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History

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Legislation

Legislation 1789 - 1820

  • The Constitution of the United States of America: Article 1, Section 2 Download PDF [9.54KB PDF]
    • Requiring a decennial census of population for the purpose of the apportionment of the House of Representatives and federal tax burden.
  • Census Act of 1790 (March 1, 1790) Download PDF [360KB PDF]
    • Authorizing legislation for the 1790 census. Provided basic instructions to marshals pertaining to the basic required content of the census and their conduct in taking it.
  • Census Act of 1790: Extension (July 5, 1790) Download PDF [96KB PDF]
    • Extension of authorizing legislation for the 1790 census in Rhode Island.
  • Census Act of 1790: Extension (March 2, 1791) Download PDF [164KB PDF]
    • An act giving effect to the laws of the United States within the state of Vermont, including the enumeration of inhabitants.
  • Census Act of 1790: Extension (November 8, 1791) Download PDF [252KB PDF]
    • An act granting additional time to conduct the enumeration of inhabitants in South Carolina.
  • Census Act of 1800 (February 28, 1800) Download PDF [2.0MB PDF]
    • Authorizing legislation for the 1800 census. Increased the number of questions asked, including a more detailed breakdown of household members by age group, and the name of the county or town in which the family resided.
  • Census Act of 1810 (March 26, 1810) Download PDF [1.08MB PDF]
    • Authorizing legislation for the 1810 census. The law now stated that enumeration was to be made "by an actual inquiry at every dwelling house, or of the head of every family within each district, and not otherwise."
  • An Act providing for the third Census or enumeration of the inhabitants of the United States (April 12, 1810) Download PDF [9.23MB PDF]
    • An Act to alter and amend the earlier 1810 census act.
  • An Act of May 1, 1810 (Ch. 38) Download PDF [194KB PDF]
    • Instructed assistant marshals to, along with collecting demographic information, also give "an account of the several manufacturing establishments and manufactures within their several districts…" This would be the first economic census.
  • An Act to extend the time for completing the third census (March 2, 1811) Download PDF [9.23MB PDF PDF]
    • An Act to extend the time for completing the third census, or enumeration of the inhabitants of the United States.
  • Census Act of 1820 (March 14, 1820) Download PDF [1.10MB PDF]
    • Authorizing legislation for the 1820 census. Very similar to previous census acts, although it authorized a second census of manufactures.
  • An Act providing for the fourth census act (March 3, 1821) Download PDF [9.13MB PDF PDF]
    • An Act to amend the act, entitled "An Act providing for the fourth census or enumeration of the inhabitants of the United States, and for other purposes.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Census History Staff | Last Revised: December 17, 2020