1850 United States Census

The United States Census of 1850 was the seventh census of the United States. Conducted by the Census Office on June 1, 1850, it determined the resident population of the United States to be 23,191,876—an increase of 35.9 percent over the 17,069,453 persons enumerated during the 1840 Census. The total population included 3,204,313 slaves.

This was the first census where there was an attempt to collect information about every member of every household, including women, children, and slaves. Prior to 1850, census records had recorded only the name of the head of the household and broad statistical accounting of other household members (three children under age five, one woman between the age of 35 and 40, etc.). It was also the first census to ask about place of birth.

Hinton Rowan Helper made extensive use of the 1850 census results in his politically notorious book The Impending Crisis of the South (1857).

Census questions

The 1850 census, Schedule 1, Free Inhabitants, collected the following information:[1]

  • name
  • age
  • sex
  • color (white, black or mulatto) for each person
  • whether deaf and dumb, blind, insane or idiotic
  • value of real estate owned (required of all free persons)
  • profession, occupation or trade of each male over 15 years of age
  • place (state, territory or country) of birth
  • whether married within the year
  • whether attended school within the year
  • whether unable to read and write (for persons over 20)
  • whether a pauper or convict

Full documentation for the 1850 population census, including census forms and enumerator instructions, is available from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series.

Economy

The 1850 United States Census collected a great amount of data that gave insight into the state of the U.S. economy in 1850. Some of the data revealed the growth of the economy with regards to agricultural and manufactured production, international trade, federal debt, taxation, transportation, education, and land expansion.

Agricultural Production
This census calculated the total land by state (in square miles), the total production of major goods and livestock per state (in respective units), the total value of each good produced, the total number of plantations per state, and various other statistics. The total agricultural production between in 1850 was calculated at about 1.3 billion dollars.
Manufactured Production
This census included the total manufactured production (in dollars), the total amount of capital invested, the total value of wages paid, the percent of profit (by state and total), the profit by state of major industries (cotton, wool, various iron work, breweries, fishing, salt), and other less significant statistics. Total manufactured production was valued at just over one billion dollars. This is a great increase over the totals estimated in 1820 and 1840. Also, in total, the manufacturing industry recorded an overall profit of 43%.
International Trade
The 1850 census contains the total value of imports and exports by state, statistics and names of the major imports and exports, the total values of shipping by state, and the value of imports and exports with various individual countries. The United States traded most with the United Kingdom. The imports and exports with the United Kingdom were both valued around 145 million dollars.
Federal Debt
This census contains yearly federal debt totals, total federal revenues, and total expenditures from 1790 to 1853. The total debt of the United States on July 1, 1854, was roughly 47.2 million dollars.
Taxation
The census contains some calculation of total annual federal taxes, but it is incomplete. It does however, give state taxation totals.
Transportation and Communication
This census calculates the total cost, size, and quantity of railroads and canals. The funded debt for railroads and canals in 1853 was 130 million. Their gross earnings were more than 38 million dollars. This census also contains estimates for growth in mileage of telegraphic lines in the United States. In 1853 the country contains 89 telegraph lines that stretched 23,261 miles (37,435 km). When published in 1854, the country had an estimated 30,000 miles (48,000 km) of telegraphic lines, a drastic increase.
Education
This census displays the advances of the United States in education and literacy by documenting the number of libraries, the number of schools (public, private, and colleges), state literacy rates, the total newspaper production and consumption, the educational levels of differing races, the total value of tuition costs, the amount of federal land given for education, and other various statistics.
Land Expansion
The 1850 census shows the great amount of territorial expansion that took place in the United States, following the Admission of Texas, the Oregon Treaty, and the Treaty with Mexico. These three pieces of land totaled an addition of more than a million square miles to the nation. In 1850, the United States contained 31 states and 4 organized territories (Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah).
Significance
The 1850 United States Census can be seen as a historical document that gives insight into the state of the nation's economy in 1850. It is much more detailed and provides more information than the 1840 census.

