1850 United States Census

The United States Census of 1850 was the seventh census of the United States. Conducted by the Census Office on June 1, 1850, it determined the resident population of the United States to be 23,191,876—an increase of 35.9 percent over the 17,069,453 persons enumerated during the 1840 Census. The total population included 3,204,313 slaves.

This was the first census where there was an attempt to collect information about every member of every household; women and children were named. Slaves were included by gender and estimated age on Slave Schedules, listed by the name of the owner. Prior to 1850, census records had recorded only the name of the head of the household and broad statistical accounting of other household members (three children under age five, one woman between the age of 35 and 40, etc.). This was also the first census to ask about place of birth of free residents.

Hinton Rowan Helper made extensive use of the 1850 census results in his politically notorious book The Impending Crisis of the South (1857).

1850 United States Census
Seal of the United States Census Bureau
1850 census Lincoln
Filled-out census-taker's form from 1850 US Census, including household of Abraham Lincoln
General information
CountryUnited States
Date takenJune 1, 1850
Total population23,191,876
Percent changeIncrease 35.9%

Census questions

The 1850 census, Schedule 1, Free Inhabitants, collected the following information:[1]

  • name
  • age
  • sex
  • color (white, black or mulatto) for each person
  • whether deaf and dumb, blind, insane or idiotic
  • value of real estate owned (required of all free persons)
  • profession, occupation or trade of each male over 15 years of age
  • place (state, territory or country) of birth
  • whether married within the year
  • whether attended school within the year
  • whether unable to read and write (for persons over 20)
  • whether a pauper or convict

Full documentation for the 1850 population census, including census forms and enumerator instructions, is available from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series.


The 1850 United States Census collected a great amount of data that gave insight into the state of the U.S. economy in 1850. Some of the data revealed the growth of the economy with regard to agricultural and manufactured production, international trade, federal debt, taxation, transportation, education, and land expansion.

Agricultural Production
This census calculated the total land by state (in square miles), the total production of major goods and livestock per state (in respective units), the total value of each good produced, the total number of plantations per state, and various other statistics. The total agricultural production between in 1850 was calculated at about 1.3 billion dollars.
Manufactured Production
This census included the total manufactured production (in dollars), the total amount of capital invested, the total value of wages paid, the percent of profit (by state and total), the profit by state of major industries (cotton, wool, various iron work, breweries, fishing, salt), and other less significant statistics. Total manufactured production was valued at just over one billion dollars. This is a great increase over the totals estimated in 1820 and 1840. Also, in total, the manufacturing industry recorded an overall profit of 43%.
International Trade
The 1850 census contains the total value of imports and exports by state, statistics and names of the major imports and exports, the total values of shipping by state, and the value of imports and exports with various individual countries. The United States traded most with the United Kingdom. The imports and exports with the United Kingdom were both valued around 145 million dollars.
Federal Debt
This census contains yearly federal debt totals, total federal revenues, and total expenditures from 1790 to 1853. The total debt of the United States on July 1, 1854, was roughly 47.2 million dollars.
The census contains some calculation of total annual federal taxes, but it is incomplete. It does however, give state taxation totals.
Transportation and Communication
This census calculates the total cost, size, and quantity of railroads and canals. The funded debt for railroads and canals in 1853 was 130 million. Their gross earnings were more than 38 million dollars. This census also contains estimates for growth in mileage of telegraphic lines in the United States. In 1853 the country contains 89 telegraph lines that stretched 23,261 miles (37,435 km). When published in 1854, the country had an estimated 30,000 miles (48,000 km) of telegraphic lines, a drastic increase.
This census displays the advances of the United States in education and literacy by documenting the number of libraries, the number of schools (public, private, and colleges), state literacy rates, the total newspaper production and consumption, the educational levels of differing races, the total value of tuition costs, the amount of federal land given for education, and other various statistics.
Land Expansion
The 1850 census shows the great amount of territorial expansion that took place in the United States, following the Admission of Texas, the Oregon Treaty, and the Treaty with Mexico following the war in 1848. These three pieces of territory totaled an addition of more than a million square miles to the nation. In 1850, the United States contained 31 states and 4 organized territories (Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah).
The 1850 United States Census can be seen as a historical document that gives insight into the state of the nation's economy in 1850. It is much more detailed and provides more information than the 1840 census.

This census was conducted during a very important period of growth and innovation in the United State, the Industrial Revolution. The statistics in this census provide data on the rate of growth that was taking place in 1850, which resulted in the emergence of the United States as an economic world power. Many of the statistics were compared to those of Great Britain and other world powers. This shows where the United States stood economically relative to the rest of the world.

Data availability

Microdata from the 1850 population census are freely available through the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series. Aggregate data for small areas, together with compatible cartographic boundary files, can be downloaded from the National Historical Geographic Information System.

