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Government Statistics

Census 2010

2010 Census data is now available via the new American Factfinder website (see below).

Statistics collected by the Census help gather information to build and increase resources for your community. Data collected from the Census provides quick as well as detailed facts about the population of the U.S.

Questions change from Census to Census (sometimes dramatically) which means that the statistics available change from decade to decade. The easiest way to find out what information is available for a specific Census is to look at the Census questionnaires. If the question wasn’t asked, the information isn’t available. It’s that simple. For copies of the original Census Questionnaires since 1790, see the Census publication Measuring America: The Decennial Censuses from 1790 to 2000


Census Basics

Older Census information

1890 US Census

Because June 1 was a Sunday, the 1890 enumeration began on June 2. The census employed 175 supervisors, with one or more appointed to each state or territory, except Alaska and the Indian Territory. Subdivisions assigned to a single enumerator were not to exceed 4,000 inhabitants. In cities designated by 1880 census results to have populations under 10,000, the enumeration was to be completed within two weeks. Enumerators were required to collect all information required by the act by a personal visit to each dwelling and family.

The 1890 questionnaire retained almost all of the inquiries from the 1880 census, and a few new questions were added. The 1890 census included a greater number of subjects than any previous census and more than would be included in those immediately following. New entries included questions about ownership and indebtedness of farms and homes; the names, as well as units served in, length of service and residences of surviving Union soldiers and sailors and the names of the widows of those who had died. Another new question dealt with race, including "Japanese" as a category for the first time, along with "Chinese," "Negro," "mulatto," "quadroon," "octoroon," and "white."

1900 US Census

n the act authorizing the 1900 census, Congress limited census content to questions dealing with population, mortality, agriculture, and manufacturing. Reports on these topics, called "Census Reports," were to be published by June 30, 1902. The act also authorized special census agents to collect statistics relating to incidents of deafness, blindness, insanity, juvenile delinquency, and the like; as well as on religious bodies; utilities; mining; and transportation, among others. These statistics were to be collected following the completion of the regular census. The preparation of the special reports developed from these statistics was to be accomplished in such a way so as to not interfere with the completion of the Census Reports.

1910 US Census:

Under the provisions of the census act of July 2, 1909, the thirteenth census was administered. In accordance with the provisions of the act, general population and Indian population schedules were prepared. The schedules used for Hawaii and Puerto Rico, although similar to the general population schedule, differed slightly from those used within the United States.

Census enumerators began canvassing the Nation on April 15, 1910.1 The law gave census takers 2 weeks to complete their work in cities of 5,000 inhabitants or more, while enumerators in smaller and rural areas were allotted 30 days to complete their task.

1 The change of “census day” from June1 to April 15 was made up on the suggestion of the Census Bureau. It was believed that the April 15 date would be more desirable, since a large number of people are away from their homes in June.

1920 US Census:

The Fourteenth Census Act of July 2, 1909, provided for the 1920 and subsequent censuses; however, numerous minor changes were sought prior to the census, so a new law was enacted on March 3, 1919. This act designated a 3-year decennial census period, beginning July 1, 1919. During this 3-year period, the act provided for an increased workforce at the Census Bureau’s head quarters in Washington, DC, and for the creation of a special field force to collect census data.

1930 US Census:

Under the direction of William M. Steuart, Director of the Census, and in accordance with the Fifteenth Census Act, approved June 18, 1929, “a census of population, agriculture, irrigation, drainage, distribution, unemployment, and mines [was] taken by the Director of the Census” on April 1, 1930. The census encompassed each state and Washington, DC, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. A census of Guam, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands was taken in the same year by the islands’ respective governors, and a census of the Panama Canal Zone was taken by the governor of that area.

1940 US Census:

The Sixteenth Census of the United States covered the continental United States, Alaska, American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, the Panama Canal Zone, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands of the United States, the military and consular services abroad, and naval services abroad or in American waters, but not at a fixed station.1 Persons in the military services were enumerated as residents of the states, counties, and minor civil divisions in which their posts of duty were located (members of their families were enumerated at the place in which they resided). The crews of American merchant marine vessels were enumerated as part of the population of the port from which the vessel operated

1950 US Census:

As in 1930 and 1940, the 1950 Census was conducted according to the terms of the Fifteenth Census Act. The enumeration began on April 1, 1950, with 90 percent of the population having been enumerated by the end of the month (weather delayed enumeration in some areas until mid-May). All but 1 percent of the population had been enumerated by the end of June 1950

Historical Census Data

The first census began more than a year after the inauguration of President Washington and shortly before the second session of the first Congress ended. Congress assigned responsibility for the 1790 census to the marshals of the U.S. judicial districts under an act which, with minor modifications and extensions, governed census taking through 1840. The law required that every household be visited, that completed census schedules be posted in "two of the most public places within [each jurisdiction], there to remain for the inspection of all concerned..." and that "the aggregate amount of each description of persons" for every district be transmitted to the president.