1890 United States Census

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1890 Census form

The Eleventh United States Census was taken beginning June 2, 1890. The data was tabulated by machine for the first time. The data reported that the distribution of the population had resulted in the disappearance of the American frontier. Most of the 1890 census materials were destroyed in a 1921 fire.

Census questions[edit]

The 1890 census collected the following information:[1]

  • address
  • number of families in house
  • number of persons in house
  • names
  • whether a soldier, sailor or marine (Union or Confederate) during Civil War, or widow of such person
  • relationship to head of family
  • race, described as white, black, mulatto, quadroon, octoroon, Chinese, Japanese, or Indian
  • sex
  • age
  • marital status
  • married within the year
  • mother of how many children, and number now living
  • place of birth of person, and their father and mother
  • if foreign-born, number of years in US
  • whether naturalized
  • whether naturalization papers have been taken out
  • profession, trade or occupation
  • months unemployed during census year
  • ability to read and write
  • ability to speak English, and, if unable, language or dialect spoken
  • whether suffering from acute or chronic disease, with name of disease and length of time afflicted
  • whether defective in mind, sight, hearing or speech, or whether crippled, maimed or deformed, with name of defect
  • whether a prisoner, convict, homeless child, or pauper
  • home rented, or owned by head or member of family, and, if owned, whether free from mortgage
  • if farmer, whether farm is rented, or owned by head or member of family; if owned, whether free from mortgage; if rented, post office box of owner

Methodology[edit]

The Hollerith tabulator was used to tabulate the 1890 census—the first time a census was tabulated by machine. The illustration is of a Hollerith tabulator that has been modified for the first 1890 tabulation, the family, or rough, count -- the punched card reader has been removed, replaced by a simple keyboard. See: Truesdell, 1965, The Development of Punched Card Tabulation ..., US GPO, p.61

The 1890 census was the first to be compiled using methods invented by Herman Hollerith and was overseen by Superintendents Robert P. Porter (1889-1893) and Carroll D. Wright (1893-1897). Data was entered on a machine readable medium, punched cards, and tabulated by machine.[2] The net effect of the many changes from the 1880 census: the larger population, the number of data items to be collected, the Census Bureau headcount, the volume of scheduled publications, and the use of Hollerith's electromechanical tabulators, was to reduce the time required to process the census from eight years for the 1880 census to six years for the 1890 census.[3] The total population of 62,947,714, the family, or rough, count, was announced after only six weeks of processing (punched cards were not used for this tabulation).[4][5] The public reaction to this tabulation was disbelief, as it was widely believed that the "right answer" was at least 75,000,000.[6]

Significant findings[edit]

The United States census of 1890 showed a total of 248,253 Native Americans living in America, down from 400,764 Native Americans identified in the census of 1850.[7]

The 1890 census announced that the frontier region of the United States no longer existed,[8] and that the Census Bureau would no longer track the westward migration of the U.S. population. Up to and including the 1880 census, the country had a frontier of settlement. By 1890, isolated bodies of settlement had broken into the unsettled area to the extent that there was hardly a frontier line. This prompted Frederick Jackson Turner to develop his Frontier Thesis.[9]

Data availability[edit]

The original data for the 1890 Census is no longer available. Almost all the population schedules were damaged in a fire in the basement of the Commerce Building in Washington, D.C. in 1921. Some 25% of the materials were presumed destroyed and another 50% damaged by smoke and water (although the actual damage may have been closer to 15–25%). The damage to the records led to an outcry for a permanent National Archives.[10][11] In December 1932, following standard Federal record-keeping procedures, the Chief Clerk of the Bureau of the Census sent the Librarian of Congress a list of papers to be destroyed, including the original 1890 census schedules. The Librarian was asked by the Bureau to identify any records which should be retained for historical purposes, but the Librarian did not accept the census records. Congress authorized destruction of that list of records on February 21, 1933, and the surviving original 1890 census records were destroyed by government order by 1934 or 1935. The other censuses for which some information has been lost are the 1800 and 1810 enumerations.[citation needed]

No microdata from the 1890 census survive, but aggregate data for small areas, together with compatible cartographic boundary files, can be downloaded from the National Historical Geographic Information System.

