A Century of Population Growth: From the First Census of the U.S. to the Twelfth 1790-1900

a0131By an Act of Congress in 1907 and “In order to permanently to preserve the valuable but vanishing census records which still remain, relating to the first year of constitutional government, and in response to urgent requests from many patriotic societies…Congress authorized…the publication, by the Director of the Census, of the names of heads of families returned at the First Census.”

After publication of multiple volumes it was determined a final volume was needed. This final volume was to act as historical reference to the First Census and present statics regarding change since the 1790 census up to 1900. The task fell to W. S. Rossiter, chief clerk of the Census. The results were A Century of Population Growth: From the First Census of the U.S. to the Twelfth 1790-1900. The latest printing was done in 1989 by Heritage Quest Press – and while technically out-of-print, a very few copies are still available.

This reference title relates histories of censuses that were taken in the United States, beginning in 1790. It reports population in the Colonial and Continental periods, population of counties and their subdivisions, white and black population, and proportion of children in white population. A Century of Population Growth also contains information on surnames of the white population in 1790, nationality as indicated by names of heads of families reported at the first census, interstate migration, foreign born population, statistics of slaves, and occupations and wealth.

One of the most interesting parts of the book runs from pages 227 through 270 – found under the heading of General Tables, and Nomenclature, Dealing With Names Represented by at Least 100 White Persons, By States and Territories, at the First Census, 1790. This section lists the surnames and their variations (some with a dozen or more variations) of white folks with a least 100 persons in the census. It shows the average size of the families, and how many heads of families, as well as how many other family members were enumerated. – then it breaks down how many families were to be found per state.

This book is a treasure trove of information about censuses and provides a unique perspective through statical analysis. The book is filled with tables, charts, and maps making review and comparison quick and easy.

Table of Contents

Population in the Colonial and Continental Periods

  • Census procedure in colonial and continental periods
  • Population prior to 1790
  • Recent estimates of early population
  • Population of cities
  • Changes in urban population, 1710–1900

The United States in 1790

  • Boundaries and area
  • Currency
  • Transportation
  • The postal service
  • Industries
  • Education
  • Newspapers and periodicals
  • Slavery
  • Indians

The First Census of the United States

  • The First Census Act
  • Debates in the Congress
  • Provisions of the Act
  • Execution of the law
  • The enumeration
  • The returns
  • The enumerator’s schedules

Area and Total Population

  • Area
  • Population
  • Population by areas of enumeration
  • By states and territories
  • Density of population

Population of Counties and Their Subdivisions

  • County areas made comparable
  • Population of minor civil divisions
  • Names of towns not returned separately at the First Census
  • Population of cities

White and Negro Population

  • Survivors of 1790
  • Whites and negroes in total populations
  • In four principal cities
  • Comparison of increase in the United States and Europe
  • Increase by immigration
  • Natural increase
  • Of whites
  • Of negroes
  • Summary

Sex and Age of the White Population

  • Decrease in proportion of males
  • In proportion of each sex under 16 years
  • Influence of immigration
  • Of modern sanitary science

Analysis of the Family

  • Average size of private families
  • Slaveholding and nonslaveholding families
  • Proportion of children
  • Dwellings

Proportion of Children in the White Population

  • Ratio of white adults of self-supporting age to white children
  • Of white children to adult white females
  • Effect of changes in the proportion of children

Surnames of the White Population in 1790

  • Approximate number
  • Nomenclature
  • Preponderance of English and Scotch names
  • Unusual and striking surnames
  • Distribution of surnames
  • Concentration of population under certain names
  • Absence of middle names

Nationality as Indicated by Names of Heads of Families Reported at the First Census

  • Nationality in states for which schedules exist
  • In those for which schedules are missing
  • Composition of population of typical counties in 1900
  • Slaveholding by nationality

Interstate Migration

  • Analysis of population according to geographic division of residence and of birth
  • Decrease in contribution of original area of population of added area

Foreign Born Population

  • Proportions contributed by original and added areas
  • Change in character of population
  • Small proportion of foreign born in Southern States
  • Country of birth

Statistics of Slaves

  • Number of slaves in United States
  • In original and added areas
  • Slaveholding families
  • Number of white persons directly or indirectly connected with slaveholding
  • Ration of slaves to whites
  • Value of slaves

Occupations and Wealth

  • Occupations
  • Of heads of families in Philadelphia and Southwark in 1790
  • In United States in 1850 and 1900
  • Approximate wealth in 1790
  • Industry and wealth, 1850 and 1900

Order a copy of A Century of Population Growth: From the First Census of the U.S. to the Twelfth 1790-1900 for yourself or your library from Family Roots Publishing; Price: $44.10.

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