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Decennial Census Official Publications

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.

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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.

1880 Census Bulletin
The Census Bureau issued hundreds of bulletins from decennial censuses 1880 through 1960 containing preliminary results - first tabulations of census returns.

1880 Census: Volume 1. Statistics of the Population
Population of 50,155,783 by state, county, race, sex, age, nativity, occupations, etc., with tables on newspapers, schools, illiteracy, dependent classes, etc.

1880 Census: Volume 10. Petroleum, Coke, and Building Stones
Statistics of the mining and manufacture of petroleum; manufacture of coke; and report upon the building stones and quarry industries.

1880 Census: Volume 2. Report on the Manufactures
Statistics on the factory system, power used, and the manufacture of hardware, cutlery, iron, steel, silk, cotton, wool, chemical products, salt, glass, etc.

1880 Census: Volume 3. Report on the Productions of Agriculture
Statistics on cereal production (wheat, corn, oats, barley, rye, etc.), flour milling, tobacco culture, manufacture and movement of tobacco, meat production.

1880 Census: Volume 4. Report on the Agencies of Transportation
Statistics on railroads, steam navigation, canals, telegraphs and telephones, postal telegraphs, and note about express companies.

1880 Census: Volumes 11-12: Mortality & Vital Statistics
Deaths for the U.S., states, territories, groups, and 50 major cities, by specific and class of disease, age and sex, and in the Chinese and Indian populations.

1880 Census: Volumes 5-6. Report on Cotton Production
General discussion of the cotton production of the United States; embracing the cottonseed-oil industry, soil investigation, and cotton fiber measurements.

A Century of Population Growth 1790-1900
This publication constitutes a review of the growth of the population during the century of census taking.

Black Population 1790-1915
This Negro Population 1790-1915 publication is from the Decennial Census.

Compendium of the Tenth Census (June 1, 1880)
Tables showing statistics of population, agriculture, manufactures, power used in manufactures, mining, railroads, canals, taxation, occupations, schools, etc.

History & Present Conditions of Fishery Industries - Oyster Industry
Descriptive and statistical reports by gulfs, coasts, rivers, regions, bays, cities, states with history, present condition, tables, glossary and illustrations.

Measuring America: The Decennial Censuses From 1790 to 2000
Contains questionnaires and instructions, plus individual histories of each census.

The Areas of the U.S., the Several States & Territories, & Counties
Tables showing the approximate areas in square miles of the U.S., states, and counties, considering the uncertainty of boundary lines and errors in surveying.

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Page Last Revised - December 16, 2021
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