Finding Census Data

The following pages provide a listing of U.S. census data that the University of Chicago Library owns or that the University of Chicago community has access to online. More data may be available outside of the University of Chicago. Other resources you may want to consult include The Center for Research Libraries and WorldCat.

Population & Housing

The Decennial Census is actually two censuses taken at the same time -- the Census of Population, beginning in 1790, counts persons and selected social and economic characteristics, and the Census of Housing, beginning in 1940, counts residential units and selected physical and financial characteristics.  Not every decennial census is the same. See POPULATION AND HOUSING ITEMS ON THE GENERAL CENSUS SCHEDULES 1790-2000 to view an Excel spreadsheet listing items covered for each decennial census.

2010, 2000
1990, 1980, 1970, 1960, 1950, 1940, 1930, 1920, 1910, 1900
1890, 1880, 1870, 1860, 1850, 1840, 1830, 1820, 1810, 1800
1790

The Economic Censuses

chart of Economic Census coverage by sector and year
Image source: "Guide to the 2002 Economic Census: Historical Information." Accessed March 25, 2014. http://www.census.gov/econ/census02/guide/g02chist.htm#START.

 

Below is a selected list of industries covered by the Economic Census. If you are looking for something not listed below try searching our Catalog or ask a librarian for help. 

 

Agriculture

The first agriculture census was taken in 1840 as part of the sixth decennial census of population. From 1840 to 1950, the agriculture census was taken as part of the decennial census. A separate mid-decade census of agriculture was conducted in 1925, 1935, and 1945. From 1954 to 1974, a census of agriculture was taken for the years ending in 4 and 9. In 1976, Congress authorized the census of agriculture to be taken for 1978 and 1982 to adjust the data reference year so that it coincided with other economic censuses. This adjustment in timing established the agriculture census on a 5-year cycle collecting data for years ending in 2 and 7. [source: United States Department of Agriculture.]
2007,   2002
1997, 1992, 1987, 1982, 1978, 1974, 1969, 1964, 1959, 1954, 1950, 1945, 1940, 1935, 1930, 1925, 1920, 1910, 1900
1890, 1880, 1870, 1860, 1850, 1840, 1820, 1810

Fisheries

A Census of Commercial Fisheries was conducted for the calendar year 1963 and was the first such census undertaken since 1908. Prior to the 1908 census, there were two census surveys of commercial fisheries, one in 1889 and the other 1880. The last Census of Commercial Fisheries was done in 1967. [source: Bureau of the Census Catalog of Publications, 1790-1972. 1974, p. 187.]
1967, 1963, 1908, 1900
1889, 1880, 1870, 1860, 1850, 1840, 1810

Manufactures

The Census of Manufactures was first taken in 1810 as part of the 3rd decennial census of the United States. It was part of the decennial census from 1810-1900, except for the year 1830 when no canvass was made. The first separate census of manufactures took place in 1905. It was then done every five years from 1905-1919 (1909 and 1919 were part of the 1910 and 1920 decennial censuses) and biennially thereafter from 1921 to 1939 (1929 and 1939 are part of the 1930 and 1940 decennial censuses). Interrupted by World War II, the census of manufactures began again in 1947 and lasted through 1992. Starting in 1997, it is scheduled to be taken every five years for the years ending in "7" and "2". [1998 Guide to U.S. Government Publications, p. 106.]
2007,   2002
1997, 1992, 1987, 1982, 1977, 1972, 1967, 1963, 1958, 1954, 1947, 1939, 1937, 1935, 1933, 1931, 1929, 1927, 1925, 1923, 1921, 1919, 1914, 1909, 1905, 1900
1890, 1880, 1870, 1860, 1850, 1840, 1820, 1810

Minerals

The Census of Mineral Industries "was first taken in 1840 and thereafter continued at 10-year, 5-year, and 2-year intervals until 1939. In the postwar period, this census has been conducted for the years 1954, 1958, 1963, 1967, and 1972 and is now scheduled to be taken every 5 years for the years ending '7' and '2'." [source: Guide to industrial statistics : industrial statistics program, locator guide to published data, types of data presented, publications of major censuses, other sources of statistics. 1978, p. 11.]
20072002
1997, 1992, 1987, 1982, 1977, 1972, 1967, 1963, 1958, 1954, 1939, 1935, 1929, 1919, 1909, 1902
1890, 1880, 1870, 1860, 1850, 1840

Retail Trade

The first Census of Retail Trade, "which covered the year 1929, was part of the census of business (which included also wholesale trade in its scope). Beginning with the second business census, for 1933, various service trades were also included. With the 1972 Economic Censuses, however, each segment - retail trade, wholsale trade, and selected service industries - is considered a separate census. The 1972 census was the 10th census of retail trade of the United States." [source: Guide to industrial statistics : industrial statistics program, locator guide to published data, types of data presented, publications of major censuses, other sources of statistics. 1978, p. 86.]
20072002
1997, 1992, 1987, 1982, 1977, 1972, 1967, 1963, 1958, 1954, 1948, 1939, 1935, 1933, 1929

Transportation

The census of transportation was undertaken for the first time on a national basis in 1963. Prior to 1963, some information on transportation was compiled and published in connection with the decennial censuses of 1880 and 1890. Also, during the early part of the 1900s, the Bureau of the Census published reports at intervals covering certain aspects of transportation. The 1967 Census of Transportation, for the first time, made it possible to measure changes over a period of time (1967 comared with 1963). [source: Bureau of the Census Catalog of Publications, 1790-1972. 1974, p. 482.]
2007,   2002
1997, 1977, 1972, 1967, 1963
1890, 1880

Wholesale Trade

"The census of wholesale trade was part of the original census of business taken in 1929. In the past, it was included with retail trade and selected services under the umbrella title 'census of business,' but as of 1972 it takes a separate place as one fo the seven economic censuses." [source: Guide to industrial statistics : industrial statistics program, locator guide to published data, types of data presented, publications of major censuses, other sources of statistics. 1978, p. 87.]

20072002
1997, 1992, 1987198219771972196719631958195419481939193519331929