Counting more than people: Here’s everything we can learn from the census

See voter numbers, divorce rates, commute times

The census works to track the country's population growth.
The census works to track the country's population growth. (WKMG 2020)

ORLANDO, Fla. – By counting every single person in the United States and its territories, a ton of statistical information is collected to make conclusions about the population.

From how it’s growing, when people are getting married and how far they’re traveling for work, census surveys reveal more than just how many residents live in the country.

Just to make the point, the census helps compare the U.S. population to the world population. The U.S. is consistently the third most populous country in the world, with India landing the spot ahead of it by a landslide.

Back in the states, there’s about one birth every 9 seconds and one death every 11 seconds, according to census data. The census estimates about one international migrant about every 47 seconds. Each of those statistics adds up to a net gain of approximately one person every 23 seconds and this information is tracked using information collected by the Census Bureau.

You can keep track of the population changes by visiting the U.S. and World Population Clock.

The census also helps track the business of getting married. New numbers show more people are opting out a life of heavenly matrimony, with about 68% of the 125.7 million single Americans never even getting married. The divorce rate has also increased, but not at the rate at which people are ditching the couple life and choosing to fly solo.

Numbers show that most people are still getting married but the gap between those who tie the knot versus those who choose to live the single life is narrowing.

The Single Life

The good news is that the census even breaks these numbers down by state, giving people a taste of where they could perhaps find other married couples (hint: chances aren’t great in Florida). Using the interactive map below, one could see 2018 marriage and divorce rates broken down by state and compared to the national rate. People are still getting married more but singles are slowly catching up to that statistic, according to Census Bureau data.


Beyond people coupling up, the census uses its population data to track the average travel time to work. Using the statistics to create an interactive map, the Census Bureau was able to organize commute times by metro areas. After receiving the numbers, data analysts also learned the average commute time in the U.S. is 27.1 minutes. The worst average travel time seems to be around 37 minutes, with some of the shortest commutes taking about 15 minutes.


Census 2020 is happening at the same time as an election year and this year’s data could help frame election data for the next decade. The Census Bureau has compared participation in presidential elections in a number of ways, but its most popular data is organized by voter sex.

The bureau compared female and male registration and turnout data from 1980 until the 2016 elections. Numbers suggest that women do register but don’t always make it to the polls. They outpace men in both categories, though. It seemed no matter the sex, voters were determined to sound off in the 1992 election, when Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush faced off for the White House.

[CENSUS 2020: 5 facts you probably didn’t know about the 2020 census | Is your neighborhood in the undercount hot zone?]

Participation in Presidential Elections by Sex Since 1980

The Census Bureau also uses data collected from the survey to help determine the population and analyze its median income. That data assists with decisions like raising the minimum wage, housing and job creation in areas that need it. According to data comparing household incomes from 2014-2018, the median household income is about $60,293. The map below shows the median household income by county and compares incomes all over the nation.


While census data can give us a glimpse of where to find a date and how much money people may make in an area, it also helps divvy up federal funds for important social services like affordable housing and education.

To learn more about Census 2020, visit ClickOrlando.com/census.

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