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1790 United States Census Questions

The 1790 US census, the first for the young country, differs from later censuses since each enumerator was required to supply his own census forms on whatever paper he had. As a result, the pages differed greatly in their return to the government. However, the enumerators had to ask a certain set of questions to be answered by each household.

Note that this census is a head of household census only. In other words, only the head of the household is listed by name. This is true of all federal censuses until the 1850 census.


Column Question
none name of head of the family
none number of free white males 16 years and older
none number of free white males under 16 years
none number of free white females
none number of all other free persons
none number of slaves
none sometimes also town or district of residence

Only about two-thirds of the original data from this census still survives. This census has some district losses in the data from Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, New Jersey, and Virginia.

In some instances, census substitutes are available which use existing land and tax records for this census period.

To save an Adobe Acrobat copy of the questions from the 1790 census in the United States click here. Use the back arrow to return here after the download.



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