1790 United States census

The 1790 United States census was the first United States census. It recorded the population of the whole United States as of Census Day, August 2, 1790, as mandated by Article 1, Section 2, of the Constitution and applicable laws. In the first census, the population of the United States was enumerated to be 3,929,214 inhabitants.[1][2]

1790 United States census

August 2, 1790 (1790-08-02) 1800 →

Title page of 1790 United States census
General information
CountryUnited States
AuthorityOffice of the United States Marshal
Results
Total population3,929,214
Most populous ​stateVirginia (747,610)
Least populous ​stateDelaware (59,094)

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 the 1840 census. "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."[3]

Contemporary perception edit

Both Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and President George Washington expressed skepticism[4] over the results, believing that the true population had been undercounted. If indeed an undercount was the result, possible explanations for it include dispersed population, poor transportation links, limitations of contemporary technology, and individual refusal to participate.[5]

Questions edit

Column Title[2]
1 Name of the head of family
2 Number of free white males age 16 and over
3 Number of free white males under age 16
4 Number of free white females
5 Number of all other free persons
6 Number of slaves

Loss and availability of data edit

Although the census was proved statistically factual, based on data collected, the records for several states (including Delaware, Georgia, New Jersey, and Virginia) were lost sometime between 1790 and 1830.[6] Almost one-third of the original census data have been lost or destroyed since their original documentation. These include some 1790 data from Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Vermont; the validity and existence of most of these data, though, can be confirmed in many secondary sources pertaining to the first census.[7]

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.[8]

Data edit

Under the direction of the Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, marshals collected data from all thirteen states (Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts including the District of Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia), and from the Southwest Territory.[3] The census was not conducted in Vermont until 1791, after that state's admission to the Union as the 14th state on March 4 of that year. (From 1777 until early 1791, and hence during all of 1790, Vermont was a de facto independent country whose government took the position that Vermont was not then a part of the United States.)

At 17.8 percent, the 1790 census's proportion of slaves to the free population was the highest ever recorded by any census of the United States.[9]

State or territory
Free white males of 16 years and upward[a]
Free white males under 16 years
Free white females[a]
All other free persons
Slaves
Slaves % of state population
Total
% of U.S. population
Vermont[10][11] 22,435 22,328 40,505 255 16[b][12] 0.0% 85,539[c] 2.2%
New Hampshire[13][11] 36,086 34,851 70,160 630 158 0.1% 141,885 3.6%
Maine[14][11] 24,384 24,748 46,870 538 0 0.0% 96,540 2.4%
Massachusetts[15][11] 95,453 87,289 190,582 5,463 0 0.0% 378,787 9.8%
Rhode Island[16][11] 16,019 15,799 32,652 3,407 948 1.4% 68,825 1.7%
Connecticut[17][11] 60,523 54,403 117,448 2,808 2,764 1.2% 237,946 6.0%
New York[18][19][11] 83,700 78,122 152,320 4,654 21,324 6.3% 340,120 8.6%
New Jersey[11] 45,251 41,416 83,287 2,762 11,423 6.2% 184,139 4.6%
Pennsylvania[20][11] 110,788 106,948 206,363 6,537 3,737 0.9% 434,373 11.0%
Delaware[11] 11,783 12,143 22,384 3,899 8,887 15.0% 59,094[d] 1.5%
Maryland[21][11] 55,915 51,339 101,395 8,043 103,036 32.2% 319,728 8.1%
Virginia[22][11] 110,936 116,135 215,046 12,866 292,627 39.1% 747,610[e][23][11] 18.9%
Kentucky[11] 15,154 17,057 28,922 114 12,430 16.9% 73,677 1.9%
North Carolina[24][11] 69,988 77,506 140,710 4,975 100,572 25.5% 393,751 9.9%
South Carolina[11] 35,576 37,722 66,880 1,801 107,094 43.0% 249,073 6.3%
Georgia[11] 13,103 14,044 25,739 398 29,264 35.5% 82,548 2.1%
Southwest Territory[11] 6,271 10,277 15,365 361 3,417 9.6% 35,691 0.9%
Total 813,365 802,127 1,556,628 59,511 697,697 17.8% 3,929,326 100%
  1. ^ a b Heads of families were included.
  2. ^ The census of 1790, published in 1791, reports 16 slaves in Vermont. Subsequently, and up to 1860, the number is given as 17. An examination of the original manuscript allegedly shows that there never were any slaves in Vermont. The original error occurred in preparing the results for publication, when 16 persons, returned as "Free colored", were classified as "Slave". But this claim is disputed by at least one historian.
  3. ^ Corrected figures are 85,425, or 114 less than figures published in 1790, due to an error of addition of several towns.
  4. ^ Corrected figures are 59,096, or 2 more than figures published in 1790, due to error in addition.
  5. ^ The figures for Virginia do not include the population of Kentucky. Though Kentucky was then a part of Virginia, the Kentucky figures were compiled separately, and are shown on the line for Kentucky. The Virginia figures do include the portion of Virginia that later became the state of West Virginia.

