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Introduction and Background: United States Economic Census

Introduction and Background

The Economic Census is conducted by the US Bureau of the Census. Data is collected every 5 years, for years ending in “2” and “7”. The Economic Census provides a detailed portrait of the Nation’s economy, from the national to the local level.

The Economic Census covers nearly all areas of the US economy in its basic collection of business establishment statistics. A few of the sectors include: Accommodation and Food Services, Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services, Arts Entertainment and Recreation, Construction, Educational Services, Finance and Insurance, Health Care and Social, Information, Management of Companies and Enterprises, Manufacturing, Mining, Except Public Administration, Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services, Real Estate and Rental and Leasing, Retail Trade, Transportation and Warehousing, Utilities, and Wholesale Trade.

There also are several related programs, The Survey of Business Owners (SBO) (Formerly known as the Surveys of Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises) provides the only comprehensive, regularly collected source of information on selected economic and demographic characteristics for businesses and business owners by gender, ethnicity, race, and veteran status. Title 13 of the United States Code authorizes this survey and provides for mandatory responses.

The Economic Census measures activity during a designated calendar year. Economic Census forms are mailed to more than 4 million companies in the United States. There are over 500 versions of the census form, each customized to particular industries. Some very small companies will not receive a census form.