|1870 United States census|
|Total population||38,925,598 ( 22.6%)|
|Most populous ||New York|
|Least populous ||Nevada|
The 1870 United States census was the ninth United States census. It was conducted by the Census Office from June 1, 1870, to August 23, 1871. The 1870 census was the first census to provide detailed information on the African American population, only five years after the culmination of the Civil War when slaves were granted freedom. The total population was 38,925,598 with a resident population of 38,558,371 individuals, a 22.6% increase from 1860.
The 1870 census' population estimate was controversial, as many believed it underestimated the true population numbers, especially in New York and Pennsylvania. This was the first census in which all 100 largest cities recorded populations of over 10,000. This was also the last federal census conducted using the US Marshal Service as enumerators.
Census Act of 1850
The Census Act of 1850 established the primary machinery of the ninth census. The Census Office, working within the Department of the Interior, oversaw the recording and tabulation of results gathered by assistant marshals, who were hired and supervised by federal marshals. Two new structural changes during the 1870 census occurred: marshals had to return the completed population questionnaire to the Census Office in September and penalties for refusing to reply to enumerator questions were extended to encompass every question on the questionnaires.
The commonly past-used slave questionnaires were redesigned to reflect the American society after the Civil War. The five schedules for the 1870 census were the following: General Population, Mortality, Agriculture, Products of Industry, and Social Statistics.
The general population saw a 22.6% increase to 38,555,983 individuals in 1870. Charges of an undercount, however, were brought against Francis Amasa Walker, the Superintendent of the 1870 census.
Mortality rates in 1870, in general, decreased as a fraction of the total population by <0.1% from 1860 and by 0.1% from 1850. The lower death rates indicate that the standard of living increased, due to some exogenous factor, over the period of twenty years from 1850 to 1870.
In terms of products of industry, total U.S. wealth increased by 17.3% from 1860 to 1870, to reach an assessed wealth of $14,178,986,732. The four largest state contributors to this wealth were New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, in that order. Most of the wealth was concentrated in the developed Northeast region, as newer territories like Wyoming were beginning to develop their young economies.
The 1870 census was the first of its kind to record the nativity of the American population. This social statistic helped determine which areas were more highly composed of immigrants than native-born Americans. New York City had the most foreign-born individuals, with 419,094 foreigners, who comprised 44.5% of the city's total population. Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, and San Francisco also had a great population of foreigners that made up a significant fraction of their total populations. Therefore, a great ethnic and cultural change was witnessed from 1860 to 1870, as part of the population growth was due to immigrants moving in and a shuffling of residents across state borders.
|True population||Total United States||38,925,598|
|Constitutional/resident population*||Total United States||38,558,371|
|White population||Total United States||33,589,377|
|Black population||Total United States||4,880,009|
|Indian (Native American) population (on reservations)||Total United States||357,981|
|Indian (Native American) population (not on reservations)||Total United States||25,731|
|Chinese population||Total United States||63,199|
|Japanese population||Total United States||55|
*The constitutional population excludes the populations of Native Americans "maintaining their tribal relations and living upon Government reservations" and "the newly acquired district of Alaska."
**When considering congressional apportionment, the total state population of the Constitutional population was used.
Schedule 1 of the 1870 census collected the following information:
- Dwelling-houses numbered in the order of Visitation
- Families numbered in the order of visitation
- Value of Real Estate
- Value of Personal Estate
- Place of Birth (State, Territory, Country)
- Father's Birthplace*
- Mother's Birthplace*
- If born within the year, state month
- If married within the year, state month
- Attended School within the Year (Y/N)
- Cannot Read (Y/N)
- Cannot Write (Y/N)
- Deaf & dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper, or convict
- Male Citizens of U.S. of 21 years of age or upwards
- Male Citizens of U.S. of 21 years of age and upwards where rights to vote is denied on grounds other than rebellion or other crime**
*If born in another country
**This question asked if one's right to vote is being denied due to a legal matter other than rebellion or conviction. Such circumstances included being unable to pay poll taxes, or being unable to pass a literacy test.
Full documentation for the 1870 population census, including census forms and enumerator instructions, is available from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series.
This section needs additional citations for verification. (January 2015)
Although Francis Walker, the Superintendent of the 1870 census, defended the quality of the census, arguing that standardized, clear, and statistical approaches and practices were carried out across all regions of the United States, the public at the time was disappointed in the national growth rate and suspected underenumeration. With especially bitter complaints coming from New York and Philadelphia claiming up to a third of the population was not counted, the President made the rare move to order a recount in those areas. While it was thought a large fraction of the population was not counted for being indoors in the wintry cold, newer estimates resulted in only a 2.5% increase in Philadelphia's population and a 2% increase in New York's.
This controversy of the 1870 undercount resurfaced in 1890, when the national growth rate between 1880 and 1890 was discovered to be much lower than it was between 1870 and 1880. Critics then asserted that the 1870 population must have been underenumerated by over 1.2 million people to account for the discrepancy between growth rates; it was presumed that the growth rate in 1880 had to be exaggerated because of the 1870 undercount. Despite the fact that modern investigations have yet to quantify the exact effect of the undercount, most modern social scientists do not believe the undercount was as severe as 1890 investigators assumed. Today most analyzers compare the 1870 undercount to the non-response rates seen in most modern census data.
|X||District of Columbia [note 1]||131,700|
- The District of Columbia is not a state but was created with the passage of the Residence Act of 1790.
- Includes a population of 450 for Rio Virgin County, which was located in Nevada but enumerated as part of Utah in the 1870 census.
- Census History Staff. "1870 Fast Facts – History". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved April 28, 2019.
- Munroe, James Phinney (1923) A Life of Francis Amasa Walker, Holt, p. 111 Conditions for the work were therefore so adverse that the new superintendent (Walker), with characteristic frankness, repudiated in many instances the results of the Census, denouncing them as false or misleading and pointing out the plain reasons. p. 113 When the appointments of enumerators were made in 1870 the entire lot was taken from the Republican party, and most of those in the South were negroes. Some of the negroes could not read or write, and the enumeration of the Southern population was done very badly. My judgement was that the census of 1870 erred as to the colored population between 350,000 and 400,000
- Bureau, US Census. "1870 Census: A Compendium of the Ninth Census (June 1, 1870)". www.census.gov. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
- "1870 Federal Census Schedule 1 Form" (PDF). National Archives.
- "1870 Enumerator Instructions (to Assistant Marshals)". IPUMS USA. Retrieved August 27, 2019.
- Population of the 100 Largest Cities and Other Urban Places in the United States: 1790 to 1990, U.S. Census Bureau, 1998
- "Regions and Divisions". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on December 3, 2016. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
- Hacker, J. David; Ruggles, Steven; Foroughi, Andrea R.; Jarvis, Brad D.; Sargent, Walter L. (1999). "Public Use Microdata Samples of the 1860 and 1870 U.S. Censuses of Population". Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History. Informa UK Limited. 32 (3): 125–133. doi:10.1080/01615449909598933. ISSN 0161-5440.
- "Census of Population and Housing – Publications". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved August 27, 2019.
- Gibson, Campbell; Lennon, Emily (2011). "Tech Paper 29: Table 19. Nativity of the Population for the 50 Largest Urban Places: 1870 to 1990". Census.gov. Retrieved August 27, 2019.
- "1871 U.S Census Report" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Contains 1870 Census results.[permanent dead link]
- Douglas, Marilyn; Yates, Melinda (1981). New York state census records, 1790–1925 : bibliography bulletin 88. New York State Library. OCLC 866298008.