1820 United States census
|1820 United States census|
|Total population||9,638,453 ( 33.1%)|
|Most populous ||New York|
|Least populous ||Illinois|
The United States census of 1820 was the fourth census conducted in the United States. It was conducted on August 7, 1820. The 1820 census included six new states: Louisiana, Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois, Alabama and Maine. There has been a district wide loss of 1820 census records for Arkansas Territory, Missouri Territory and New Jersey.
The total population was determined to be 9,638,453, of which 1,538,022 were slaves. The center of population was about 120 miles (193 km) west-northwest of Washington in Hardy County, Virginia (now in West Virginia).
This was the first census in which any states recorded a population of over one million—New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania—as well as the first in which a city recorded a population of over 100,000—New York. It was also the first census in which Baltimore was ranked as the country's second-most populous city. Thirdly, in this census and the 14 subsequent ones, New York is the most populous state until it is superseded by California in the 1970 census.
The 1820 census contains a great deal more information than previous censuses. Enumerators listed the following data in columns, left to right:
- Name of the head of family
- of free white males under age 10
- of free white males age 10 to under 16
- of free white males age 16 to 18
- of free white males age 16 to under 26
- of free white males age 26 to under 45
- of free white males age 45 and up
- of free white females under age 10
- of free white females age 10 to under 16
- of free white females age 16 to under 26
- of free white females age 26 to under 45
- of free white females age 45 and up
- of foreigners not naturalized
- of persons engaged in agriculture
- of persons engaged in commerce
- of persons engaged in manufacture
- of male slaves under 14
- of male slaves age 14 to under 26
- of male slaves age 26 to under 45
- of male slaves age 45 and up
- of female slaves under 14
- of female slaves age 14 to under 26
- of female slaves age 26 to under 45
- of female slaves age 45 and up
- of free male colored persons under 14
- of free male colored persons age 14 to under 26
- of free male colored persons age 26 to under 45
- of free male colored persons age 45 and up
- of free female colored persons under 14
- of free female colored persons age 14 to under 26
- of free female colored persons age 26 to under 45
- of free female colored persons age 45 and up
- of all other persons except Indians not taxed
Several of these columns were for special counts, and not to be included in the aggregate total. Doing so would have resulted in counting some individuals twice. Census takers were asked to use double lines, red ink or some other method of distinguishing these columns so that double counting would not occur. For example, the count of free white males between 16 and 18 was a special count, because these individuals were also supposed to be tabulated in the column for free white males of age 16 and under 26.
The other special counts were foreigners not naturalized, persons engaged in agriculture, persons engaged in commerce, and persons engaged in manufacture.
Census takers were also instructed to count each individual in only one of the occupational columns. For example, if an individual was engaged in agriculture, commerce, and manufacture, the census taker had to judge which one the individual was primarily engaged in.
Note to researchers
Censustaking was not yet an exact science. Before 1830, enumerators lacked pre-printed forms, and drew up their own, sometimes resulting in pages without headings, line tallies, or column totals. As a result, census records for many towns before 1830 are idiosyncratic. This is not to suggest that they are less reliable than subsequent censuses, but that they may require more work on the part of the researcher.
|X||West Virginia ||136,808|
|X||District of Columbia ||23,336|
- State included territory of future state of West Virginia, so including total population.
- "Population, 1870-1790, in each State and Territory, by Counties, in Aggregate, and as White, Free Colored, Slave, Chinese, and Indian" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau.
- Forstall, Richard L. (1996). Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790 to 1990. Washington: U.S. Bureau of the Census, pp. 8–11. ISBN 0-934213-48-8. Retrieved 19 May 2021. Due to the late arrival of returns from the counties of Lawrence, Perry, and Washington, the population of the state was incorrectly listed as 127,901 in the official state total.[subnote 1]
- Between 1790 and 1860, the state of West Virginia was part of Virginia; the data presented here reflects the present-day boundary and is also included in the total population of Virginia.
- The District of Columbia is not a state but was created with the passage of the Residence Act of 1790. The territory that formed that federal capital was originally donated by both Maryland and Virginia; however, the Virginia portion was returned by Congress in 1846.
- Population of the 100 Largest Cities and Other Urban Places in the United States: 1790 to 1990, U.S. Census Bureau, 1998
- "Population of Connecticut Towns 1756-1820". Connecticut Secretary of the State. State of Connecticut. Archived from the original on January 13, 2017. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
- "Regions and Divisions". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on December 3, 2016. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
Notes on references
- The relevant note on p. 10 erroneously switches the population values for Perry and Washington counties. The correct values can be found on page 121 of the final census report for 1820.