EDITORIAL

Science matters for the census

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Science  23 Feb 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6378, pp. 847
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat3285

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Summary

In 1787, James Madison conceived of a scientific method to distribute political power in the United States. He proposed a decennial census of population to ensure that the membership of the House of Representatives would reflect the pattern of growth of the fledging nation. From that first census emerged a whole system of social and economic measurement serving the country. As the 2020 U.S. census approaches, the science in the census—and the value of the census for science—can easily be threatened by politics.