State rankings[edit]

Rank State Population
01 New York 6,003,174
02 Pennsylvania 5,258,113
03 Illinois 3,826,352
04 Ohio 3,672,329
05 Missouri 2,679,185
06 Massachusetts 2,238,947
07 Texas 2,235,527
08 Indiana 2,192,404
09 Michigan 2,093,890
10 Iowa 1,912,297
11 Kentucky 1,858,635
12 Georgia 1,837,353
13 Tennessee 1,767,518
14 Wisconsin 1,693,330
15 Virginia 1,655,980
16 North Carolina 1,617,949
17 Alabama 1,513,401
18 New Jersey 1,444,933
19 Kansas 1,428,108
20 Minnesota 1,310,283
21 Mississippi 1,289,600
22 California 1,213,398
23 South Carolina 1,151,149
24 Arkansas 1,128,211
25 Louisiana 1,118,588
26 Nebraska 1,062,656
27 Maryland 1,042,390
28 West Virginia 762,794
29 Connecticut 746,258
30 Maine 661,086
31 Colorado 413,249
32 Florida 391,422
33 New Hampshire 376,530
34 Washington 357,232
35 South Dakota 348,600
36 Rhode Island 345,506
37 Vermont 332,422
38 Oregon 317,704
39 North Dakota 190,983
40 Delaware 168,493
41 Montana 142,924
42 Nevada 47,355

City rankings[edit]

Rank City State Population[12] Region (2016)[13]
01 New York New York 1,515,301 Northeast
02 Chicago Illinois 1,099,850 Midwest
03 Philadelphia Pennsylvania 1,046,964 Northeast
04 Brooklyn New York 806,343 Northeast
05 St. Louis Missouri 451,770 Midwest
06 Boston Massachusetts 448,477 Northeast
07 Baltimore Maryland 434,439 South
08 San Francisco California 298,997 West
09 Cincinnati Ohio 296,908 Midwest
10 Cleveland Ohio 261,353 Midwest
11 Buffalo New York 255,664 Northeast
12 New Orleans Louisiana 242,039 South
13 Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 238,617 Northeast
14 Washington District of Columbia 230,392 South
15 Detroit Michigan 205,876 Midwest
16 Milwaukee Wisconsin 204,468 Midwest
17 Newark New Jersey 181,830 Northeast
18 Minneapolis Minnesota 164,738 Midwest
19 Jersey City New Jersey 163,003 Northeast
20 Louisville Kentucky 161,129 South
21 Omaha Nebraska 140,452 Midwest
22 Rochester New York 133,896 Northeast
23 Saint Paul Minnesota 133,156 Midwest
24 Kansas City Missouri 132,716 Midwest
25 Providence Rhode Island 132,146 Northeast
26 Denver Colorado 106,713 West
27 Indianapolis Indiana 105,436 Midwest
28 Allegheny Pennsylvania 105,287 Northeast
29 Albany New York 94,923 Northeast
30 Columbus Ohio 88,150 Midwest
31 Syracuse New York 88,143 Northeast
32 New Haven Connecticut 86,045 Northeast
33 Worcester Massachusetts 84,655 Northeast
34 Toledo Ohio 81,434 Midwest
35 Richmond Virginia 81,388 South
36 Paterson New Jersey 78,347 Northeast
37 Lowell Massachusetts 77,696 Northeast
38 Nashville Tennessee 76,168 South
39 Scranton Pennsylvania 75,215 Northeast
40 Fall River Massachusetts 74,398 Northeast
41 Cambridge Massachusetts 70,028 Northeast
42 Atlanta Georgia 65,533 South
43 Memphis Tennessee 64,495 South
44 Wilmington Delaware 61,431 South
45 Dayton Ohio 61,220 Midwest
46 Troy New York 60,956 Northeast
47 Grand Rapids Michigan 60,278 Midwest
48 Reading Pennsylvania 58,661 Northeast
49 Camden New Jersey 58,313 Northeast
50 Trenton New Jersey 57,458 Northeast
51 Lynn Massachusetts 55,727 Northeast
52 Lincoln Nebraska 55,154 Midwest
53 Charleston South Carolina 54,955 South
54 Hartford Connecticut 53,230 Northeast
55 St. Joseph Missouri 52,324 Midwest
56 Evansville Indiana 50,756 Midwest
57 Los Angeles California 50,395 West
58 Des Moines Iowa 50,093 Midwest
59 Bridgeport Connecticut 48,866 Northeast
60 Oakland California 48,682 West
61 Portland Oregon 46,385 West
62 Saginaw Michigan 46,322 Midwest
63 Salt Lake City Utah 44,843 West
64 Lawrence Massachusetts 44,654 Northeast
65 Springfield Massachusetts 44,179 Northeast
66 Manchester New Hampshire 44,126 Northeast
67 Utica New York 44,007 Northeast
68 Hoboken New Jersey 43,648 Northeast
69 Savannah Georgia 43,189 South
70 Seattle Washington 42,837 West
71 Peoria Illinois 41,024 Midwest
72 New Bedford Massachusetts 40,733 Northeast
73 Erie Pennsylvania 40,634 Northeast
74 Somerville Massachusetts 40,152 Northeast
75 Harrisburg Pennsylvania 39,385 Northeast
76 Kansas City Kansas 38,316 Midwest
77 Dallas Texas 38,067 South
78 Sioux City Iowa 37,806 Midwest
79 Elizabeth New Jersey 37,764 Northeast
80 Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania 37,718 Northeast
81 San Antonio Texas 37,673 South
82 Covington Kentucky 37,371 South
83 Portland Maine 36,425 Northeast
84 Tacoma Washington 36,006 West
85 Holyoke Massachusetts 35,637 Northeast
86 Fort Wayne Indiana 35,393 Midwest
87 Binghamton New York 35,005 Northeast
88 Norfolk Virginia 34,871 South
89 Wheeling West Virginia 34,522 South
90 Augusta Georgia 33,300 South
91 Youngstown Ohio 33,220 Midwest
92 Duluth Minnesota 33,115 Midwest
93 Yonkers New York 32,033 Northeast
94 Lancaster Pennsylvania 32,011 Northeast
95 Springfield Ohio 31,895 Midwest
96 Quincy Illinois 31,494 Midwest
97 Mobile Alabama 31,076 South
98 Topeka Kansas 31,007 Midwest
99 Elmira New York 30,893 Northeast
100 Salem Massachusetts 30,801 Northeast

