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U.S. Government Documents: Census Data

What kind of data are available from the U. S. Census Bureau?

U.S. census information is of two types: "schedule" or individual data and "summary" or statistical data. The National Archives and Records Administration, NARA and not the Census Bureau releases schedule information. The Census Bureau releases summary or statistical data. Today, most of these data are found online.

The Data Librarian and Data Consultants in the Social Science Reference Center are available to help students and faculty identify, acquire, and make appropriate use of census data.  Data Services can assist patrons with electronic access to selected parts of all censuses, 1790-2000, from the InterUniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research, ICPSR(Princeton faculty, students, and staff only)

Schedule Data

Schedule data is the individual respondent's answers to the questions asked. Under U.S. privacy laws, seventy-two years must elapse before census data on individual persons can be released, and thirty years before census data on individual businesses can be released.  While schedule data is important in micro-level historical research and in genealogical research, it is both voluminous and so specialized that it is not routinely acquired by Princeton or indeed by most academic libraries.

Census schedule data held at Princeton:

  •  Fifth census of the United States, 1830 : Population schedules : New Jersey shelved at: (FILM) MICROFILM S00561 (5 reels)
  • Population schedules of the eighth census of the United States, 1860 shelved at: (FILM) MICROFILM S00547 (314 reels), Index shelved at: (Film B) HA201.1860.A3
  • 1870 United States  federal census index shelved at: (DSS) Study no. 2913 (9 disks)
  • Thirteenth census of the United States, 1910, population, New Jersey shelved at: (FILM) MICROFILM 10152. (Princeton holds reels for Mercer County only)

Catalogs of schedule data published by the National Archives:

  • Federal population censuses, 1790-1890 : a catalog of microfilm copies of the schedules shelved at: (DR) HA37 .U548 1976. Also available online.

  • 1900 federal population census : a catalog of microfilm copies of the schedules shelved in Firestone stacks at: Z7553.C3 N374 1978. Also available online.
  • The 1900 federal population census : catalog of national archives microfilm [revised 1996] shelved in Firestone statcks at: Z7553.C3  N37 1996. Also available online.

  • The 1910 federal population census : a catalog of microfilm copies of the schedules shelved in Firestone stacks at: Z7553.C3 N37 1982. Also available online.

  • The 1920 federal population census : a catalog of National Archives microfilm shelved in Firestone stacks at: Z7553.C3 A17 1991. Also available online.

  • The 1930 federal population census. Online microfilm locator available from NARA.

Schedules themselves can be consulted on microfilm at the National Archives Records Administration (NARA) regional centers.

HeritageQuest offers searchable images of U.S. federal census records from 1790-1930 along with digitized books containing family and local histories from around the country.

Summary Data

Summary or statistical data has been published by the U.S.Census Bureau in various formats since 1790.

Guides & Indexes for U. S. Decennial Censuses:

  • 1790-1970: Bureau of the Census catalog of publications, 1790-1972 shelved at: (DSS)  Z7554.U5  U58 1974
  • 1980: Guide to 1980 U.S. decennial census publications located in (Recap)  HA202 .G84
  • 1990: Guide to 1990 U.S. decennial census publications located in (Recap)  HA203 .G845

Print volumes for the 1790 through 2000 decennial censuses are shelved in Data and Statistical Services Decennial Census area under the call number HA201 .[year].

The microfilm edition of the decennial census publications for 1790 through 1960 is shelved at (FILM) S00171 and located in Microforms Service on C floor of Firestone Library. Indexed by (FILMB) Z7554.U5R47 1975

Census data and maps are also available in cd-rom format. These cd-roms are available in the GIS Center at the Lewis Library.

  • CensusCD 1970 [electronic resource] / GeoLytics, Inc.  Available in the GIS Center, Lewis Library

  • CensusCD 1980 [electronic resource] / GeoLytics, Inc. Available in the GIS Center, Lewis Library

  • CensusCD 2000. Redistricting  [electronic resource].  Available in the GIS Center, Lewis Library

  • CensusCD 2000. Long form SF3 [electronic resource]. (LEWIS) COMPUTER FILE 137

  • CensusCD 2000. Blocks [electronic resource]. Available in the GIS Center, Lewis Library

  • CensusCD 40 years [electronic resource] : selected variables for US Census Tract for 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000 and mapping too / GeoLytics, Inc.  Available in the GIS Center, Lewis Library

  • CensusCD street [electronic resource].  Available in the GIS Center, Lewis Library

  • CensusCD neighborhood change database (NCDB) 1970-2000 tract data: selected variables for US Census tracts for 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000 and mapping too [electronic resource].  Available in the GIS Center, Lewis Library

  • CensusCD blocks : complete U. S. block data and maps [electronic resource] / GeoLytics, Inc. (LEWIS) COMPUTER FILE 72


 

Depository Info

The general public is welcome to use depository materials free of charge. For access information and hours, please consult the the online hours (choose "Firestone Library - Depository Access" from the drop down menu), Access Information Page, and the Firestone Access Office

PLEASE NOTE:  While the general public is welcome to use depository materials free of charge, many of our U.S. Government resources, including many of the resources listed in this research guide, are not depository materials and may only be used by Princeton University students, faculty, and staff.  This includes most of the electronic resources such as Proquest Congressional and Hein Online.

Princeton University Library adheres to the following policies set by the Goverment Printing Office: FDLP Internet Use Policy Guidelines and Depository Library Public Service Guidelines for Government Information in Electronic Formats.