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.
For access to volumes not available, please contact your local Federal Depository Library.
The 1870 census commenced on June 1, 1870, and was taken under the provisions of the census act of May 23, 1850.1 The Secretary of Interior appointed General Francis A. Walker Superintendent of the Ninth Census on February 7, 1870.2 Although the 1870 Census was under the 1850 act, a new bill approved on May 6, 1870, made the following changes:
Redesigned schedules used for 1870 and the omission of a “slave” schedule made possible several additional inquiries as follows:
The 1870 enumeration was completed on August 23, 1871. The work of compiling the census data, a portion of which was tallied using a machine invented by Charles W. Seaton, was completed in 1872.
1 Although a Congressional committee stated that the 1860 Census had been “the most complete census that any Nation has ever had,” it was recognized that the 1850 act was inadequate to meet the changing conditions in which the 1870 Census would need to be conducted. A special committee of the U.S. House of Representatives (Second Session, Forty-First Congress) investigated and reported on the need for a new census act. The committee’s report was submitted as a bill on January 18, 1870. This bill was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, but defeated in the Senate, compelling the use of the 1850 Census act.
2 General Walker was one of several “experts” participating in the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee deliberations on the 1870 Census. Prior to being appointed Superintendent of the Ninth Census, Walker was Chief of the Bureau of Statistics, which then was an agency within the Treasury Department.