City rankings edit

 
Commemorative pitcher with census results
Rank City State Population[25][26] Region (2016)[27] Population (2020)
1 New York New York 33,131 Northeast 1,694,251 [Manhattan only]
2 Philadelphia Pennsylvania 28,522 Northeast 69,433 [Center City only]
3 Boston Massachusetts 18,320 Northeast 675,647
4 Charleston South Carolina 16,359 South 150,227
5 Baltimore Maryland 13,503 South 585,708
6 Norwalk Connecticut 11,942 Northeast 91,184
7 Northern Liberties Pennsylvania 9,913 Northeast
8 Rensselaerswyck New York 8,318 Northeast
9 Salem Massachusetts 7,921 Northeast 44,480
10 Watervliet New York 7,419 Northeast 10,375
11 Ballston New York 7,333 Northeast 11,831
12 Stephentown New York 6,795 Northeast 2,888 (2016)
13 Newport Rhode Island 6,716 Northeast 25,163
14 Canaan New York 6,692 Northeast 1,570
15 Providence Rhode Island 6,380 Northeast 190,934
16 Canajoharie New York 6,156 Northeast 3,613 (2016)
17 Fishkill New York 5,941 Northeast 24,226
18 Frederickstown New York 5,932 Northeast 11,541
19 Marblehead Massachusetts 5,661 Northeast 20,441
19 Southwark Pennsylvania 5,661 Northeast
21 Middletown Connecticut 5,375 Northeast 47,717
22 Gloucester Massachusetts 5,317 Northeast 29,729
23 Amwell New Jersey 5,201 Northeast
24 Washington New York 5,189 Northeast 4,522
25 Cambridge New York 4,996 Northeast 1,953 (2016)
26 Bridgewater Massachusetts 4,975 Northeast 28,633
27 Newburyport Massachusetts 4,837 Northeast 18,289
28 Haverstraw New York 4,826 Northeast 39,087
29 Portsmouth New Hampshire 4,720 Northeast 21,956
30 Rehoboth Massachusetts 4,710 Northeast 12,502
31 Shrewsbury New Jersey 4,673 Northeast 1,076
32 Kinderhook New York 4,661 Northeast 8,330
33 Clinton New York 4,607 Northeast 4,037
34 Livingston New York 4,594 Northeast 3,628
35 Ipswich Massachusetts 4,562 Northeast 13,785
36 Hillsdale New York 4,556 Northeast 1,831
37 Sherburne Massachusetts 4,555 Northeast 14,255
38 Middleborough Massachusetts 4,526 Northeast 24,245
39 New Haven Connecticut 4,484 Northeast 135,081
40 Mohawk New York 4,440 Northeast 4,925 (2017)
41 Pawling New York 4,330 Northeast 8,012
42 Caughnawaga New York 4,261 Northeast
43 New Cornwall New York 4,225 Northeast 12,884
44 Lebanon Connecticut 4,166 Northeast 7,142
45 South Kingstown Rhode Island 4,131 Northeast 31,913
46 Oyster Bay New York 4,097 Northeast 301,332
47 Hartford Connecticut 4,090 Northeast 121,054
48 Glocester Rhode Island 4,025 Northeast 9,974
49 Fairfield Connecticut 4,009 Northeast 61,512
50 Newbury Massachusetts 3,972 Northeast 6,716
51 Kingston New York 3,929 Northeast 24,069
52 Berwick Massachusetts[28] 3,894 Northeast 7,950
53 South Hempstead New York 3,828 Northeast 793,409
54 Wethersfield Connecticut 3,806 Northeast 27,298
55 Taunton Massachusetts 3,804 Northeast 59,408
56 Lower Freehold New Jersey 3,785 Northeast 35,369
57 Lancaster Pennsylvania 3,773 Northeast 58,039
58 Richmond Virginia 3,761 South 226,610
59 Rhinebeck New York 3,662 Northeast 7,548
60 Warwick New York 3,603 Northeast 32,027
61 Halfmoon New York 3,602 Northeast 25,662
62 Beekman New York 3,597 Northeast 14,172
63 Montgomery New York 3,563 Northeast 23,322
64 Woodbridge New Jersey 3,520 Northeast 103,639
65 Albany New York 3,498 Northeast 99,224
66 Schenectady New York 3,472 Northeast 67,047
67 Guilford Connecticut 3,460 Northeast 22,073
68 Upper Freehold New Jersey 3,442 Northeast 7,273
69 Southampton New York 3,408 Northeast 69,036
70 Coxsackie New York 3,406 Northeast 8,382
71 Palatine New York 3,404 Northeast 3,240
72 North East New York 3,401 Northeast 2,971
73 Wallingford Connecticut 3,375 Northeast 44,396
74 New Bedford Massachusetts 3,313 Northeast 102,882
75 Beverly Massachusetts 3,290 Northeast 42,670
76 Claverack New York 3,262 Northeast 5,766 (2016)
77 Huntington New York 3,260 Northeast 204,127
78 Kittery Massachusetts[28] 3,259 Northeast 10,070
79 Stratford Connecticut 3,241 Northeast 52,355
80 Saybrook Connecticut 3,233 Northeast 4,415
81 Chatham Connecticut 3,230 Northeast 12,717
82 Middletown New Jersey 3,225 Northeast 67,106
83 Brookhaven New York 3,224 Northeast 485,773
84 Southold New York 3,219 Northeast 23,732
85 Smithfield Rhode Island 3,171 Northeast 22,118
86 Watertown Connecticut 3,170 Northeast 22,105
87 New Milford Connecticut 3,167 Northeast 28,115
88 Greenwich Connecticut 3,132 Northeast 63,518
89 Brookfield Massachusetts 3,100 Northeast 3,439
90 Amenia New York 3,078 Northeast 3,769
91 Saratoga New York 3,071 Northeast 5,646 (2016)
91 Stillwater New York 3,071 Northeast 8,547 (2018)
93 Wells Massachusetts[28] 3,070 Northeast 11,314
94 Earl Pennsylvania 3,051 Northeast 7,149
95 Hoosick New York 3,035 Northeast 6,824 (2016)
96 Danbury Connecticut 3,030 Northeast 86,518
97 Cocalico Pennsylvania 3,027 Northeast
98 East Hartford Connecticut 3,016 Northeast 51,045
99 Plymouth Massachusetts 2,995 Northeast 61,217
100 Derby Connecticut 2,994 Northeast 12,325
100 Falmouth Massachusetts[28] 2,994 Northeast 12,444

