The U.S. Census began on Tuesday, Jan. 21, in Toksook Bay. Inclement weather kept the census workers from flying into the community in the morning as scheduled. By the afternoon, the clouds lifted, allowing the census crew to land.
The community selected their oldest resident, 90-year-old Lizzy Chimiugak, to be the first person counted in the nation. U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham did the honors of enumerating her.
The census will now roll out across Alaska. In March, it will move to the remaining states and U.S. territories. The census begins early in Alaska to accommodate the rural state's complex logistics of enumerating across remote communities before spring breakup beckons residents to fish camp.
The U.S. Constitution requires that the government count the number of people living in the United States every 10 years. The numbers determine how many representatives each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives and how much government money will be available to communities over the next decade.