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The United States Census of 1790 was the first census conducted in the United States. It recorded the population of the United States as of Census Day, August 2, 1790, as mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution and applicable laws. In the First Census, the population of the United States was enumerated to be 3,929,214.
Congress assigned responsibility for the 1790 census to the marshals of United States judicial districts under an act which, with minor modifications and extensions, governed census taking through 1840. The law required that every household be visited, that completed census schedules be posted in "two of the most public places within [each jurisdiction], there to remain for the inspection of all concerned..." and that "the aggregate amount of each description of persons" for every district be transmitted to the President of the United States.
Census data included the name of the head of the family and categorized inhabitants as follows: free white males at least 16 years of age (to assess the country’s industrial and military potential), free white males under 16 years of age, free white females, all other free persons (reported by sex and color), and slaves. Under the direction of the current Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, marshals collected data from all thirteen states (Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia), and districts and territories that would become Vermont, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Maine.
|District||Free white males of 16 years and upward, including heads of families.||Free white males under 16 years.||Free white females, including heads of families.||All other free persons.||Slaves.||Total.|
Both Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and President George Washington expressed skepticism over the results, believing that the true population had been undercounted. Possible explanations for an undercount include dispersed population, poor transportation links, limitations of contemporary technology, and individual refusal to participate.
No microdata from the 1790 population census are available, but aggregate data for small areas, together with compatible cartographic boundary files, can be downloaded from the National Historical Geographic Information System.
Disappearance of dataEdit
Although the Census was proved statistically factual, based on data collected, the records for many states (including: Delaware, Georgia, New Jersey, and Virginia) were lost sometime between 1790 and 1830. Almost one third of the original census data has been lost or destroyed since its original documentation. This includes the data from: Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Vermont; however, the validity and existence of most of this data can be confirmed in many secondary sources pertaining to the first census.
- ^ http://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/fast_facts/1790_fast_facts.html
- ^ http://www.census.gov/prod/www/abs/decennial/1790.html
- ^ http://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/overview/1790.html
- ^ Dollarhide, William (2001). The Census Book: A Genealogists Guide to Federal Census Facts, Schedules and Indexes. North Salt Lake, Utah: HeritageQuest. p. 7.
- ^ http://www.1930census.com/1790_census.php
- Historic US Census data
- 1790 Census of Population and Housing official reports
- Population of 24 Urban Places: 1790
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