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U.S. Government Documents: Questions Asked on the U. S. Decennial Census Questionnaire

General Information

A basic tenet of work with U.S. Census Data is to be sure that the elements wanted were actually included in the questions asked in a particular census. Up until and including 1930, everyone was asked the same questions. In 1940 and following, there was a short form, asked of most people, and a long form, asked of a smaller sample of the population. The long form, with many more detailed questions, provided a sample to give more complete estimated data on the national population.

First Census - Tenth Census

The First U.S. Census in 1790 asked:

  • the name of the head of household,
  • the number of free white males under 16,
  • the number of free white males 16 or older,
  • the number of free white females of any age,
  • the name of a slave owner,
  • the number of slaves owned by that person. 

Print Report pages: 56 pages. Schedules: 12 rolls of microfilm; many schedules lost.

The Second U.S. Census in 1800 asked:

  • the name of the head of household,
  • the number of free white males in specific age categories,
  • the number of free white females in specific age categories,
  • the name of a slave owner,
  • the number of slaves owned by that person.

Print report pages: 74 pages. Schedules: 52 rolls of microfilm; some schedules lost.

The Third U.S. Census in 1810 asked:

  • the name of the head of household,
  • the number of free white males in specific age categories,
  • the number of free white females in specific age categories,
  • the name of a slave owner,
  • the number of slaves owned by that person.

Print report pages: 469 pages. Schedules: 71 rolls of microfilm.

The Fourth U.S. Census in 1820 asked:

  • the name of the head of household,
  • the number of free white males in specific age categories,
  • the number of free white females in specific age categories,
  • the name of a slave owner,
  • the number of slaves owned by that person,
  • the number of male and female slaves by age categories,
  • the number of foreigners (not naturalized) in a household.

Print report pages: 288 pages. Schedules: 142 rolls of microfilm.

The Fifth U.S. Census in 1830 asked:

  • the name of the head of household,
  • the number of free white males in specific age categories,
  • the number of free white females in specific age categories.
  • the name of a slave owner,
  • the number of slaves owned by that person,
  • the number of male and female slaves by age categories,
  • the number of foreigners (not naturalized) in a household,
  • the number of deaf, dumb, and blind persons within a household.

 Print report pages: 214 pages. Schedules: 201 rolls of microfilm.

The Sixth U.S. Census in 1840 asked:

  • the name of the head of household,
  • the number of free white males in specific age categories,
  • the number of free white females in specific age categories,
  • the name of a slave owner,
  • the number of slaves owned by that person,
  • the number of male and female slaves by age categories,
  • the number of foreigners (not naturalized) in a household,
  • the number of deaf, dumb, and blind persons within a household,
  • the number and age of each person receiving a military pension,
  • the number of persons attending school.

Print report pages: 1465 pages. Schedules: 580 rolls of microfilm.

The Seventh U.S. Census in 1850, on the census day of 1 June 1850, asked for the first time:

  • the name of every person in the household,
  • their age as of the census day,
  • their sex,
  • their color,
  • their birthplace,
  • their occupation,
  • the value of their real estate,
  • whether married within the previous year,
  • whether deaf, dumb, blind, or insane,
  • whether a pauper,
  • whether able to read or speak English,
  • whether they attended school within the previous year.
  • No relationships were asked between members of a household.

Print report pages: 2165 pages. Schedules: 1009 rolls of microfilm.

The Eighth U.S. Census in 1860, on the census day of 1 June 1860, asked:

  • the name of every person in the household,
  • their age as of the census day,
  • their sex,
  • their color,
  • their birthplace,
  • their occupation,
  • the value of their real estate,
  • the value of their personal estate,
  • whether married within the previous year,
  • whether deaf, dumb, blind, or insane,
  • whether a pauper,
  • whether able to read or speak English,
  • whether they attended school within the previous year.
  • No relationships were asked among members of the household.

Print report pages: 3189 pages. Schedules: 1438 rolls of microfilm.

The Ninth U.S. Census in 1870, on the census day of 1 June, 1870, asked:

  • the name of every person in the household,
  • their age as of the census day,
  • month of birth if born during the year,
  • their sex,
  • their color,
  • their birthplace,
  • their occupation,
  • value of their real estate,
  • value of their personal estate,
  • whether married within the previous year,
  • the month of marriage if married within the previous year,
  • whether deaf, dumb, blind, or insane,
  • whether able to read or write
  • whether father or mother of foreign birth,
  • whether they attended school within the previous year.
  • No relationships were asked among members of the household.

Print report pages: 3473 pages. Schedules: 1748 rolls of microfilm.

The Tenth U.S. Census in 1880, on the census day of 1 June, 1880, asked:

  • the name of every person in the household,
  • their age as of the census day,
  • month of birth if born during the year,
  • relationship to the head of household,
  • name of street and number of house,
  • their sex,
  • their color,
  • their birthplace,
  • their occupation,
  • their marital status,
  • whether married within the previous year,
  • whether temporarily or permanently disabled,
  • whether crippled, maimed, or deformed,
  • time unemployed during the census year,
  • whether deaf, dumb, blind, or insane,
  • whether able to read or write,
  • birthplace of father and mother,
  • whether they attended school within the previous year.

Print report pages: 21,458 pages. Schedules: 1454 rolls of microfilm.


