The census tells us who we are and where we are going as a nation. The census helps our communities determine where to build everything from schools to supermarkets, and from homes to hospitals. It helps the government decide how to distribute funds and assistance to states and localities. It is also used to draw the lines of legislative districts and reapportion the seats each State holds in Congress.
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The sixth census was governed by the same general provisions of law as in 1830. Under the provisions of an act of March 3, 1839 (and amended by an act of February 26, 1840), the enumeration began on June 1, 1840. Marshals were to receive two copies of the census receipts from enumerators by November 1, 1840, one of which was to be sent to the Secretary of State by December 1, 1840.
No population questionnaire was prescribed by the Congress—the design of the questionnaire was left to the discretion of the Secretary of State, and closely followed that used in 1830. The law did specify the inquiries to be made of each household.
1840 Census: Sixth Census or Enumeration of the Inhabitants of the US
Aggregate amount of each description of persons within the United States and their territories, according to the Census of 1840.
1840 Census: Statistics of the United States of America
Aggregate value and produce, and number of persons employed in mines, agriculture, commerce, manufactures, etc.