|The Growth and Distribution of American Cities:
1790 to 2000
Census in Schools
When the first decennial census of the United States was taken in 1790, the new nation was lightly populated, containing only a handful of port cities with more than 10,000 persons. In the two centuries since then, the nation's population has grown many times over, expanded westward, and become far more urban. The spread of cities across the American landscape is one of the more compelling stories of demographic growth and change. This series of 22 maps graphically presents this story. Population data were compiled for all incorporated places in the United States (and minor civil divisions in New England) containing at least 10,000 persons in any decennial census. Maps were then created for each decennial year 1790 through 2000, showing locations and size classes of those cities. When compared, the maps provide a fascinating visual representation of growth of American cities through time and changes in their distribution across the country.
Maps (PDF format)