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Decennial Census Questionnaires & Instructions

Through the Decades
  • Through the Decades
  • 2010 Census
  • 2000 Census
  • 1990 Census
  • 1980 Census
  • 1970 Census
  • 1960 Census
  • 1950 Census
  • 1940 Census
  • 1930 Census
  • 1920 Census
  • 1910 Census
  • 1900 Census
  • 1890 Census
  • 1880 Census
  • 1870 Census
  • 1860 Census
  • 1850 Census
  • 1840 Census
  • 1830 Census
  • 1820 Census
  • 1810 Census
  • 1800 Census
  • 1790 Census
Through the Decades
Component ID: #ti1710770388

Since the first census in 1790, the U.S. Census Bureau has collected data using a census "schedule," also called a "questionnaire” or “form."  Between 1790 and 1820, U.S. Marshals conducting the census were responsible for supplying paper and writing-in headings related to the questions asked (i.e., name, age, sex, race, etc.).  In 1830, Congress authorized the printing of uniform schedules for use throughout the United States.

The 1940 Census included separate questionnaires to count the population and collect housing data. The 1960 and later censuses combined population and housing questions onto a single questionnaire mailed to households or completed during a census taker's visit.

Between 1970 and 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau used two questionnaires. Most households received a short-form questionnaire asking a minimum number of questions. A sample of households received a long-form questionnaire that included additional questions about the household. The 2010 Census had just one questionnaire consisting of ten questions.

This report contains detailed information on the questionnaires and instructions used for each census, plus individual histories of each census.

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