This census was during a very important period of growth and innovation in the United State, the Industrial Revolution. The statistics in this census provide data on the rate of growth that was taking place in 1850, that would lead to the emergence of the United States as an economic world power. Many of the statistics were compared to those of Great Britain and other world powers. This shows where the United States stood economically relative to the rest of the world.

Data availability

Microdata from the 1850 population census are freely available through the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series. Aggregate data for small areas, together with compatible cartographic boundary files, can be downloaded from the National Historical Geographic Information System.

State rankings

RankStatePopulation
01New York3,097,394
02Pennsylvania2,311,786
03Ohio1,980,329
04Virginia1,119,348
05Tennessee1,002,717
06Massachusetts994,514
07Indiana988,416
08Kentucky982,405
09Georgia906,185
10North Carolina869,039
11Illinois851,470
12Alabama771,623
13Missouri682,044
14South Carolina668,507
15Mississippi606,526
16Maine583,169
17Maryland583,034
18Louisiana517,762
19New Jersey489,555
20Michigan397,654
21Connecticut370,792
22New Hampshire317,976
23Vermont314,120
24Wisconsin305,391
XWest Virginia [2]302,313
25Texas212,592
26Arkansas209,897
27Iowa192,214
28Rhode Island147,545
29California92,597
30Delaware91,532
31Florida87,445
XNew Mexico61,547
XDistrict of Columbia [3]51,687
XOregon12,093
XUtah11,380
XMinnesota6,077
XWashington1,201

City rankings

RankCityStatePopulation[4]Region (2016)[5]
01New YorkNew York515,547Northeast
02BaltimoreMaryland169,054South
03BostonMassachusetts136,881Northeast
04PhiladelphiaPennsylvania121,376Northeast
05New OrleansLouisiana116,375South
06CincinnatiOhio115,435Midwest
07BrooklynNew York96,838Northeast
08St. LouisMissouri77,860Midwest
09Spring GardenPennsylvania58,894Northeast
10AlbanyNew York50,763Northeast
11Northern LibertiesPennsylvania47,223Northeast
12KensingtonPennsylvania46,774Northeast
13PittsburghPennsylvania46,601Northeast
14LouisvilleKentucky43,194South
15CharlestonSouth Carolina42,985South
16BuffaloNew York42,261Northeast
17ProvidenceRhode Island41,513Northeast
18WashingtonDistrict of Columbia40,001South
19NewarkNew Jersey38,894Northeast
20SouthwarkPennsylvania38,799Northeast
21RochesterNew York36,403Northeast
22LowellMassachusetts33,383Northeast
23WilliamsburghNew York30,780Northeast
24ChicagoIllinois29,963Midwest
25TroyNew York28,785Northeast
26RichmondVirginia27,570South
27MoyamensingPennsylvania26,979Northeast
28SyracuseNew York22,271Northeast
29AlleghenyPennsylvania21,262Northeast
30DetroitMichigan21,019Midwest
31PortlandMaine20,815Northeast
32MobileAlabama20,515South
33New HavenConnecticut20,345Northeast
34SalemMassachusetts20,264Northeast
35MilwaukeeWisconsin20,061Midwest
36RoxburyMassachusetts18,364Northeast
37ColumbusOhio17,882Midwest
38UticaNew York17,565Northeast
39CharlestownMassachusetts17,216Northeast
40WorcesterMassachusetts17,049Northeast
41ClevelandOhio17,034Midwest
42New BedfordMassachusetts16,443Northeast
43ReadingPennsylvania15,743Northeast
44SavannahGeorgia15,312South
45CambridgeMassachusetts15,215Northeast
46BangorMaine14,432Northeast
47NorfolkVirginia14,326South
48LynnMassachusetts14,257Northeast
49LafayetteLouisiana14,190South
50PetersburgVirginia14,010South
51WilmingtonDelaware13,979South
52ManchesterNew Hampshire13,932Northeast
53HartfordConnecticut13,555Northeast
54LancasterPennsylvania12,369Northeast
55OswegoNew York12,205Northeast
56SpringfieldMassachusetts11,766Northeast
57Fall RiverMassachusetts11,524Northeast
58PoughkeepsieNew York11,511Northeast
59WheelingVirginia11,435South
60PatersonNew Jersey11,334Northeast
61DaytonOhio10,977Midwest
62TauntonMassachusetts10,441Northeast
63NashvilleTennessee10,165South
64PortsmouthNew Hampshire9,738Northeast
65NewburyportMassachusetts9,572Northeast
66NewportRhode Island9,563Northeast
67AuburnNew York9,548Northeast
68CamdenNew Jersey9,479Northeast
69AugustaGeorgia9,448South
70CovingtonKentucky9,408South
71New LondonConnecticut8,991Northeast
72SchenectadyNew York8,921Northeast
73MemphisTennessee8,841South
74AlexandriaVirginia8,734South
75MontgomeryAlabama8,728South
76PortsmouthVirginia8,626South
77ConcordNew Hampshire8,576Northeast
78NantucketMassachusetts8,452Northeast
79GeorgetownDistrict of Columbia8,366South
80ChicopeeMassachusetts8,291Northeast
81LawrenceMassachusetts8,282Northeast
82AugustaMaine8,225Northeast
83DoverNew Hampshire8,196Northeast
84New AlbanyIndiana8,181Midwest
85LexingtonKentucky8,159South
86DanversMassachusetts8,109Northeast
87IndianapolisIndiana8,091Midwest
88LynchburgVirginia8,071South
89BathMaine8,020Northeast
90MadisonIndiana8,012Midwest
91DorchesterMassachusetts7,969Northeast
92ZanesvilleOhio7,929Midwest
93HarrisburgPennsylvania7,834Northeast
94GloucesterMassachusetts7,786Northeast
95WarwickRhode Island7,740Northeast
96North ProvidenceRhode Island7,680Northeast
97West TroyNew York7,564Northeast
98PottsvillePennsylvania7,515Northeast
99WilmingtonNorth Carolina7,264South
100EastonPennsylvania7,250Northeast

