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hands employed by sex and specified age groups, (3) total annual salaries paid, and (4) time of full- and part-time operation.

Schedule No. 5 - Social Statistics. The 1860 schedule was modified to incorporate the questions on (1) bonded and other debt of counties, cities, towns, and townships, parishes, and boroughs, (2) pauperism and crime by race ("native black" and "native white"); (3) number of church organizations and church buildings; (4) number of teachers and students; (5) kinds of schools, libraries, and taxes, by type.

The 1870 enumeration was completed on August 23, 1871. The work of compiling the census data, a portion of which was tallied using a machine invented by Charles W. Seaton, was completed in 1872.

The Tenth Census: 1880

The 1880 census was carried out under a law enacted March 3, 1 879. Additional amendments to the law were made on April 20, 1880, and appropriations made on June 16, 1880—16 days after the actual enumeration had begun.

The new census law specifically handed over the supervision of the enumeration to a body of officers, known as supervisors of the census, specifically chosen for the work of the census, and appointed in each state or territory, of which they should be residents before March 1, 1880.

Each supervisor was responsible for recommending the organization of his district for enumeration, choosing enumerators for the district and supervising their work, reviewing and transmitting the returns from the enumerators to the central census office, and overseeing the compensation for enumerators in each district.

Each enumerator was required by law "to visit personally each dwelling house in his subdivision, and each family therein, and each individual living out of a family in any place of abode, and by inquiry made of the head of such family, or of the member thereof deemed most credible and worthy of trust, or of such individual living out of a family, to obtain each and every item of information and all the particulars." In case no one was available at a family's usual place of abode, the enumerator was directed by the law "to obtain the required information, as nearly as may be practicable, from the family or families, or person or persons, living nearest to such place of abode." The 1879 census act also provided for the collection of detailed data on the condition and operation of railroad corporations, incorporated express companies, and telegraph companies, and of life, fire, and marine insurance companies (using Schedule No. 4 - Social Statistics). In addition, the Superintendent of Census was required to collect and publish statistics of the population, industries, and

resources of Alaska, with as much detail as was practical. An enumeration was made of all untaxed Indians within the jurisdiction of the United States to collect as much information about their condition as possible.

The following five schedules were authorized by the 1 880 census act:

Schedule No. 1 - Population. The 1880 schedule was similar to that used previously, with a few exceptions.

Schedule No. 2 - Mortality. The schedule used the same inquiries as in 1 870, and added inquiries to record marital status, birthplace of parents, length of residence in the United States or territory, and name of place where the disease was contracted, if other than place of death.

The Superintendent of Census was authorized to withdraw the mortality schedule in those areas where an official registration of death was maintained, and the required statistics were then collected from these administrative records.

Schedule No. 3 - Agriculture. In addition to greatly
expanded inquiries concerning various crops (includ-
ing acreage for principal crop), questions were added
to collect data on farm tenure, weeks of hired labor,
annual cost for fence building and repair, fertilizer
purchases, and the number of livestock as of
June 1, 1880.

Schedule No. 4 - Social Statistics. Section 18 of the
March 3, 1879, census act made the collection of
social statistics the responsibility of experts and spe-
cial agents, not the enumerators. Although some data
were collected by enumerators using the general
population schedule (Schedule No. 1), the majority of
the data were collected through correspondence with
officials of institutions providing care and treatment of
certain members of the population. Experts and spe-
cial agents also were employed to collect data on valu-
ation, taxation, and indebtedness; religion; libraries;
colleges, academies, and schools; newspapers and
periodicals, and wages.

Schedule No. 5 - Relating to Manufactures. In addition to the inquiries made in 1870, this schedule contained new inquiries as to the greatest number of hands employed at any time during the year, the number of hours in the ordinary work day from May to November and November to May, the average daily wages paid to skilled mechanics and laborers, months of full- and part-time operation, and machinery used.

