The First United States Census – 1790

By | Aug 2, 2010

The first United States Census began on Monday, August 2,1790 using that date as the ‘as of’ of the census. President George Washington had taken office the year before and the country wished to have a count of its population.

The Congress assigned responsibility for the 1790 census to the marshals of the U.S. judicial districts. The Act required that every household be visited and that completed census schedules be posted in public place

There were six pieces of information wanted for this census, The name of the head of the family and the number of persons in each household of the following descriptions: Free White males of 16 years and upward, free White males under 16 years, free White females, all other free persons , and slaves.

It showed that 3,929,326 people were living in the United States and that 697,681 were slaves.

The largest cities were New York City with 33,000 inhabitants, Philadelphia, with 28,000, Boston, with 18,000, Charleston, South Carolina, with 16,000, and Baltimore, with 13,000.

The mean center of population was located in Kent County, Maryland near the town of Chestertown, 23 miles east of Baltimore.


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