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 census of 1890 was taken, under the supervision of Robert P. Porter,1 according to an act of March 1, 1889, and modeled after that used for the 1880 Census.
The enumeration began on June 2, 1890, because June 1 was a Sunday. The census employed 175 supervisors, with one or more appointed to each state or territory, exclusive of Alaska and Indian territory. Each subdivision assigned to an enumerator was not to exceed 4,000 inhabitants. Enumeration was to be completed in cities with populations under 10,000 (according to the 1880 Census results) was to be completed within 2 weeks. Enumerators were required to collect all the information required by the act by a personal visit to each dwelling and family.7
As in 1880, experts and special agents were hired to make special enumerations of manufactures,2 Indians living within the jurisdiction of the United States, and a separate enumeration of Alaska. Furthermore, the schedule collecting social statistics was withdrawn from enumerators; the work of obtaining statistics concerning mines and mining, fisheries, churches, education, insurance, transportation, and wealth, debt, and taxation, also was conducted by experts and special agents.
Robert B. Porter served as Superintendent of Census until his resignation on July 31, 1893. On October 3, 1893,Congress enacted a law that directed census-related work to continue under the direction of the Commissioner of Labor. On March 2, 1895, a further act of Congress closed the census office and transferred the unfinished work to the office of the Secretary of the Interior, where it continued until July 1, 1897.3
The results of the 1890 Census are contained in 25 volumes, plus a three-part compendium, statistical atlas, and an abstract. The complete results from the special enumeration of survivors of the Civil War were not published (the schedules of which were turned over to the Bureau of Pensions); however, the special inquiry on Schedule1 (general population schedule) regarding Union and Confederate veterans were published in the report on population.
1 Robert P. Porter was appointed as Superintendent of Census by the President on April 17, 1889. He resigned the position on July 31, 1893.
2 In 1890, the manufactures schedules were withdrawn from the general enumeration for 1,042 "important" manufacturing centers (opposed to 279 in 1880). Special agents were responsible for collecting the detailed data in these areas.
3 The Commissioner of Labor continued his supervisory role of census-related work until October 5, 1897 (serving since October 1, 1865 without compensation), when upon his request, he was relieved by the Secretary of Interior.