Skip to content

Decennial Census Official Publications

1880
  • 2010
  • 2000
  • 1990
  • 1980
  • 1950
  • 1940
  • 1930
  • 1920
  • 1910
  • 1900
  • 1890
  • 1880
  • 1870
  • 1860
  • 1850
  • 1840
  • 1830
  • 1820
  • 1810
  • 1800
  • 1790
1880
Component ID: #ti358081547

Information about the 1880 Census

The 1880 census was carried out under a law enacted March 3, 1879. Additional amendments to the law were made on April 20, 1880, and appropriations made on June 16, 1880-16 days after the actual enumeration had begun.

The new census law specifically handed over the supervision of the enumeration to a body of officers, known as supervisors of the census, specifically chosen for the work of the census, and appointed in each state or territory, of which they should be residents before March 1, 1880.

Each supervisor was responsible for recommending the organization of his district for enumeration, choosing enumerators for the district and supervising their work, reviewing and transmitting the returns from the enumerators to the central census office, and overseeing the compensation for enumerators in each district.

Each enumerator was required by law "to visit personally each dwelling house in his sub-division, and each family therein, and each individual living out of a family in any place of abode, and by inquiry made of the head of such family, or of the member there of deemed most credible and worthy of trust, or of such individual living out of a family, to obtain each and every item of information and all the particulars." In case no one was available at a family's usual place of abode, the enumerator was directed by the law "to obtain the required information, as nearly as may be practicable, from the family or families, or person or persons, living nearest to such place of abode."

The 1879 census act also provided for the collection of detailed data on the condition and operation of railroad corporations, incorporated express companies, and telegraph companies, and of life, fire, and marine insurance companies (using Schedule No.4 - Social Statistics). In addition, the Superintendent of Census was required to collect and publish statistics of the population, industries, and resources of Alaska, with as much detail as was practical. An enumeration was made of all untaxed Indians within the jurisdiction of the United States to collect as much information about their condition as possible.

The following five schedules were authorized by the 1880 census act:

  • Schedule No. 1 - Population. The 1880 schedule was similar to that used previously, with a few exceptions.
  • Schedule No. 2 - Mortality. The schedule used the same inquiries as in 1870, and added inquiries to record marital status, birth place of parents, length of residence in the United States or territory, and name of place where the disease was contracted, if other than place of death. The Superintendent of Census was authorized to withdraw the mortality schedule in those areas where an official registration of death was maintained, and the required statistics were then collected from these administrative records.
  • Schedule No. 3 - Agriculture. In addition to greatly expanded inquiries concerning various crops (including acreage for principal crop), questions were added to collect data on farm tenure, weeks of hired labor, annual cost for fence building and repair, fertilizer purchases, and the number of livestock as of June 1, 1880.
  • Schedule No. 4 - Social Statistics. Section 18 of the March 3, 1879, census act made the collection of social statistics the responsibility of experts and special agents, not the enumerators. Although some data were collected by enumerators using the general population schedule (Schedule No.1), the majority of the data were collected through correspondence with officials of institutions providing care and treatment of certain members of the population. Experts and special agents also were employed to collect data on valuation, taxation, and indebtedness; religion; libraries; colleges, academies, and schools; newspapers and periodicals, and wages.
  • Schedule No. 5 - Relating to Manufactures. In addition to the inquiries made in 1870, this schedule contained new inquiries as to the greatest number of hands employed at any time during the year, the number of hours in the ordinary work day from May to November and November to May, the average daily wages paid to skilled mechanics and laborers, months of full-and part-time operation, and machinery used. Special agents were charged with collecting data on specific industries through out the country, and included the manufactures of iron and steel; cotton, woolen, and worsted goods; silk and silk goods; chemical products and salt; coke and glass; shipbuilding; and all aspects of fisheries and mining, including the production of coal and petroleum.


Related Information


X
  Is this page helpful?
Thumbs Up Image Yes    Thumbs Down Image No
X
No, thanks
255 characters remaining
X
Thank you for your feedback.
Comments or suggestions?