person or his affairs. For the due protection of the rights and interests of the persons furnishing information, every employee of the Census Bureau is prohibited, under heavy penalty, from disclosing any information which may come to his knowledge by reason of his employment.

Life and liberty in a free democracy entail a variety of cooperative actions for the common good. The prompt, complete, and accurate answering of all official inquiries made by Census officials should be regarded as one of the requirements of good citizenship and an exercise in fundamental democracy.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington this 18th day of March in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and fifty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and seventy-fourth.

Signature of Harry S. Truman


By the President:


Secretary of State.

Harry S Truman, Proclamation 2876—Seventeenth Decennial Census Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/287351

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