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Counting AmericansHow the US Census Classified the Nation$
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Paul Schor

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199917853

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199917853.001.0001

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The First Developments of the National Census (1800–1830)

The First Developments of the National Census (1800–1830)

(p.23) 2 The First Developments of the National Census (1800–1830)
Counting Americans

Paul Schor

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses developments relating to the national census 1800–1830. The questionnaire of the 1800 census differed from that of 1790 as it classified white men and women into five classes by age: less than ten years old; ten to under sixteen; sixteen to twenty-six; twenty-six to forty-four; and over forty-five. No distinction by age was made for free blacks, who were thus counted only for the needs of apportionment, and not out of concern for collecting demographic information on this part of the population. The census of 1820 marked an initial break with the tradition begun in 1790, as marshals were told that beyond the enumeration they should ascertain in detail the circumstances of sex, color, age, condition of life: the names of heads and the characteristics of members of families, citizens or foreigners, and particularly the classes (including slaves) engaged in agriculture, commerce, and manufactures.

Keywords:   national census, white men, white women, demographics, free blacks, questionnaire, US census, foreigners, color

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