References edit

  1. ^ Census History Staff. "1790 Fast Facts - History". US Census Bureau. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  2. ^ a b "1790 Census: Heads of Families". U.S. Census Bureau.
  3. ^ a b Census History Staff. "1790 Overview - History - U.S. Census Bureau". US Census Bureau. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  4. ^ Census History Staff. "1790 Overview - History - U.S. Census Bureau". US Census Bureau. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  5. ^ "U.S. Marshals Overcame Hardships and Challenges to Count 3,929,214 People in a Young America". Census.gov. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  6. ^ Dollarhide, William (2001). The Census Book: A Genealogists Guide to Federal Census Facts, Schedules and Indexes. North Salt Lake, Utah: HeritageQuest. p. 7.
  7. ^ "1790 Census". 1930 Census Resources for Genealogists.
  8. ^ "About IPUMS NHGIS | IPUMS NHGIS". www.nhgis.org. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  9. ^ "Slave, Free Black, and White Population, 1780-1830". userpages.umbc.edu. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  10. ^ Census, United States Bureau of the (1907). Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790: Vermont. U.S. Government Printing Office. ISBN 978-0-87152-015-9.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Free and Slave Populations by State (1790)". Teaching American History. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  12. ^ "Slavery in Vermont". slavenorth.com. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  13. ^ Census, United States Bureau of the (1907). Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790: New Hampshire. Clearfield Company, Incorporated.
  14. ^ Census, United States Bureau of the (1908). Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790: Maine. U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  15. ^ Census, United States Bureau of the (1908). Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790: Massachusetts. U.S. Government Printing Office. ISBN 978-0-87152-021-0. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  16. ^ Census, United States Bureau of the (1907). Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790: Rhode Island. U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  17. ^ Census, United States Bureau of the (1908). Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790: Connecticut. U.S. Government Printing Office. ISBN 978-0-87152-362-4. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  18. ^ Census, United States Bureau of the (1908). Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790: New York. U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  19. ^ Heads of families at the first census of the United States taken in the year 1790: New York . Washington, Govt. Print. Off. 1907.
  20. ^ Census, United States Bureau of the (1908). Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790: Pennsylvania. U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  21. ^ Census, United States Bureau of the (1907). Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790: Maryland. U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  22. ^ Census, United States Bureau of the (1908). Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790: Virginia. U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  23. ^ Census Office, United States (1909). "A Century of Population Growth from the First Census of the United States to the Twelfth, 1790–1900". p. 47.
  24. ^ Census, United States Bureau of the (1908). Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790: North Carolina. U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  25. ^ Population of the 100 Largest Cities and Other Urban Places in the United States: 1790 to 1990, U.S. Census Bureau, 1998
  26. ^ "Population of Connecticut Towns 1756–1820". Connecticut Secretary of the State. State of Connecticut. Archived from the original on January 13, 2017. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  27. ^ "Regions and Divisions". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on December 3, 2016. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
  28. ^ a b c d In present day Maine.

External links edit

  Media related to 1790 United States Census at Wikimedia Commons