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census office, organized for the purposes of the ninth census, was closed July 1, 1873, the former chief clerk of the office being retained in charge of the census records at Washington.
The results of the ninth census were published, under authority of the joint resolution of April 13, 1871, in three quarto volumes, one relating to population and social statistics, one to vital statistics, and one to statistics of industry and wealth. There was also a compendium authorized by the concurrent resolution of May 31, 1872, and a statistical atlas, based upon the returns of the ninth census, and compiled by Francis A. Walker, under the provisions of the act of March 3, 1873. The volume devoted to population and social statistics contains, besides the tables of selected ages, sex, race, nationality, and occupations, the statistics of school attendance and illiteracy, of schools, libraries, newspapers and periodicals, churches, pauperism and crime, and of areas, families, and dwellings; and, in addition, the detailed report of the operations of the census office for the year 1871, made under date of December 26, 1871, by Superintendent Walker, in which considerable space is devoted to a consideration of the difficulties and limitations of the census work, embodying remarks upon the thoroughness of the enumeration, complaints against the census, the essential viciousness of a protracted enumeration, defects of the census law, changes in the schedules of inquiry, and the errors and deficiencies in the census returns. The statistical tables are also accompanied by notes and explanations, whenever deemed necessary, indicating the degree to which the figures presented may be relied upon, and, as nearly as may be, the proportion of omission or error.
Maps and charts were employed, for the first time in the census, as a means of presenting graphically the highly interesting results and conclusions reached at the ninth census period, pertaining to the density of the population; the distribution of the colored and foreign elements, and of the natives of certain specified foreign countries; illiteracy; wealth; the range and degree of prevalence of certain diseases; range and degree of cultivation of leading agricultural products; physical characteristics of the country; and the acquisition and transfer of territory from 1780 to 1870, with a chapter of historical notes respecting the acquisition of the territory of the United States, the erection of existing and obsolete political divisions, and their successive changes in organization and area.
The total population returned at the census of 1870 was 38,558,371, (a) and the total cost of this census was $3,421,198.33, this being the whole amount appropriated for the ninth census.
a The census of 1870 was very deficient in the Southern States, and it has since been demonstrated by the census officials that the population in 1870 was approximately 39,818,449, instead of 38,558,371, as given in the report of that census.
THE TENTH CENSUS: 1880.
An effort was made to have a national census taken in 1875, the suggestion of Superintendent Walker meeting with the approval and recommendation of the Secretary of the Interior in three annual reports and forming a part of two of the annual messages of President Grant. Such a census seemed highly desirable, not only on account of the long interval between the decennial enumerations, causing the information gathered at one decennial period to become of little practical value after the expiration of the first half of the ten-year period, but also because it would constitute a noble monument to the progress of the United States during the first century of its political life. It was not contemplated, however, to use the results for the reapportionment of Congressional representation, and the proposed census was to be divested of all political character and no reapportionment was to be made until after the census of 1880. This proposal met with general approval on the part of the press of the country, and received the attention of the Centennial Committee of the House of Representatives, to whom it was referred, General Walker being called before a subcommittee to give his views concerning its feasibility.
This effort for a quinquennial census had no practical result, however, and no further action was had with respect to the census until the necessity of preparing for the tenth census was brought to the attention of Congress in 1878. General Walker, having held over as the Superintendent of the Census, was in an official position to emphasize the necessity of having more scientific methods adopted for the conduct of the census work, and, as an additional incentive, to make this census a centennial contribution of facts, in keeping with the spirit and enthusiasm of the period. The initiatory step was taken May 20, 1878, by the introduction of a bill by Mr. Garfield, but this was without practical result. Another bill was introduced January 7, 1879, by Mr. Cox, of New York, and a substitute for this bill was reported later in the month by Mr. Cox from the Select Committee on the Census, and the same bill was reported the same day in the Senate by Senator Morrill of the Senate Committee on the Tenth Census. This bill, substantially as reported, became a law March 3, 1879, but supplementary legislation, involving important amendments essential to the proper taking of the census, was had April 20, 1880, and the main appropriations for the census work were not made until June 16, 1880, two weeks after the enumeration had commenced. The census of 1880 was taken, therefore, in accordance with the provisions of these acts, by which a radical departure was made in the methods of enumeration and the scope of the census was increased to encyclopedic proportions.
By the new law, a census office was established in the Department of the Interior, and a Superintendent of the Census specifically pro
vided for, to be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, at an annual salary of $5,000, instead of, as under the law of 1850, a superintending clerk appointed by the Secretary of the Interior, at an annual salary of $3,000. It was the duty of the Superintendent of Census, under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, to superintend and direct the taking of the tenth census of the United States, in accordance with the laws relating thereto, and to perform such other duties as might be required of him by law, but the terms of service of the Superintendent and of the clerical force provided by the act of March 3, 1879, were to cease upon the completion of the work of compiling and publishing the census returns.
