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Research Guides

U.S. Decennial Census: 1870

Decade by decade information about how to access and use U.S. Census reports.

About the 1870 census

Highlights

  • 9th decennial census
  • US population: 39,818,449 (revised count)
  • Washington Territory population: 23,955
  • First census taken after the 13th amendment abolished slavery.
  • First census to fully record information on the black population.

Questions asked

Name; age; sex; race; occupation; value of real estate; value of personal estate; place of birth; whether parents were foreign born; month of birth if born within the year; month of marriage if married within the year; school attendance; literacy; whether deaf and dumb, blind, insane, or idiotic; male citizens 21 and over, and number of such persons denied the right to vote for other than rebellion. Supplemental schedules for persons who died during the year; paupers; prisoners.

For more information:

Coverage

 

For more information:

  • Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790 - 1920 (GovPub Reference HA195 .T46 1987)

Statistics

Original printed reports (& online equivalents)

Print Versions in the Library

Online Versions

Statistics of the Population: Tables I to VIII inclusive
[HA 201 1870a]

From Newsbank

Vital Statistics of the United States
[HA 201 1870aa]

From the Census Bureau

From Newsbank

The Statistics of the wealth and industry of the United States
[HA 201 1870ab]

From the Census Bureau

From Newsbank

Compendium
[HA 201 1870ac]

From the Census Bureau

From Newsbank

Statistical Atlas of the United States

From American Memory

Multi-year census compilations (compare across years)

These tend to include statistics for large geographic areas (eg states) but can be very useful when comparing statistics over time

See: list of all census compilations

Guides and Documentation

Encyclopedia of the U.S. Census.                     (GovPub Reference HA 37 .U55 C66 2000)
See the entry under "decennial census". Includes bibliography for each census.

See: list of all Guides and Documentation

Raw Data Files

These are computer files intended to be loaded into statistical sofware for analysis and creating your own tables. In some cases these files can be used with spreadsheet software as well.

See: list of raw data sources

Population Schedules

Census population schedules (or "name schedules" or "manuscript census") are copies of the original questionnaires collected during each decennial census. They list the individual names and family information of the people enumerated. Unlike the statistics published soon after the census, the population schedules remain confidential for 72 years. 1930 is the most recent population schedule available.

Contact

Need help?  Call the Government Publications, Maps, Microforms & Newspapers help desk at (206) 543-4164 during desk hours.  You can also consult the Ask Us! reference service (24/7).