1880 United States Census

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Thomas Edison in the 1880 US census

The United States Census of 1880 conducted by the Census Bureau during June 1880 was the tenth United States Census.[1] It was the first time that women were permitted to be enumerators.[2] The Superintendent of the Census was Francis Amasa Walker.[3]

Data collected

Five schedules were authorized by the 1880 Census Act, four of which were filled out by the enumerators:[4]

  • Schedule 1 (Population), which was similar to that used for the previous census, with a few exceptions.[5]
  • Schedule 2 (Mortality), which used the same inquiries as in 1870, and added inquiries to record marital status, birthplace of parents, length of residence in the United States or territory, and name of place where the disease was contracted, if other than place of death.
  • Schedule 3 (Agriculture), which greatly expanded inquiries concerning various crops (including acreage for principal crop), and included questions on farm tenure, weeks of hired labor, annual cost for fence building and repair, fertilizer purchases, and the number of livestock.
  • Schedule 5 (Manufacturing), which expanded to include information on the greatest number of hands employed at any time during the year, the number of hours in the ordinary work day from May to November and November to May, the average daily wages paid to skilled mechanics and laborers, months of full-and part-time operation, and machinery used.

Schedule 4 (Social statistics) was the responsibility of experts and special agents, rather than the enumerators.[4] The majority of the data came from correspondence with officials of institutions providing care and treatment of certain members of the population. Experts and special agents also were employed to collect data on valuation, taxation, and indebtedness; religion and libraries; colleges, academies, and schools; newspapers and periodicals, and wages.[4]

Special agents were also charged with collecting data on specific industries throughout the country, and included the manufactures of iron and steel; cotton, woolen, and worsted goods; silk and silk goods; chemical products and salt; coke and glass; shipbuilding; and all aspects of fisheries and mining, including the production of coal and petroleum.[4]

Full documentation for the 1880 population census, including census forms and enumerator instructions, is available from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, which contains microdata.

Data availability

The original census enumeration sheets were microfilmed by the Census Bureau; after which the original sheets were transferred to various state archives, libraries, or universities.[6] The microfilmed census is available in rolls from the National Archives and Records Administration. Several organizations also host images of the microfilmed census online, along which digital indices.

Microdata from the 1880 population census are freely available through the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series. Aggregate data for small areas, together with compatible cartographic boundary files, can be downloaded from the National Historical Geographic Information System.


The 1880 census determined the resident population of the United States to be 50,189,209, an increase of 30.2 percent over the 39,818,449 persons enumerated during the 1870 Census.[7] The mean center of United States population for 1880 was in Boone County, Kentucky.

The results from the census were used to determine the apportionment for the 48th, 49th, 50th, 51st, and 52nd sessions of the United States Congress.

The processing of the 1880 census data took so long (eight years) that the Census Bureau contracted Herman Hollerith to design and build a tabulating machine to be used for the next census.[8][9] The 1880 census also led to the discovery of the Alabama paradox.

