1860 United States Census

1860 US Census from the state of New York

The United States Census of 1860 was the eighth Census conducted in the United States starting June 1, 1860, and lasting five months. It determined the population of the United States to be 31,443,321, an increase of 35.4 percent over the 23,191,875 persons enumerated during the 1850 Census. The total population included 3,953,761 slaves, representing 12.6% of the total population.

By the time the 1860 census returns were ready for tabulation, the nation was sinking into the American Civil War. As a result, Census Superintendent Joseph C. G. Kennedy and his staff produced only an abbreviated set of public reports, without graphic or cartographic representations. The statistics did allow the Census staff to produce a cartographic display, including preparing maps of Southern states, for Union field commanders. These maps displayed militarily vital topics, including white population, slave population, predominant agricultural products (by county), and rail and post road transportation routes.

Census questions

The 1860 census Schedule 1 (Free Inhabitants) was one of two schedules that counted the population of the United States; the other was Schedule 2 (Slave Inhabitants). Schedule 1 collected the following information:[1]

Column Title Notes
1Dwelling-houses—numbered in the order of visitation.
2Families numbered in the order of visitation
3The name of every person whose usual place of abode on the first date of June 1860, was in this family.
4Description: Age.
5Description: Sex.M or F
6Description: Color, {White, black, or mulatto.W, B or M
7Profession, Occupation, or Trade of each person, male and female, over 15 years of age.
8Value of Estate Owned: Value of Real Estate.
9Value of Estate Owned: Value of Personal Estate.
10Place of Birth, Naming the State, Territory, or Country.
11Married within the year.Marked with '/'
12Attended School within the year.Marked with '/'
13Persons over 20 years of age who can not read and write.Marked with '/'
14Whether deaf and dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper, or convict.

Data availability

Full documentation for the 1860 population census, including microdata, census forms and enumerator instructions, is available from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS). Aggregate data for small areas, together with compatible cartographic boundary files, can be downloaded from the National Historical Geographic Information System.

Common occupations

National data reveals that farmers (owners and tenants) made up nearly 10% of utilized occupations. Farm laborers (wage workers) represent the next highest percent with 3.2%, followed by general laborers at 3.0%.[2]

More localized data shows that other occupations were common. In the town of Essex, Massachusetts, a large section of the women in the labor force were devoted to shoe-binding, while for men the common occupations were farming and shoe-making.[3] This heavy demand of shoe-related labor reinforces the high demand for rigorous physical laborers in the economy, as supported by the data of very large amounts of farm related work as compared to most other labor options.

IPUMS' data also notes that the share of the population that had been enrolled in school or marked as "Student" stood at 0.2%. This demonstrates a small rate of growth, if any, in the proficiency of the human capital of the timethe skill set a worker has to apply to the labor force, which can increase total output through increased efficiency.

The census of 1860 was the last in which much of Southern wealth was held as slavesstill legally considered property. Analogous to today where wealth can fluctuate with value changes in stocks, factories, and other forms of property, the South suffered a huge loss of total wealth and assets when the American Civil War ended and slaves were no longer counted as physical property.

