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Census Research Guide: 1850

About the 1850 Census

Census Bureau's "By Decade" website - includes a variety of publications, questionnaires, datasets, and more


  • 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 (see questionnaire)

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 on this map:

Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790 - 1920

Finding Statistics

Social Explorer - remote access limited to UCSD affiliates

Finding Publications

Find all 1850 census publications in the library catalog.

Selected publications:

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

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

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

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

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