Special agents were charged with collecting data on specific industries throughout the country, and included the manufactures of iron and steel; cotton, woolen, and worsted goods; silk and silk goods;


Measuring America chemical products and salt; coke and glass; shipbuilding; and all aspects of fisheries and mining, including the production of coal and petroleum.

Interdecennial Censuses of States and Territories: 188S

In addition to the 1880 Census, the 1879 census act also provided for interdecennial censuses by any state or territory, through their duly appointed officers, during the 2 months beginning with the first Monday of June 1885 (Stare Censuses: An Annotated Bibliography of Census of Population Taken After the Year 1790 by States and Territories of the United States, Prepared by Henry J. Dubester). The schedules used were to be similar in all respects to those used by the federal census. Upon completion of a state or territorial census, certified copies of the returns were to be forwarded to the Secretary of the Interior by September 1 of the interdecennial year. States or territories opting to conduct these censuses were provided 50 percent of the total cost to cover census operations. As a result, the states of Florida, Nebraska, and Colorado, and the territories of New Mexico and Dakota conducted censuses in 1 885. Copies of the returns were sent to the Department of the Interior, but the data were not published.

The Eleventh Census: 1890

The census of 1890 was taken, under the supervision of Robert P. Porter,14 according to an act of March 1, 1 889, and modeled after that used for the 1880 Census.

The enumeration began on June 2, 1890, because June 1 was a Sunday. The census employed 1 75 supervisors, with one or more appointed to each state or territory, exclusive of Alaska and Indian territory. Each subdivision assigned to an enumerator was not to exceed 4,000 inhabitants. Enumeration was to be completed in cities with populations under 10,000 (according to the 1880 Census results) was to be completed within 2 weeks. Enumerators were required to collect all the information required by the act by a personal visit to each dwelling and family.

As in 1880, experts and special agents were hired to make special enumerations of manufactures,15 Indians living within the jurisdiction of the United States, and a separate enumeration of Alaska. Furthermore, the schedule collecting social statistics was withdrawn from enumerators; the work of obtaining statistics concerning mines and mining, fisheries, churches, education, insurance, transportation, and wealth, debt, and taxation, also was conducted by experts and special agents.

Robert B. Porter served as Superintendant of Census until his resignation on July 31, 1893. On October 3, 1893, Congress enacted a law that directed census-related work to continue under the direction of the Commissioner of Labor. On March 2, 1895, a further act of Congress closed the census office and transferred the unfinished work to the office of the Secretary of the Interior, where it continued until July 1, 1897.'6

The results of the 1890 Census are contained in 25 volumes, plus a three-part compendium, statistical atlas, and an abstract. The complete results from the special enumeration of survivors of the Civil War were not published (the schedules of which were turned over to the Bureau of Pensions); however, the special inquiry on Schedule 1 (general population schedule) regarding Union and Confederate veterans were published in the report on population.

The Twelfth Census: 1900

The twelfth census of the United States was conducted under the terms of the census act of March 3, 1 899, and supervised by the Director of the Census, William R. Merriam. The enumeration was conducted in each state and organized territory, including Washington, DC, Alaska, Hawaii, and "Indian Territory."17 The census was taken as of June 1, 1900, and was to be completed in 2 weeks in places of 8,000 inhabitants or more (as of the 1890 Census) and 1 month in rural districts. The United States and its territories were divided into 297 supervisors' districts, which were subdivided into 52,726 enumeration districts.

The enumeration of military and naval personnel (within the country and abroad) was conducted through the Departments of War and the Navy. Similarly, the enumeration of the "Indian Territory" was carried out in cooperation with the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Large institutions (prisons, hospitals, etc.) were enumerated through the appointment of special "institution" enumerators.

Enumerators were much more closely supervised during the 1900 Census. In large cities, special agents were appointed to assist the census supervisor. Enumerators used "street books," in which a record of each enumerator's work was made on a daily basis. Enumerators used individual census slips for obtaining a correct return for any person (particularly lodgers and boarders) absent at the time of the enumerator's visit. Additionally, "absent family" schedules were used for securing a complete record for any person residing within the enumeration district, but temporarily absent.