Eleventh Census - Twenty-second Census

An act of March 1, 1889, provided that the Superintendent of Census in taking the Eleventh Census should "cause to be taken on a special schedule of inquiry, according to such form as he may prescribe, the names, organizations, and length of service of those who had served in the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps of the United States in the war of the rebellion, and who are survivors at the time of said inquiry, and the widows of soldiers, sailors, or marines." Much of the schedules from the Eleventh Census were lost to fire.


Print report pages: 26,408 pages. Schedules: many schedules lost.

The Twelfth U.S. Census in 1900 asked:

  • the name of every person in the household,
  • their age,
  • month of birth,
  • relationship to the head of household,
  • name of street and number of house,
  • their sex,
  • their color,
  • their birthplace,
  • their occupation,
  • their marital status,
  • number of years in the U.S.,
  • birthplace of father and mother,
  • whether parents were of foreign birth,
  • whether able to read or write, speak English, or attended school within the previous year,
  • number of years married,
  • number children born to mother,
  • number of living children.

Print report pages: 10,925 pages. Schedules: 1854 rolls of microfilm.

The Thirteenth U.S. Census in 1910 asked

  • the name of every person in the household,
  • their age,
  • relationship to the head of house,
  • name of street and number of house,
  • their sex,
  • their color,
  • their birthplace,
  • their occupation,
  • their marital status,
  • number of years in the U.S.,
  • birthplace of father and mother,
  • whether parents were of foreign birth,
  • whether able to read or write speak English, or attended school within the previous year,
  • number of years married,
  • number of children born to a mother,
  • number of children still living at the time of the census.

Print report pages: 11,456 pages. Schedules: 1784 rolls of microfilm.

The Fourteenth U.S. Census in 1920 asked:

  • the name of every person in the household,
  • their age,
  • relationship to the head of household,
  • name of street and number of house,
  • their sex,
  • their color,
  • their birthplace,
  • their occupation,
  • their marital status,
  • number of years in the U.S.,
  • birthplace of father and mother,
  • whether parents were of foreign birth,
  • whether able to read or write, speak English,
  • whether they attended school within the previous year.

 Print report pages: 14,550 pages. Schedules:2076 rolls of microfilm.

The Fifteenth U.S. Census in 1930, on the census day of 1 April, 1930, (except Alaska October 1 1929) asked:

  • the name of every person in the household,
  • their age,
  • their relationship to head of household,
  • their sex,
  • their color or race,
  • their marital status,
  • their age at first marriage,
  • whether they attended school or college within the previous year,
  • whether able to read and write,
  • whether able to speak English,
  • place of birth of person,
  • place of birth of their mother,
  • place of birth of their father,
  • native language if foreign born,
  • citizenship,
  • if foreign born, year of immigration to the U.S.,
  • naturalization,
  • which trade, profession, or particular kind of work done, such as spinner, salesman, riveter, teacher, etc.,
  • in which industry or business, such as cotton mill, dry-goods store, shipyard, public school, etc.,
  • class of worker,
  • whether at work yesterday or on the last regular working day,
  • whether a veteran of U.S. military or naval force
  • if so, what war or expedition,
  • whether home owned or rented,
  • value of home, if owned, or monthly rental, if rented,
  • radio set,
  • does this family live on a farm.

 Print report pages: 35,700 pages. Schedules: Just released.

The Sixteenth U.S. Census in 1940 asked:

  • the name of every person in the household,
  • their age relationship to the head of household, and much additional detail.  

For questions asked, look at appendices of the Statistical Volumes. Print report pages: 58,400 pages. Schedules to be released 2012.

The Seventeenth U.S. Census in 1950 asked:

  • the name of every person in the household,
  • their age relationship to the head of household, and much additional detail.

For questions asked, look at appendices of the Statistical Volumes. Print report pages: 61,700 pages. Schedules to be released 2022.

The Eighteenth U.S. Census in 1960 asked:

  • the name of every person in the household,
  • their age relationship to the head of household. and much additional detail.

For questions asked, look at appendices of the Statistical Volumes. Print report pages:103,000 pages. Schedules to be released 2032.

The Nineteenth U.S. Census in 1970 asked:

  • the name of every person in the household,
  • their age relationship to the head of household, and much additional detail.

For questions asked, look at appendices of the Statistical Volumes. Print report pages: 200,000 pages. Schedules to be released 2042.

The Twentieth U.S. Census in 1980 asked:

  • the name of every person in the household,
  • their age relationship to the head of household, and much additional detail.

For questions asked, look at appendices of the Statistical Volumes. Print report pages: 300,000 pages. Schedules to be released 2052.

The Twenty-first U.S. Census in 1990 asked:

  • the name of every person in the household,
  • their age relationship to the head of household; and much additional detail.

For questions asked, look at appendices of the Statistical Volumes. Print report pages: 500,000 pages. Schedules to be released 2062. Note: The 21st Census in 1990 was the first to use electronic media to produce summary data, and so the page count for products released is not a significant measure for the product output of this and following censuses.

The Twenty-second U.S. Census in 2000 asked:

  • the name of every person in the household,
  • their age relationship to the head of household, and much additional detail.

For questions asked, look at facsimile of the questionnaries on the Census Bureau's web site. Print report pages: This measure is no longer significant since reports for this census are released on the Internet. Schedules to be released 2072.

 

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