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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 1920 Census

The Fourteenth Census Act of July 2, 1909, provided for the 1920 and subsequent censuses; however, numerous minor changes were sought prior to the census, so a new law was enacted on March 3, 1919. This act designated a 3-year decennial census period, beginning July 1, 1919. During this 3-year period, the act provided for an increased workforce at the Census Bureau’s head quarters in Washington, DC, and for the creation of a special field force to collect census data.

Section 20, of the Fourteenth Census Act, provided that the enumeration of the population should be made as of January 1, 1920.1 Under the direction of the Director of the Census, Samuel L. Rogers, the work of actual enumeration began on January 2, 1920. The census covered the United States, the outlying possessions (excluding the Philippines and the Virgin Islands, the military, Red Cross, consular services abroad, and the naval service abroad or in American waters, but not on a fixed station.)2

For the country as a whole and for states and political subdivisions within the country, the population enumerated was the resident population. The enumerators (according to the census law), were instructed to enumerate persons at their “usual place of abode”— i .e., their permanent home or regular lodging place. Persons were not always counted in the places where they happened to be found by the enu­merators or where they transacted their daily business. Per­sons temporarily absent from their usual places of abode (i.e., on business, traveling, attending school, or in hospitals) were enumerated at the places where they habitually resided and the information for these people was obtained from relatives or acquaintances. Persons having no fixed place of abode were required by the census law to be enu­merated where they slept on the night of January 1, 1920.

1The date was changed upon the request of the Department of Agriculture and users of agricultural statistics. The new date had advantages for the agricultural census—the past years work on all farms had been finished, and the new years work had not yet begun. The majority of farmers would have been occupying the farms they had the previous year, whereas, a few months later, many renters would have moved to other farms. Furthermore, the birth of livestock increases greatly during the Spring and early Summer. Therefore, a livestock census referring to January1, 1920, would be far more valuable than one taken several months later.

2No provision was made by the Fourteenth Census Act for the enumeration of the Philippines. Censuses of the Philippines were conducted by the Philippine Commission in 1903. A second was conducted by the Philippines Government on December 31, 1918 (but called the “1919 Census”). A special census of the Virgin Islands was conducted by the United States, November 1, 1917.

1920 Census: Volume 1. Population, Number and Distribution
Stats showing the number and distribution of the population of the U.S. by states, counties, incorporated places, and other minor civil divisions.

1920 Census: Volume 2. Population, General Report & Analytical Tables
Stats showing composition and characteristics of the population, such as marital condition, sex and age distribution, illiteracy; dwellings and families, etc.

1920 Census: Volume 3. Population, Composition and Characteristics
Stats showing composition and characteristics of the population, such as race, nativity, parentage, sex, age, school attendance, citizenship, etc. by states.

1920 Census: Volume 4. Population, Occupations
Stats showing number and proportion of persons engaged in gainful occupations and distribution by sex, color or race, nativity, age, marital condition, etc.

1920 Census: Volume 5. Agriculture, General Report & Analytical Tables
Stats on farms, property, size, tenure, color and tenure of farmer, race, nativity, sex, age, years on farm, experience, mortgages, expenses, facilities, etc.

1920 Census: Volume 6. Agriculture, Reports for States
Stats on farms, acreage, value, size, tenure, farmers, mortgages, expenditures, livestock, livestock products, and crops.

1920 Census: Volume 7. Irrigation and Drainage
Irrigation stats show number of farms and acreage irrigated, by drainage basin, etc. Drainage stats cover artificial drainage of land in farms and other land.

1920 Census: Vol 8. Manufactures, General Report & Analytical Tables
Summary of stats of manufacturers as a whole, for the separate industries, and for the states, counties, and principal cities.

1920 Census: Volume 9. Manufactures, Reports for States
Separate reports on the manufacturers of each state and Alaska, Hawaii, and Porto Rico.

1920 Census: Volume 10. Manufactures, Reports for Selected Industries
Special reports on the leading industries of the U.S. including food, textiles, iron and steel, lumber, leather, paper and printing, chemicals, stone, etc.

1920 Census: Volume 11. Mines and Quarries
Stats on mining industries in 1919 including coal; petroleum and natural gas; iron ore; gold, silver, copper, lead, and zinc; stone; phosphate rock; and gypsum.

Census Monographs

Published 1922-1931. A series of monographs designed to include analysis and interpretation of important subjects covered by the census.

1920 Census Monograph 1. Increase of Population, 1910-1920
The first of 11 monographs, this report describes the location and group characteristics of the increase in population from 1910 to 1920.

1920 Census Monograph 2. Mortgages on Homes
The second of 11 monographs, this report includes the number and value of mortgaged homes, the amount of mortgage debt, and the rate of interest.

1920 Census Monograph 3. The Integration of Industrial Operation
The third of 11 monographs, this report includes the changing size of establishments, and the size, scope, and structure of those operated from central offices.

1920 Census Monograph 4. Farm Tenancy in the United States
The fourth of 11 monographs, this report analyzes farm tenure, specifically comparing the status of farm tenant, farm owner, and farm laborer.

1920 Census Monograph 5. School Attendance in 1920
The fifth of 11 monographs, this report analyzes school attendance by age, sex, race, geographic divisions, and by native, mixed and foreign parentage.

1920 Census Monograph 6. Farm Population of the United States
The sixth of 11 monographs analyzes the differences of the farm population from rural people in small cities and villages, miners, suburban residents, etc.

1920 Census Monograph 7. Immigrants and Their Children, 1920
The seventh of 11 monographs studies the statistics of the foreign born by classifying them according to the country or district of birth.

1920 Census Monograph 8. The Growth of Manufactures 1899 to 1923
The eighth of 11 monographs measures the volume of output of the country’s manufacturing establishments, not in money values, but in tons, bushels, yards, etc.

1920 Census Monograph 9. Women in Gainful Occupations 1870 to 1920
The ninth of 11 monographs presents a comprehensive statistical analysis of the occupational data on women obtained during the 1920 Census.

1920 Census Monograph 10. Earnings of Factory Workers 1899 to 1927
This tenth of 11 monographs analyzes the wages of factory workers and measures the relative fluctuations in the per capita earnings since 1900.

1920 Census Monograph 11. Ratio of Children to Women, 1920
A study in the differential rate of natural Increase in the United States, by looking at the ratio of children under 5 to women 20 to 44 years of age.

Related Information

Page Last Revised - December 16, 2021
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