'''Robert P. Porter was appointed as Superintendent of Census by the President on April 1 7, 1889. He resigned the position on July 31. 1893.

isln 1890, the manufactures schedules were withdrawn from the general enumeration for 1,042 "important" manufacturing centers (opposed to 279 in 1 880). Special agents were responsible for collecting the detailed data in these areas.

l6The Commissioner of Labor continued his supervisory role of census-related work until October 5, 1897 (serving since October 1, 1865 without compensation), when upon his request, he was relieved by the Secretary of Interior.

1 'Censuses were not conducted until 1890 of Indian Territory. Alaska's first census was conducted in 1880. Hawaii was annexed by the United States on August 12, 1898. Therefore, the 1900 Census was the first census of the islands taken under the supervision of the United States. The Hawaiian Government, however, did conduct censuses every 6 years, from 1866 to 1896.

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The Thirteenth Census: 1910

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.'8 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.

The Fourteenth Census: 1920

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 work force at the Census Bureau's headquarters in Washington, DC, and for the creation of a special field force to collect census data.

Section 20, of the Fourteenth Census Act, provided that the enumeration of the population should be made as of January 1, 1920.'9 Under the direction of the Director of the Census, Samuel L. Rogers, the work of actual enumeration began on January 2, 1920. The census covered the United States, the outlying possessions (excluding the Philippines and the Virgin Islands, the military, Red Cross, consular services abroad, and the naval service abroad or in American waters, but not on a fixed station.)20

For the country as a whole and for states and political subdivisions within the country, the population enumerated was the resident population. The enumerators (according to the census law), were instructed to enumerate persons at their "usual place of abode"—i.e., their permanent home or

"The change of "census day" from June 1 to April 1 5 was made upon the suggestion of the Census Bureau. It was believed that the April 1 5 date would be more desirable, since a large number of people are away from their homes in June.

l9The date was changed upon the request of the Department of Agriculture and users of agricultural statistics. The new date had advantages for the agricultural census—the past years work on all farms had been finished, and the new years work had not yet begun. The majority of farmers would have been occupying the farms they had the previous year, whereas, a few months later, many renters would have moved to other farms. Furthermore, the birth of livestock increases greatly during the Spring and early Summer. Therefore, a livestock census referring to January 1, 1920, would be far more valuable than one taken several months later.

20No provision was made by the Fourteenth Census Act for the enumeration of the Philippines. Censuses of the Philippines were conducted by the Philippine Commission in 1903. A second was conducted by the Philippines Government on December 31, 191 8 (but called the "1919 Census"). A special census of the Virgin Islands was conducted by the United States, November 1, 1917.

regular lodging place. Persons were not always counted in the places where they happened to be found by the enumerators or where they transacted their daily business. Persons temporarily absent from their usual places of abode (i.e., on business, traveling, attending school, or in hospitals) were enumerated at the places where they habitually resided and the information for these people was obtained from relatives or acquaintances. Persons having no fixed place of abode were required by the census law to be enumerated where they slept on the night of January 1, 1920.

The Fifteenth Census: 1930

Under the direction of William M. Steuart, Director of the Census, and in accordance with the Fifteenth Census Act, approved June 1 8, 1929, "a census of population, agriculture, irrigation, drainage, distribution, unemployment, and mines [was] taken by the Director of the Census" on April 1 , 1 930. 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.

In addition to population data, the 1930 census also collected the following statistics:

Agriculture. Acreage of farm; value of land and buildings; mortgage debt; expenditures for labor, feed, and fertilizer; farm machinery and facilities; acreage, yield, and value of crops; quantity and value of livestock.

Manufacturing (with similar data collected from mines and quarries). Quantity and value of products; the number of salaried employees and wage earners; aggregate payments for salaries and wages; the cost of materials and fuel.

