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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

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 (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.

Map coverage of the 1850 census

Statistics

Find all 1850 census publications in the Library.


Key publications:

Print available in the Library

Online access

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

 Census Bureau

 Newsbank

 Univ. of Michigan

 GPO

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

 Newsbank

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

 Census Bureau

 Newsbank

 Univ. of Michigan

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

 Census Bureau

 GPO

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

 Census Bureau

 GPO