1820 United States Census

The United States Census of 1820 was the fourth Census conducted in the United States. It was conducted on August 7, 1820. The 1820 Census included six new states: Louisiana, Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois, Alabama and Maine. There has been a district wide loss of 1820 Census records for Arkansas Territory, Missouri Territory and New Jersey, however.

1820 United States Census
General information
CountryUnited States
Date takenAugust 7, 1820 (1820-08-07)
Total population9,638,453

The total population was determined to be 9,638,453, of which 1,538,022 were slaves. The center of population was about 120 miles (193 km) west-northwest of Washington in Hardy County, Virginia (now in West Virginia).

This was the first census in which a state recorded a population of over one million – New York and Pennsylvania – as well as the first in which a city recorded a population of over 100,000 – New York. It was also the first census in which Baltimore was ranked as the country's second-most populous city.

Census questions

The 1820 census contains a great deal more information than previous censuses. Enumerators listed the following data in columns, left to right:

  1. Name of the head of family
  2. # of free white males under age 10
  3. # of free white males age 10-16
  4. # of free white males age 16-18
  5. # of free white males age 16-26
  6. # of free white males age 26-45
  7. # of free white males age 45 and up
  8. # of free white females under age 10
  9. # of free white females age 10-16
  10. # of free white females age 16-26
  11. # of free white females age 26-45
  12. # of free white females age 45 and up
  13. # of foreigners not naturalized
  14. # of persons engaged in agriculture
  15. # of persons engaged in commerce
  16. # of persons engaged in manufacture
  17. # of male slaves under 14
  18. # of male slaves age 14-26
  19. # of male slaves age 26-45
  20. # of male slaves age 45 and up
  21. # of female slaves under 14
  22. # of female slaves age 14-26
  23. # of female slaves age 26-45
  24. # of female slaves age 45 and up
  25. # of free male colored persons under 14
  26. # of free male colored persons age 14-26
  27. # of free male colored persons age 26-45
  28. # of free male colored persons age 45 and up
  29. # of free female colored persons under 14
  30. # of free female colored persons age 14-26
  31. # of free female colored persons age 26-45
  32. # of free female colored persons age 45 and up
  33. # of all other persons except Indians not taxed

Several of these columns were for special counts, and not to be included in the aggregate total. Doing so would have resulted in counting some individuals twice. Census takers were asked to use double lines, red ink or some other method of distinguishing these columns so that double counting would not occur. For example, the count of free white males between 16 and 18 was a special count, because these individuals were also supposed to be tabulated in the column for free white males of age 16 and under 26.

The other special counts were foreigners not naturalized, persons engaged in agriculture, persons engaged in commerce, and persons engaged in manufacture.

Census takers were also instructed to count each individual in only one of the occupational columns. For example, if an individual was engaged in agriculture, commerce, and manufacture, the census taker had to judge which one the individual was primarily engaged in.

Note to Researchers

Censustaking was not yet an exact science. Before 1830, enumerators lacked pre-printed forms, and drew up their own, sometimes resulting in pages without headings, line tallies, or column totals. As a result, census records for many towns before 1830 are idiosyncratic. This is not to suggest that they are less reliable than subsequent censuses, but that they may require more work on the part of the researcher.

State rankings

RankStatePopulation
01New York1,372,812
02Pennsylvania1,049,458
03Virginia938,261
04North Carolina638,829
05Ohio581,434
06Kentucky564,317
07Massachusetts523,287
08South Carolina502,741
09Tennessee422,813
10Maryland407,350
11Georgia340,989
12Maine298,335
13New Jersey277,575
14Connecticut275,202
15New Hampshire244,161
16Vermont235,764
17Louisiana153,407
18Indiana147,178
XWest Virginia [1]136,808
19Alabama127,901
20Rhode Island83,059
21Mississippi75,448
22Delaware72,749
XMissouri66,586
23Illinois55,211
XDistrict of Columbia [2]23,336
XArkansas14,273
XMichigan7,452
XWisconsin1,444

City rankings

RankCityStatePopulation[3]Region (2016)[4]
01New YorkNew York123,706Northeast
02BaltimoreMaryland78,444 South
03PhiladelphiaPennsylvania63,802Northeast
04BostonMassachusetts43,298Northeast
05New OrleansLouisiana27,176South
06CharlestonSouth Carolina24,780South
07Northern LibertiesPennsylvania19,678Northeast
08SouthwarkPennsylvania14,713Northeast
09WashingtonDistrict of Columbia13,247South
10SalemMassachusetts12,731Northeast
11AlbanyNew York12,630Northeast
12RichmondVirginia12,067South
13ProvidenceRhode Island11,767Northeast
14CincinnatiOhio9,642Midwest
15PortlandMaine8,581Northeast
16NorfolkVirginia8,478South
17AlexandriaDistrict of Columbia8,218South
18SavannahGeorgia7,523South
19GeorgetownDistrict of Columbia7,360South
20PortsmouthNew Hampshire7,327Northeast
21NewportRhode Island7,319Northeast
22NantucketMassachusetts7,266Northeast
23PittsburghPennsylvania7,248Northeast
24BrooklynNew York7,175Northeast
25New HavenConnecticut7,147Northeast
26KensingtonPennsylvania7,118Northeast
27NewburyportMassachusetts6,852Northeast
28PetersburgVirginia6,690South
29LancasterPennsylvania6,633Northeast
30CharlestownMassachusetts6,591Northeast
31GloucesterMassachusetts6,384Northeast
32MarbleheadMassachusetts5,630Northeast
33HudsonNew York5,310Northeast
34LexingtonKentucky5,279South
35TroyNew York5,264Northeast
36HartfordConnecticut4,726Northeast
37MiddleboroughMassachusetts4,687Northeast
38TauntonMassachusetts4,520Northeast
39LynnMassachusetts4,515Northeast
40PlymouthMassachusetts4,348Northeast
41ReadingPennsylvania4,332Northeast
42BeverlyMassachusetts4,283Northeast
43RoxburyMassachusetts4,135Northeast
44LouisvilleKentucky4,012South
45New BedfordMassachusetts3,947Northeast
46TrentonNew Jersey3,942Northeast
47SchenectadyNew York3,939Northeast
48New BernNorth Carolina3,663South
49FrederickMaryland3,640South
50YorkPennsylvania3,545Northeast
51FayettevilleNorth Carolina3,532South
52ElizabethNew Jersey3,515Northeast
53Spring GardenPennsylvania3,498Northeast
54New LondonConnecticut3,330Northeast
55HarrisburgPennsylvania2,990Northeast
56NorwichConnecticut2,983Northeast
57UticaNew York2,972Northeast
58CarlislePennsylvania2,908Northeast
59RaleighNorth Carolina2,674South
60HagerstownMaryland2,670South
61WilmingtonNorth Carolina2,633South
62MiddletownConnecticut2,618Northeast

Further reading

References

  1. Between 1790 and 1860, the state of West Virginia was part of Virginia; the data for each states reflect the present-day boundaries.
  2. The District of Columbia is not a state but was created with the passage of the Residence Act of 1790. The territory that formed that federal capital was originally donated by both Maryland and Virginia; however, the Virginia portion was returned by Congress in 1846.
  3. Population of the 100 Largest Cities and Other Urban Places in the United States: 1790 to 1990, U.S. Census Bureau, 1998
  4. "Regions and Divisions". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on December 3, 2016. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
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