Controversy

The Utah Territorial Secretary Broughton Harris refused to certify the 1850 census of Utah territory. Harris complained that Brigham Young had conducted the census without him and that there were several irregularities.[6] The census only reported 26 slaves, with a note that all of them were heading to California, making it seem like there would not be any slaves in Utah. It did not include any of the slaves held in Bountiful, Utah.[7] John David Smith estimates that there were 100 blacks, with the majority being slaves.[8] Utah had been actively seeking to hide its slave population from Congress, fearing it might impede it in its quest for statehood.[9] Because of the irregularities, Harris withheld government funds reserved for taking the census.[6] The fallout from the controversy contributed to Harris' decision to join the other Runaway Officials of 1851 in abandoning their posts in Utah territory. Relationships continued to sour and eventually resulted in the Utah War.

See also

References

  1. "Library Bibliography Bulletin 88, New York State Census Records, 1790-1925". New York State Library. October 1981. pp. 44 (p. 50 of PDF).
  2. Between 1790 and 1860, the state of West Virginia was part of Virginia; the data for each states reflect the present-day boundaries.
  3. The District of Columbia is not a state but was created with the passage of the Residence Act of 1790.
  4. Population of the 100 Largest Cities and Other Urban Places in the United States: 1790 to 1990, U.S. Census Bureau, 1998
  5. "Regions and Divisions". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on December 3, 2016. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
  6. 1 2 W. Paul Reeve; Ardis E. Parshall. Mormonism: A Historical Encyclopedia. p. 26.
  7. Ronald G. Coleman. Blacks in Utah History: An Unknown Legacy (PDF).
  8. John David Smith. Dictionary of Afro-American Slavery.
  9. Nathaniel R. Ricks (2007). A Peculiar Place for the Peculiar Institution: Slavery and Sovereignty in Early Territorial Utah.
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