The entire inadequacy of the machinery provided by the law of 1850, under which the seventh, eighth, and ninth censuses had been taken, had been made clearly apparent, especially at the ninth census period, and the work of supervising the enumeration, heretofore charged upon the judicial marshals, was by the new law intrusted to a body of officers specially chosen for the work, to be known as supervisors of census, to be appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The law provided that one or more supervisors of census should be appointed in each State and Territory, of which they should be residents, and that the Secretary of the Interior should designate the number to be so appointed in each State or Territory on or before March 1, 1880; but the total number was not to exceed 150. This was more than twice the number of judicial marshals, and provided the means for securing not only a higher degree of local knowledge on the part of the supervisor, of great value in the subdivision of his district, but also a closer and more direct supervision of the actual work of enumeration.
The Superintendent and supervisors were required, before entering upon their duties, to take and subscribe to an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution of the United States, and to perform and discharge the duties of their respective offices, according to law, honestly and correctly, to the best of their abilities.
Each supervisor of census was charged, under the act of March 3, 1879, with the performance, within his own district, of the following duties:
1. To propose to the Superintendent of Census the apportionment of his district into subdivisions most convenient for the purpose of enumeration.
2. To designate to the Superintendent of Census suitable persons, and, with the consent of said Superintendent, to employ such persons as enumerators within his district, one for each subdivision, and resident therein, who shall be selected solely with reference to their fitness, and without reference to their political or party affiliations, according to the apportionment approved by the Superintendent of Census.
3. To transmit to enumerators the printed forms and schedules issued from the census office, in quantities suited to the requirements of each subdivision.
4. To communicate to enumerators the necessary instructions and directions relating to their duties and to the methods of conducting the census, and to advise with and counsel enumerators in person and by letter, as freely and fully as may be required to secure the purposes of this act; and under the direction of the Superintendent of Census, and to facilitate the taking of the census with as little delay as possible, he may cause to be distributed by the enumerators, prior to the taking of the enumeration, schedules to be filled up by the householders and others.
5. To provide for the early and safe transmission to his office of the returns of enumerators, embracing all the schedules filled by them in the course of enumeration, and for the due receipt and custody of such returns pending their transmission to the census office.
6. To examine and scrutinize the returns of enumerators, in order to ascertain whether the work has been performed in all respects in compliance with the provisions of law, and whether any town or village or integral portion of the district has been omitted from enumeration.
7. To forward to the Superintendent of Census the completed returns of his district in such time and manner as shall be prescribed by the said Superintendent, and in the event of discrepancies or deficiencies appearing in the returns from his district, to use all diligence in causing the same to be corrected or supplied.
8. To make up and forward to the Superintendent of Census the accounts required for ascertaining the amount of compensation due under the provisions of this act to each enumerator of his district.
Each supervisor, upon the completion of his duties to the satisfaction of the Secretary of the Interior, received as compensation, without reference to the size of his district, the sum of $500 in full for his services, while in certain cases an additional allowance for clerk hire was made, at the discretion of the Superintendent of Census. The enumeration districts at the census of 1880 were made much smaller than at the previous censuses and were not, under the law, to exceed 4,000 inhabitants according to the census of 1870, and the boundaries were to be clearly described by civil divisions, rivers, roads, public surveys, or other easily distinguished lines. This was a great improvement over the law of 1850, which allowed an enumeration district to contain as high as 20,000 inhabitants, but which at the census of 1870 did not, as a matter of fact, average much more than 6,000 persons.
Another important change was the time in which the general enumeration, taken as of the 1st day of June, as before, was to be com
pleted, being reduced to two weeks (12 working days) in cities having over 10,000 inhabitants under the census of 1870 and to one month (26 working days) in all other divisions, instead of covering, as at the ninth census, a period of, in round numbers, 100 working days. In the Territories and the States admitted into the Union since 1870, additional enumerators were authorized, if the census could not be properly taken within the time allowed, on account of the increase of population or of the physical features of the district.
The enumerators were required to be residents of their respective districts, except that, under the provisions of section 5 of the act of April 20, 1880, "in case it shall occur in any enumeration district that no person qualified to perform and willing to undertake the duties of enumerator resides in that district, the supervisor may appoint any fit person, resident in the county, to be the enumerator of that district." Each enumerator was required, as under the law of 1850, to be duly commissioned, under the hand of the supervisor of census of the district to which he belonged, and bearing the approval of the Superintendent of Census, and to take and subscribe to the oath or affirmation prescribed by the act for the proper performance of his duties, and to forward a copy thereof, duly authenticated, to the supervisor of his district before the date fixed for the commencement of the enumeration; and no enumerator was deemed qualified to enter upon his work until these provisions of the act had been conformed to. 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" required by the act of March 3, 1879, as amended by the act of April 20, 1880. In case no person should be found at the usual place of abode of such family or individual living out of a family competent to answer the inquiries made in compliance with the requirements of the census act, 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."
Instead of the two copies of the schedules required under the law of 1850, the enumerator was directed to forward the original schedules, duly certified, to the supervisor of his district, but before doing this, he was required, under the terms of section 6 of the act of April 20, 1880, to make and file in the office of the clerk of the county court or in the office of the court or board administering the affairs of the county to which his district belongs, a list of the names, with age, sex, and color, of all persons enumerated by him, which he shall certify to