Distribution. Kind of business; type of operation; net sales; number of employees; total amount paid in salaries and wages; stocks on hand.

Construction. Data was collected from general contractors, subcontractors, and operative builders regarding value of construction; wage payments; cost of materials; and subcontract work performed or let.


Data from families and establishments were transferred to punch cards—approximately 300,000,000 in all21—and were processed by electronic sorting and "automatic tabulating machine" at the rate of approximately 400 per minute. These tabulations provided the raw data necessary for the compilation of statistical tables prepared by clerks and statisticians.22

^Approximately 125,000,000 punch cards were used to tabulate the data for the population. Fifteen or more cards were required for each farm, thus, the census of agriculture comprised an additional 1 50,000,000 cards.

"William L. Austin, "Bureau of the Census," reprinted from. The United States Department of CommerceHow it Serves You on Land, And Sea, And in The Air. Pp. 4-5.


Measuring America

1930 Census of Unemployment

A Census of Unemployment was conducted, in conjunction with the 1930 census, by an act of May 3, 1928. This special enumeration collected data on persons who usually worked for wages or a salary, but were not working at the time the census was taken.

William M. Steuart, Director of the Census, said "the results of the [unemployment] census will furnish a picture of the unemployment situation as indicated not only by the number of unemployed but by the attendant circumstance of unemployment. It will bring the answer to certain fundamental questions about which nothing definite is known at present. Obviously, something more than a mere knowledge of the number of persons out of work is needed, if we are to measure fairly and accurately, without exaggeration and without understatement, the gravity of the unemployment situation. We need the census to know the facts.23"

Enumerators were instructed to complete an unemployment schedule for every person responding "No" in column 25 of the general population schedule. The "unemployed" were grouped into two classes—those having a job but temporarily laid-off on account of a lack of orders, weather, sickness, etc.; and those who were unemployed but want to work.

The unemployment census provided data concerning the number of men and women unemployed, the average age of the unemployed, how many of the unemployed were married and single, how long they had been out of work, and the leading reasons for unemployment in the United States. Data were made available for the Nation, individual segments of the population (i.e., by age, race, marital status, etc.), and for the foreign-born and native populations.

The Sixteenth Census: 1940

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.24 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.

No apportionment had been done after the 1920 Census— the 1910 apportionment remained in effect. Consequently, the 1929 act included provisions that, for the 1930 and subsequent censuses, (unless the Congress, within a specified time enacted legislation providing for apportionment on a different basis) the apportionment should automatically be made by the method last used. In accordance with this act, a report was submitted by the President to the Congress on December 4, 1 930, showing the apportionment computations both by the method of major fractions (which was used in 1910) and by the method of equal proportions. In 1931, in the absence of additional legislation, the method of major fractions was automatically followed.25

In the application of this method, the Representatives are so assigned that the average population per Representative has the least possible variation as between one state and any other. As a result, California gained three Representatives between 1930 and 1940 and six other states— Arizona, Florida, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, and Tennessee—each gained one. To balance these gains (since the number of Representatives in the House was not changed), nine states lost one Representative each—Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania.

Four notable changes were made to the 1940 Census, including the addition of the housing schedule, the sampling procedure (both discussed in further detail below), the incorporation of the questions on employment and unemployment onto the general population26 schedule, and inquiries into migration.27

1940 Census of Housing

On August 11,1939, a national census of housing was approved by the Congress, "to provide information concerning the number, characteristics (including utilities and equipment), and geographic distribution of dwelling structures and dwelling units in the United States. The Director of the Census shall take a census of housing in each state, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Alaska, in the year 1940 in conjunction with, and at the same time, and as part of the population inquiry of the sixteenth decennial census."

The housing inquiries were collected via a separate census, partly because they were added by legislation late in the census planning, and partly because the nature of the questions so differed from those of the census of population.

"Undated memorandum, "The Census of Unemployment." Pp. 3-4.