City rankings

Rank City State Population[4] Region (2016)[5]
01 New York New York 813,669 Northeast
02 Philadelphia Pennsylvania 565,529 Northeast
03 Brooklyn New York 266,661 Northeast
04 Baltimore Maryland 212,418 South
05 Boston Massachusetts 177,840 Northeast
06 New Orleans Louisiana 168,675 South
07 Cincinnati Ohio 161,044 Midwest
08 St. Louis Missouri 160,773 Midwest
09 Chicago Illinois 112,172 Midwest
10 Buffalo New York 81,129 Northeast
11 Newark New Jersey 71,941 Northeast
12 Louisville Kentucky 68,033 South
13 Albany New York 62,367 Northeast
14 Washington District of Columbia 61,122 South
15 San Francisco California 56,802 West
16 Providence Rhode Island 50,666 Northeast
17 Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 49,221 Northeast
18 Rochester New York 48,204 Northeast
19 Detroit Michigan 45,619 Midwest
20 Milwaukee Wisconsin 45,246 Midwest
21 Cleveland Ohio 43,417 Midwest
22 Charleston South Carolina 40,522 South
23 New Haven Connecticut 39,267 Northeast
24 Troy New York 39,235 Northeast
25 Richmond Virginia 37,910 South
26 Lowell Massachusetts 36,827 Northeast
27 Mobile Alabama 29,258 South
28 Jersey City New Jersey 29,226 Northeast
29 Allegheny Pennsylvania 28,702 Northeast
30 Syracuse New York 28,119 Northeast
31 Hartford Connecticut 26,917 Northeast
32 Portland Maine 26,341 Northeast
33 Cambridge Massachusetts 26,060 Northeast
34 Roxbury Massachusetts 25,137 Northeast
35 Charlestown Massachusetts 25,065 Northeast
36 Worcester Massachusetts 24,960 Northeast
37 Reading Pennsylvania 23,162 Northeast
38 Memphis Tennessee 22,623 South
39 Utica New York 22,529 Northeast
40 New Bedford Massachusetts 22,300 Northeast
41 Savannah Georgia 22,292 South
42 Salem Massachusetts 22,252 Northeast
43 Wilmington Delaware 21,258 South
44 Manchester New Hampshire 20,107 Northeast
45 Dayton Ohio 20,081 Midwest
46 Paterson New Jersey 19,586 Northeast
47 Lynn Massachusetts 19,083 Northeast
48 Indianapolis Indiana 18,611 Midwest
49 Columbus Ohio 18,554 Midwest
50 Petersburg Virginia 18,266 South
51 Lawrence Massachusetts 17,639 Northeast
52 Lancaster Pennsylvania 17,603 Northeast
53 Trenton New Jersey 17,228 Northeast
54 Nashville Tennessee 16,988 South
55 Oswego New York 16,816 Northeast
56 Covington Kentucky 16,471 South
57 Bangor Maine 16,407 Northeast
58 Taunton Massachusetts 15,376 Northeast
59 Springfield Massachusetts 15,199 Northeast
60 Poughkeepsie New York 14,726 Northeast
61 Norfolk Virginia 14,620 South
62 Camden New Jersey 14,358 Northeast
63 Wheeling Virginia 14,083 South
64 Norwich Connecticut 14,048 Northeast
65 Peoria Illinois 14,045 Midwest
66 Fall River Massachusetts 14,026 Northeast
67 Sacramento California 13,785 West
68 Toledo Ohio 13,768 Midwest
69 Quincy Illinois 13,718 Midwest
70 Harrisburg Pennsylvania 13,405 Northeast
71 Newburyport Massachusetts 13,401 Northeast
72 Chelsea Massachusetts 13,395 Northeast
73 Dubuque Iowa 13,000 Midwest
74 Alexandria Virginia 12,652 South
75 New Albany Indiana 12,647 Midwest
76 Newburgh New York 12,578 Northeast
77 Augusta Georgia 12,493 South
78 Bridgeport Connecticut 12,106 Northeast
79 North Providence Rhode Island 11,818 Northeast
80 Elizabeth New Jersey 11,567 Northeast
81 Evansville Indiana 11,484 Midwest
82 Davenport Iowa 11,267 Midwest
83 New Brunswick New Jersey 11,256 Northeast
84 Auburn New York 10,986 Northeast
85 Gloucester Massachusetts 10,904 Northeast
86 Concord New Hampshire 10,896 Northeast
87 Lockport New York 10,871 Northeast
88 Newport Rhode Island 10,508 Northeast
89 Saint Paul Minnesota 10,401 Midwest
90 New London Connecticut 10,115 Northeast
91 Nashua New Hampshire 10,065 Northeast
92 Newport Kentucky 10,046 South
93 Waterbury Connecticut 10,004 Northeast
94 Haverhill Massachusetts 9,995 Northeast
95 Dorchester Massachusetts 9,769 Northeast
96 Hoboken New Jersey 9,662 Northeast
97 Columbus Georgia 9,621 South
98 Schenectady New York 9,579 Northeast
99 Atlanta Georgia 9,554 South
100 Wilmington North Carolina 9,552 South

See also


  1. "1860 Census Questionnaire" (PDF). US Census Bureau. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
  2. "IPUMS 1860 Census Data". IPUMS Data Collection. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  3. Wilhelm, Kurt. "Essex, MA Census 1860". 1860 Federal Census. Retrieved February 27, 2011.
  4. Population of the 100 Largest Cities and Other Urban Places in the United States: 1790 to 1990, U.S. Census Bureau, 1998
  5. "Regions and Divisions". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved September 9, 2016.

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