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Library Bibliography Bulletin 88, New York State Census Records, 1790-1925". New York State Library. October 1981. pp. 44 (p. 50 of PDF). Archived from the original on January 30, 2009. Retrieved December 15, 2008. 
  2. ^ Truesdell, Leon E. (1965). The Development of Punch Card Tabulation in the Bureau of the Census: 1890-1940. US GPO. 
  3. ^ Report of the Commissioner of Labor In Charge of The Eleventh Census to the Secretary of the Interior for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1895. Washington, DC: United States Government Publishing Office. July 29, 1895. OCLC 867910652. Retrieved November 13, 2015.  Page 9: "You may confidently look for the rapid reduction of the force of this office after the 1st of October, and the entire cessation of clerical work during the present calendar year. ... The condition of the work of the Census Division and the condition of the final reports show clearly that the work of the Eleventh Census will be completed at least two years earlier than was the work of the Tenth Census." — Carroll D. Wright, Commissioner of Labor in Charge
  4. ^ "Population and Area (Historical Censuses)" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 24, 2008. Retrieved June 20, 2008. 
  5. ^ Truesdell, Leon E. (1965) The Development of Punch Card Tabulation in the Bureau of the Census 1890-1940, US GPO, p.61
  6. ^ Austrian, Geoffrey D. (1982) Herman Hollerith - Forgotten Giant of Information Processing, Columbia, pp.85-86
  7. ^ Dippie, Brian W. (1982). The Vanishing American: White Attitudes and U.S. Indian Policy. Middleton, CT: Wesleyan University Press. p. ??. ISBN 0-8195-5056-6.  The data yielded by this census provided strong evidence that the United States' policies towards Native Americans had had a significant impact on the enumeration of the census in the second half of the 19th century. US domestic policy combined with wars, genocide, famine, disease, a declining birthrate, and exogamy (with the children of biracial families declaring themselves to be white rather than Indian) accounted for the decrease in the enumeration of the census. Chalk, Frank; Jonassohn, Kurt (1990). The History and Sociology of Genocide: Analyses and Case Studies. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-04446-1. 
  8. ^ Porter, Robert; Gannett, Henry; Hunt, William (1895). "Progress of the Nation", in "Report on Population of the United States at the Eleventh Census: 1890, Part 1". Bureau of the Census. pp. xviii–xxxiv. 
  9. ^ Turner, Frederick Jackson (1969). The Early Writings of Frederick Jackson Turner Compiled by Everett E. Edwards. Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press. 
  10. ^ Blake, Kellee (Spring 1996). "First in the Path of the Firemen: The Fate of the 1890 Population Census, Part 1". Prologue Magazine. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration. ISSN 0033-1031. OCLC 321015582. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  11. ^ Blake, Kellee (Spring 1996). "First in the Path of the Firemen: The Fate of the 1890 Population Census, Part 1". Prologue Magazine. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration. ISSN 0033-1031. OCLC 321015582. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  12. ^ Population of the 100 Largest Cities and Other Urban Places in the United States: 1790 to 1990, U.S. Census Bureau, 1998 
  13. ^ "Regions and Divisions". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved September 9, 2016. 

External links[edit]