Since 1903, the official census-taking organ of the United States government has been the Bureau of the Census. The Bureau is headed by a Director, assisted by a Deputy Director and an Executive Staff composed of the associate directors. The Bureau has 12 regional offices with additional processing centers set up temporarily for the decennial censuses.
The sole purpose of the censuses and surveys is to secure general statistical information. Replies are obtained from individuals and establishments only to enable the compilation of such general statistics. The confidentiality of these replies is very important. By law, no one — neither the census takers nor any other Census Bureau employee — is permitted to reveal identifiable information about any person, household, or business. However, for extremely small villages this is done anyway, see below.