24Again, the Philippine Islands were not included in the United States decennial census. The commonwealth of the Philippines conducted a census in 1939. The statistics from this census were then included in the data from the 1940 Census.

2Sln 1941, this law was amended to the effect that apportionment based on the 1 940 and subsequent censuses should be made by the method of equal proportions.

26These inquiries had been made by special Census of Unemployment in 1930 (See 1930 Unemployment Census).

27A question was added asking, for each person 5 years old and above, the residence on April I, 1935. These data were coded and compared to the place of residence in 1940, thus providing, for the first time, statistics on population movement.

Measuring America

135 The information collected by the two schedules was collected, however, by the same enumerator, at the same time as those for the population schedule.

Use of Sampling in the 1940 Census. The 1940 sample was a representative cross-section of the entire population. Tabulations made from the sample would be as nearly as possible the same as if information concerning every person had been obtained. The sample enlarged the scope of the census and facilitated tabulations in the following ways:

■ Since the supplementary questions were asked only

1 /20th (5-percent sample) as often as they would have in a complete census, the speed of field work was increased and carried out at a reduced cost, thus making it possible to carry more questions on the schedule.

■ Tabulations based on the sample could be completed months ahead of the regular tabulations prepared from the general population—an especially important feature in times of national emergency and for obtaining quick preliminary counts of the distribution of the labor force by area, sex, age, etc.

■ The reduced cost of sample tabulations permitted the publication of data that otherwise would not be possible.

■ Sample cards could be stored for subsequent tabulations not feasible for the entire population as the need arose.

■ Sampling helped to adapt the census to newly developed needs, and to maintain continuity from one census to another.

Participants were selected for the sample by designating 2 of the 40 lines on each side of the schedule as sample lines and instructing the enumerators to ask the supplementary questions for each person whose name happened to fall on these lines. This method resulted in a 5-percent sample of all the lines in each geographic area. The actual percentage of persons drawn from the sample from any district would vary by chance, depending on how the names happened to "line up" as the enumerators proceeded with their enumeration.

The Seventeenth Census: 1950

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.

The 1950 census encompassed the continental United
States, the Territories of Alaska and Hawaii, American
Samoa, the Canal Zone, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin
Islands of the United States, and some of the smaller

islands and island groups within the United States' possession.28 The census also made special provisions for the enumeration of American citizens living abroad (and their dependents), including the armed forces of the United States, employees of the United States Government, and the crews of vessels in the American Merchant Marine at sea or in foreign ports.

The census of Americans living abroad was attempted through cooperative arrangements with the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the United States Maritime Administration, and other federal agencies concerned. These agencies took the responsibility for the distribution and collection of specially designed census questionnaires for individuals and households. Other persons living abroad were to be reported by their families or neighbors in the United States; however, the quality of these data was considered suspect and they were not included in the published statistics.

Procedures to improve coverage. Several aids were employed to improve the completeness of the 1950 Census coverage. The most prominent were as follows:

■ A longer and better planned period of training was provided for enumerators.

■ Each enumerator was furnished with a map of his enumeration district, showing the boundaries of the area for which they were responsible.

e An infant card had to be completed for each baby born after January 1, 1 950 (since experience had shown that babies are easily missed).

■ A crew leader was assigned to supervise each group of approximately 1 5 enumerators. The crew leader was responsible for helping enumerators with "problem cases" and for spot-checking a sample of the dwelling units assigned to them.

■ A special enumeration of persons in hotels, tourist courts, and other places where transients usually pay for quarters was made the night of April 11,1950. "Missed Person" forms were published in newspapers at the end of the field canvassing operations so persons who thought they had been missed could complete a form and mail it to the district supervisors.

■ District supervisors made preliminary announcements of the population counted so that any complaints concerning the completeness of the enumeration could be submitted before the field offices were closed. If the evidence indicated an appreciable undercount, a re-enumeration of the area was conducted.

28Although some smaller islands and island groups did not participate in the census, data for their populations were collected from other sources and included in the 1950 census.


Measuring America

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