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U.S. Decennial Census: 1850

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

Census By Decade

1790  1800  1810  1820  1830  1840  1850  1860  1870  1880  1890  1900

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About the 1850 census


  • 7th decennial census
  • US population: 23,191,876
  • Oregon Territory population: 12,093
  • First time additional "social statistics" (information about taxes, schools, crime, wages, etc.) were gathered.
  • First census to use a person (rather than household) as the basic unit of enumeration.

Questions asked

  • Name
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Race (white, black or mulatto)
  • Whether deaf and dumb, blind, insane, or idiotic
  • Value of real estate
  • Occupation
  • Place of birth
  • Whether married within the year
  • School attendance/Literacy
  • Whether a pauper or convict
  • Supplemental schedules for slaves
  • Public paupers and criminals
  • Persons who died during the year.


a map of the united states in 1850

Map of coverage of the 1850 census.

For more information, see Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790 - 1920 available in print via UW Libraries.

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. 1950 is the most recent population schedule available.


Census statistical reports feature population and demographic data by state, county, and town for the 1850 census.

More Information from the US Census Bureau

Census Compilations

Data Sources


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