The eighth census of the United States was authorized by the previous census' May 23, 1850 act. On the recommendation of the Secretary of the Interior, the provisions of this act were to be "adhered to, following the requirement for the taking of the eighth, or any subsequent census under its provisions, if no law, therefore, was passed before January 1 of the year in which the census was required."
By an act of May 5, 1860, a clerical force was provided for the census office and on June 1, 1860, Joseph C. G. Kennedy was appointed Superintendent. The census office and the position of Superintending Clerk were (for all practical purpose) abolished in May 1862. A portion of the clerks engaged in census work were transferred to the General Land Office where the work of the 1860 census was completed, including the publication of a two-volume census report under the direction of the Commissioner of the General Land Office.
At its conclusion, the 1860 census reported the U.S. resident population to be 31,443,321, a 35.6 percent increase from the 1850 census.