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Decennial Census of Population and Housing Questionnaires & Instructions

Here you will learn whether an archive of past questionnaires - also known as schedules or forms – is available online. Many of our surveys now offer an online response in place of completing and mailing a printed form.

1870 Census
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1870 Census

About the 1870 Census Questionnaires

The below text is excerpted on pages 13 from Measuring America: The Decennial Censuses From 1790 to 2000.


After the Civil War, the decennial census questionnaires were reordered and redesigned to account for end of the "slave questionnaire." The schedules for the 1870 census were: "General Population," "Mortality," "Agriculture," "Products of Industry," and "Social Statistics."

The secretary of interior selected General Francis A. Walker as superintendent of the ninth census on February 7, 1870. At the time of his appointment General Walker was chief of the Bureau of Statistics - an agency within the Treasury Department - and was one of several experts who had participated in the U.S. House of Representatives' committee deliberations on the 1870 census. A capable administrator, Walker introduced examinations to test the qualifications of those applying for positions with the Census Office. Walker remained as superintendent until November 1871, when Congress's failure to appropriate funds for his salary caused him to resign. Nevertheless, he continued overseeing census work as commissioner of Indian Affairs. Later, he resumed his duties as superintendent of the census, working without compensation.

The 1870 enumeration was completed by August 23, 1871.

Index of Questions

1870 Questionnaire - Instructions to Marshals and Assistants (Schedule 1—Inhabitants)

Numbering.— Dwelling houses and families will be num­ bered consecutively, in order as visited, until the town­ ship, borough, or parish (or ward or a city) is completed,  when a new numbering will begin, as is the case with the  numbering of pages. 

Dwelling houses.— By ‘‘dwelling house’’ is meant a house  standing alone, or separated by walls from other houses  in a block. Only such buildings are to be reckoned as  dwelling houses as have been used as the entire habita­ tion of a family. But houses only temporarily uninhabited  are to be returned and numbered in order. In that case a  dash, thus (—), will be drawn through column No. 2, and  the remaining spaces on the line be left blank. Hotels,  poorhouses, garrisons, asylums, jails, and similar estab­ lishments, where the inmates live habitually under a single  roof, are to be regarded as single dwelling houses for the  purpose of the census. The character of such establish­ ments should be written longitudinally in the columns.

Page Last Revised - November 23, 2021
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