On June 1, 1880, the 1880 census taking began. Unlike previous censuses, which took several months, it was to be completed within thirty days. With one month to complete the census, less people were missed as in prior census periods.
There were two copies of every census schedule. The original copy was to be bound by county and located in the county courthouse. The copy was to be sent to Bureau of Census in Washington D.C.
The 1880 census asked similar questions to those asked in previous censuses, including name, sex, age, marital status, occupation and birthplaces of both the person in question and their parents.
Illnesses and physical and mental disabilities were also listed in the 1880 census. The census reported whether an individual was blind, deaf, dumb, idiotic, insane, maimed, or crippled.
Urban households were recorded in a more accurate way in the 1880 census. Both the street numbers and the house numbers were recorded.
This is the first census to use Indian as a race. Indian families may appear in the general population census. Make sure you also check the special Indian schedules.
There were also some special Native American schedules that were taken during the 1880 census. However, in general, “Indians not taxed” were still not recorded.
1880 Census Facts
1880 Census Number: 50,189,209
1880 Census Day: June 1, 1880
1880 Census duration: 1 month+
1880 Census States: 38 States
1880 Census Territories: 12 Territories
Questions Asked in the 1880 Census
Some of the questions answered by the 1880 census included:
Example of the 1880 United States Federal Census for Paulding County Georgia
Name of each person in household
Relationship to Head of Household
- Marital Status (Single, Married, Widowed, Divorced)
- Married within previous year
- Month of Marriage, If married within the previous year
- Deaf, dumb, blind or insane
- Sick or temporarily disabled
- Maimed, crippled, bedridden or otherwise disabled
Place of Birth
- Each person’s parents
- Attended school in previous year
- Ability to read and write in English
- Value of Real Estate
- Name of street and number of house
1880 Census Schedules
Five schedules were prepared for the 1880 census. They included:
Schedule 1 - Population: which was similar to that used for the previous census, with a few exceptions
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 4 - Social Statistics: was the responsibility of experts and special agents, rather than the enumerators. The majority of the data came from correspondence with officials of institutions providing care and treatment of certain members of the population.
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.
1880 Census Resources
You may find the following resources helpful in your research of the 1880 census data.
Indian families may appear in the general population census. Make sure you also check the special Indian schedules.
Head of Household Relations
The 1880 census was the first to identify an individual’s relation to the head of household.
The Census Bureau set up “Enumeration Districts” which were charted out on maps. There was an Enumeration supervisor for each district and was responsible for counting every person within the district and making a copy of every schedule.
The 1880 census were ordered to keep the answers to the census strictly private and could not share the information with anyone. This was the beginning of 72 year privacy rule.
The general public would not be allowed to view the content of the census for 72 years.
Historical Considerations of the 1880 Census
Recognition of Women
The 1880 census was the first United States census that allowed women to work as enumerators.
It was also the first census to collect the relationship of household members to the head of the household.
This simple addition of “wife” or “daughter” beside a person’s name provides valuable insight about the relationships within the families, and could help to identify unmarried daughters.
It may even list mothers-in-law, cousins and other extended family members.
Interesting facts about the 1880 census
Rutherford B. Hayes is President during the 1880 census.
The U.S. population increased by 30.2 percent over the 39,818,449 persons enumerated during the 1870 Census.
It took approximately $5,791,000 and 31,382 enumerators to complete the 1880 census
The processing of the 1880 census data took eight years. The Census Bureau contracted Herman Hollerith to design and build a tabulating machine to be used for the 1890 Census.
The 1880 Census was the first census to document the relationship between each person and the head of household. First census to list marital status, street name and house number in addition to the birthplace of people’s parents.
New York City area passes the 1 million mark with a population of 1,206,299.
The 1880 census may provide clues to genetic diseases in earlier generations of a family. The census reported whether an individual was blind, deaf, dumb, idiotic, insane, maimed, or crippled.
The 1880 census was the first U. S. census to use “Indian” as a race classification.
Indians not taxed are not in regular population schedules. Some may appear in special Indian schedules.
Historical events surrounding the 1880 US Census
October 26, 1881 - A gunfight breaks out at the O.K. corral in Tombstone, AZ.
September 4, 1882 - Thomas Edison’s Pearl Street Station became the first central power plant in the United States, generating electricity for 400 street lamps and 85 customers.
June 17, 1885 - The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York from France.