City rankings

Rank City State Population[10] Region (2016)[11]
01 New York New York 1,206,299 Northeast
02 Philadelphia Pennsylvania 847,170 Northeast
03 Brooklyn New York 566,663 Northeast
04 Chicago Illinois 503,185 Midwest
05 Boston Massachusetts 362,839 Northeast
06 St. Louis Missouri 350,518 Midwest
07 Baltimore Maryland 332,313 South
08 Cincinnati Ohio 255,139 Midwest
09 San Francisco California 233,959 West
10 New Orleans Louisiana 216,090 South
11 Cleveland Ohio 160,146 Midwest
12 Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 156,389 Northeast
13 Buffalo New York 155,134 Northeast
14 Washington District of Columbia 147,293 South
15 Newark New Jersey 136,508 Northeast
16 Louisville Kentucky 123,758 South
17 Jersey City New Jersey 120,722 Northeast
18 Detroit Michigan 116,340 Midwest
19 Milwaukee Wisconsin 115,587 Midwest
20 Providence Rhode Island 104,857 Northeast
21 Albany New York 90,758 Northeast
22 Rochester New York 89,366 Northeast
23 Allegheny Pennsylvania 78,682 Northeast
24 Indianapolis Indiana 75,056 Midwest
25 Richmond Virginia 63,600 South
26 New Haven Connecticut 62,882 Northeast
27 Lowell Massachusetts 59,475 Northeast
28 Worcester Massachusetts 58,291 Northeast
29 Troy New York 56,747 Northeast
30 Kansas City Missouri 55,785 Midwest
31 Cambridge Massachusetts 52,669 Northeast
32 Syracuse New York 51,792 Northeast
33 Columbus Ohio 51,647 Midwest
34 Paterson New Jersey 51,031 Northeast
35 Toledo Ohio 50,137 Midwest
36 Charleston South Carolina 49,984 South
37 Fall River Massachusetts 48,961 Northeast
38 Minneapolis Minnesota 46,887 Midwest
39 Scranton Pennsylvania 45,850 Northeast
40 Nashville Tennessee 43,350 South
41 Reading Pennsylvania 43,278 Northeast
42 Wilmington Delaware 42,478 South
43 Hartford Connecticut 42,015 Northeast
44 Camden New Jersey 41,659 Northeast
45 Saint Paul Minnesota 41,473 Midwest
46 Lawrence Massachusetts 39,151 Northeast
47 Dayton Ohio 38,678 Midwest
48 Lynn Massachusetts 38,274 Northeast
49 Atlanta Georgia 37,409 South
50 Denver Colorado 35,629 West
51 Oakland California 34,555 West
52 Utica New York 33,914 Northeast
53 Portland Maine 33,810 Northeast
54 Memphis Tennessee 33,592 South
55 Springfield Massachusetts 33,340 Northeast
56 Manchester New Hampshire 32,630 Northeast
57 St. Joseph Missouri 32,431 Midwest
58 Grand Rapids Michigan 32,016 Midwest
59 Hoboken New Jersey 30,999 Northeast
60 Harrisburg Pennsylvania 30,762 Northeast
61 Wheeling West Virginia 30,737 South
62 Savannah Georgia 30,709 South
63 Omaha Nebraska 30,518 Midwest
64 Trenton New Jersey 29,910 Northeast
65 Covington Kentucky 29,720 South
66 Evansville Indiana 29,280 Midwest
67 Peoria Illinois 29,259 Midwest
68 Mobile Alabama 29,132 South
69 Elizabeth New Jersey 28,229 Northeast
70 Erie Pennsylvania 27,737 Northeast
71 Bridgeport Connecticut 27,643 Northeast
72 Salem Massachusetts 27,563 Northeast
73 Quincy Illinois 27,268 Midwest
74 Fort Wayne Indiana 26,880 Midwest
75 New Bedford Massachusetts 26,845 Northeast
76 Terre Haute Indiana 26,042 Midwest
77 Lancaster Pennsylvania 25,769 Northeast
78 Somerville Massachusetts 24,933 Northeast
79 Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania 23,339 Northeast
80 Des Moines Iowa 22,408 Midwest
81 Dubuque Iowa 22,254 Midwest
82 Galveston Texas 22,248 South
83 Norfolk Virginia 21,966 South
84 Auburn New York 21,924 Northeast
85 Holyoke Massachusetts 21,915 Northeast
86 Augusta Georgia 21,891 South
87 Davenport Iowa 21,831 Midwest
88 Chelsea Massachusetts 21,782 Northeast
89 Petersburg Virginia 21,656 South
90 Sacramento California 21,420 West
91 Taunton Massachusetts 21,213 Northeast
92 Oswego New York 21,116 Northeast
93 Salt Lake City Utah 20,768 West
94 Springfield Ohio 20,730 Midwest
95 Bay City Michigan 20,693 Midwest
96 San Antonio Texas 20,550 South
97 Elmira New York 20,541 Northeast
98 Newport Kentucky 20,433 South
99 Poughkeepsie New York 20,207 Northeast
100 Springfield Illinois 19,743 Midwest

See also


  1. ^ 1880 Census: Instructions to Enumerators from IPUMS, a website of the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota
  2. ^ From Inkwell To Internet: 1880 from the U.S. Census Bureau
  3. ^ Billings, John S. (1902). "Biographical Memoir of Francis Amasa Walker 1840–1897" (PDF). National Academy Press. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 22, 2009. Retrieved June 19, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d 1880 Census of Population and Housing from the U.S. Census Bureau
  5. ^ Scanned images of Schedule 1 (both low-resolution and high-resolution) are available from Historical Forms and Questions: 1880 at the U.S. Census Bureau website
  6. ^ Algonquin Area Public Library District. "Census Secrets" (PDF). Retrieved May 17, 2012. 
  7. ^ Resident Population of the United States from a State of Wyoming website
  8. ^ Anderson, Margo J. (2015). The American Census, A Social History, 2nd ed. Yale. p. 102.  "The final volumes of the 1880 census were published in 1888" thus 1880,1,2,3,4,5,6,7 -- eight years at least
  9. ^ Tabulating machines [1] from an Early Office Museum website [2]
  10. ^ Population of the 100 Largest Cities and Other Urban Places in the United States: 1790 to 1990, U.S. Census Bureau, 1998 
  11. ^ "Regions and Divisions". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved September 9, 2016. 

External links

  • 1880 Census of Population and Housing Reports
  • 1881 U.S Census Report Contains 1880 Census results
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