The United State Census of 1870 was the ninth United States Census
The United States Census is a decennial census mandated by the United States Constitution. The population is enumerated every 10 years and the results are used to allocate Congressional seats , electoral votes, and government program funding. The United States Census Bureau The United States Census...
. Conducted by the Census Bureau in June 1870, the 1870 Census was the first census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...
to provide detailed information on the black population, only years after the culmination of the Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...
when slaves were granted freedom. The population was said to be 38,555,983 individuals, a 22.62% increase since 1860. The 1870 Census’ population estimate is controversial, as many believed it underestimated the true population numbers, especially in New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...
Census Act of 1850
Under the Census Act of 1850, two new structural changes during the 1870 Census occurred: marshals had to return the completed population questionnaire to the Census Office in September and penalties for refusing to reply to enumerator
The Census Taker is the soundtrack to the 1984 movie of the same name , released in 1985. The soundtrack was composed entirely by The Residents, which includes some new tracks, such as "Hellno" and "Where Is She", as well as some reworked older songs...
questions were extended to encompass every question on the questionnaires.
The commonly past-used slave questionnaires were redesigned to reflect the American society after the Civil War. The five schedules for the 1870 Census were the following: General Population, Mortality, Agriculture, Products of Industry, and Social Statistics.
The general population saw a 22.62% increase to 38,555,983 individuals in 1870. Charges of an undercount, however, have been brought against Francis Amasa Walker
Francis Amasa Walker was an American economist, statistician, journalist, educator, academic administrator, and military officer in the Union Army. Walker was born into a prominent Boston family, the son of the economist and politician Amasa Walker, and he graduated from Amherst College at the age...
, the Superintendent of the Census.
Mortality rate is a measure of the number of deaths in a population, scaled to the size of that population, per unit time...
s in 1870, in general, decreased as a fraction of the total population by 0.03% from 1860 and by 0.11% from 1850. The lower death rates indicate that the standard of living has increased, due to some exogenous factor, over the period of twenty years from 1850 to 1870.
In terms of products of industry, total U.S. wealth increases by 17.3% from 1860 to 1870, to reach an assessed wealth of $14,178,986,732. The four main state contributors to this wealth were New York, Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...
, Pennsylvania, and Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...
, in that order. Most of the wealth was concentrated in the developed Northeast region, as newer states like Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...
were beginning to develop their young economies.
The 1870 Census was the first of its kind to record the nativity of the American population. This social statistic indicates which areas were more highly composed of immigrants than native-born Americans. New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...
had the most foreign-born individuals, with 419,094 foreigners, who comprised 44.5% of the city’s total population. Philadelphia, Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...
, St. Louis, and San Francisco also had a great population of foreigners that made up a significant fraction of their total populations. Therefore, a great ethnic and cultural change was witnessed from 1860 to 1870, as part of the population growth
Population growth is the change in a population over time, and can be quantified as the change in the number of individuals of any species in a population using "per unit time" for measurement....
was due to immigrants moving in and a shuffling of residents across state borders.
The 1870 census collected the following information
• color (including Chinese and Indian)
Citizenship is the state of being a citizen of a particular social, political, national, or human resource community. Citizenship status, under social contract theory, carries with it both rights and responsibilities...
for males over 21
• profession, occupation or trade
• value of real estate
In general use, esp. North American, 'real estate' is taken to mean "Property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals, or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this; an item of real property; buildings or...
• value of personal estate
• place of birth
• whether father and mother were foreign born
• born within the year
• married within the year
• attended school within the year
• whether able to read and write (for persons 10 years old and over)
• whether deaf and dumb, blind, insane or idiotic
Full documentation for the 1870 population census, including census forms and enumerator instructions, is available from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series.
Population undercounting controversy
Although Francis Walker, the Superintendent of the 1870 Census, defended the quality of the census, arguing that standardized, clear, and statistical approaches and practices were carried out across all regions of America, the public at the time was disappointed in the national growth rate and suspected underenumeration. With especially bitter complaints coming from New York and Philadelphia claiming up to a third of the population was not counted, the President made the rare move to order a recount in those areas. While it was thought a large fraction of the population was not counted for being indoors in the wintry cold, newer estimates resulted in only a 2.5% increase in Philadelphia’s population and a 2% increase in New York’s.
This controversy of the 1870 undercount resurfaced in 1890, when the national growth rate between 1880 and 1890 was discovered to be much lower than it was between 1870 and 1880. Critics then asserted that the 1870 population must have been underenumerated by over 1.2 million people to account for the discrepancy between growth rates; it was presumed that the growth rate in 1880 had to be exaggerated because of the 1870 undercount. Despite the fact that modern investigations have yet to quantify the exact effect of the undercount, most modern social scientist
Social Scientist is a New Delhi based journal in social sciences and humanities published since 1972....
s do not believe the undercount was as severe as 1890 investigators assumed. Today most analyzers compare the 1870 undercount to the non-response rates seen in most modern census data.