1850


About the 1850 census

Highlights

  • 7th decennial census
  • US population: 23,191,876
  • California population: 92,597
  • First census to include California. Note: federal enumerators conducted the census in 1850. California also conducted a state census in 1852. Both results are included in the 1850 census publications. The federal census of 1850 is missing Contra Costa, San Francisco, and Santa Clara counties. They are included in the 1852 state census.
  • First time additional "social statistics" (information about taxes, schools, crime, wages, etc) was 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.

For more information:

Coverage

 

For more information:

  • Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790 - 1920 (SSHL Ref G 1201 .F7 T5 2005)

Guides & Documentation

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

See: list of all Guides and Documentation


Statistics

Original printed reports (& online equivalents)

Print Versions in the Library

Online Versions

The Seventh Census of the United States: 1850
[C 3.14:850]

From the Census Bureau

From Newsbank

From Univ. of Michigan

From the GPO

Statistics of Manufactures, 1850
[C 3.14:850-1/1]

From Newsbank

Mortality statistics of the United States, 1850
[C 3.14:850-1/2]

From the Census Bureau

From Newsbank

From Univ. of Michigan

Report of the Superintendent of the Census for December 1, 1852
[C 3.14:850-2]

From the Census Bureau

From the GPO

Compendium
[C 3.14:850-3 (Annex HB881.A1 D4 v.5)]

From the Census Bureau

From the GPO

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


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.

Note: the 1850 population schedules for Contra Costa, San Francisco, and Santa Clara counties no longer exist.


Contact

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