State rankings

Rank State Population
01 New York 3,097,394
02 Pennsylvania 2,311,786
03 Ohio 1,980,329
04 Virginia 1,119,348
05 Tennessee 1,002,717
06 Massachusetts 994,514
07 Indiana 988,416
08 Kentucky 982,405
09 Georgia 906,185
10 North Carolina 869,039
11 Illinois 851,470
12 Alabama 771,623
13 Missouri 682,044
14 South Carolina 668,507
15 Mississippi 606,526
16 Maine 583,169
17 Maryland 583,034
18 Louisiana 517,762
19 New Jersey 489,555
20 Michigan 397,654
21 Connecticut 370,792
22 New Hampshire 317,976
23 Vermont 314,120
24 Wisconsin 305,391
X West Virginia [2] 302,313
25 Texas 212,592
26 Arkansas 209,897
27 Iowa 192,214
28 Rhode Island 147,545
29 California 92,597
30 Delaware 91,532
31 Florida 87,445
X New Mexico 61,547
X District of Columbia [3] 51,687
X Oregon 12,093
X Utah 11,380
X Minnesota 6,077
X Washington 1,201

City rankings

Rank City State Population[4] Region (2016)[5]
01 New York New York 515,547 Northeast
02 Baltimore Maryland 169,054 South
03 Boston Massachusetts 136,881 Northeast
04 Philadelphia Pennsylvania 121,376 Northeast
05 New Orleans Louisiana 116,375 South
06 Cincinnati Ohio 115,435 Midwest
07 Brooklyn New York 96,838 Northeast
08 St. Louis Missouri 77,860 Midwest
09 Spring Garden Pennsylvania 58,894 Northeast
10 Albany New York 50,763 Northeast
11 Northern Liberties Pennsylvania 47,223 Northeast
12 Kensington Pennsylvania 46,774 Northeast
13 Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 46,601 Northeast
14 Louisville Kentucky 43,194 South
15 Charleston South Carolina 42,985 South
16 Buffalo New York 42,261 Northeast
17 Providence Rhode Island 41,513 Northeast
18 Washington District of Columbia 40,001 South
19 Newark New Jersey 38,894 Northeast
20 Southwark Pennsylvania 38,799 Northeast
21 Rochester New York 36,403 Northeast
22 Lowell Massachusetts 33,383 Northeast
23 Williamsburgh New York 30,780 Northeast
24 Chicago Illinois 29,963 Midwest
25 Troy New York 28,785 Northeast
26 Richmond Virginia 27,570 South
27 Moyamensing Pennsylvania 26,979 Northeast
28 Syracuse New York 22,271 Northeast
29 Allegheny Pennsylvania 21,262 Northeast
30 Detroit Michigan 21,019 Midwest
31 Portland Maine 20,815 Northeast
32 Mobile Alabama 20,515 South
33 New Haven Connecticut 20,345 Northeast
34 Salem Massachusetts 20,264 Northeast
35 Milwaukee Wisconsin 20,061 Midwest
36 Roxbury Massachusetts 18,364 Northeast
37 Columbus Ohio 17,882 Midwest
38 Utica New York 17,565 Northeast
39 Charlestown Massachusetts 17,216 Northeast
40 Worcester Massachusetts 17,049 Northeast
41 Cleveland Ohio 17,034 Midwest
42 New Bedford Massachusetts 16,443 Northeast
43 Reading Pennsylvania 15,743 Northeast
44 Savannah Georgia 15,312 South
45 Cambridge Massachusetts 15,215 Northeast
46 Bangor Maine 14,432 Northeast
47 Norfolk Virginia 14,326 South
48 Lynn Massachusetts 14,257 Northeast
49 Lafayette Louisiana 14,190 South
50 Petersburg Virginia 14,010 South
51 Wilmington Delaware 13,979 South
52 Manchester New Hampshire 13,932 Northeast
53 Hartford Connecticut 13,555 Northeast
54 Lancaster Pennsylvania 12,369 Northeast
55 Oswego New York 12,205 Northeast
56 Springfield Massachusetts 11,766 Northeast
57 Fall River Massachusetts 11,524 Northeast
58 Poughkeepsie New York 11,511 Northeast
59 Wheeling Virginia 11,435 South
60 Paterson New Jersey 11,334 Northeast
61 Dayton Ohio 10,977 Midwest
62 Taunton Massachusetts 10,441 Northeast
63 Nashville Tennessee 10,165 South
64 Portsmouth New Hampshire 9,738 Northeast
65 Newburyport Massachusetts 9,572 Northeast
66 Newport Rhode Island 9,563 Northeast
67 Auburn New York 9,548 Northeast
68 Camden New Jersey 9,479 Northeast
69 Augusta Georgia 9,448 South
70 Covington Kentucky 9,408 South
71 New London Connecticut 8,991 Northeast
72 Schenectady New York 8,921 Northeast
73 Memphis Tennessee 8,841 South
74 Alexandria Virginia 8,734 South
75 Montgomery Alabama 8,728 South
76 Portsmouth Virginia 8,626 South
77 Concord New Hampshire 8,576 Northeast
78 Nantucket Massachusetts 8,452 Northeast
79 Georgetown District of Columbia 8,366 South
80 Chicopee Massachusetts 8,291 Northeast
81 Lawrence Massachusetts 8,282 Northeast
82 Augusta Maine 8,225 Northeast
83 Dover New Hampshire 8,196 Northeast
84 New Albany Indiana 8,181 Midwest
85 Lexington Kentucky 8,159 South
86 Danvers Massachusetts 8,109 Northeast
87 Indianapolis Indiana 8,091 Midwest
88 Lynchburg Virginia 8,071 South
89 Bath Maine 8,020 Northeast
90 Madison Indiana 8,012 Midwest
91 Dorchester Massachusetts 7,969 Northeast
92 Zanesville Ohio 7,929 Midwest
93 Harrisburg Pennsylvania 7,834 Northeast
94 Gloucester Massachusetts 7,786 Northeast
95 Warwick Rhode Island 7,740 Northeast
96 North Providence Rhode Island 7,680 Northeast
97 West Troy New York 7,564 Northeast
98 Pottsville Pennsylvania 7,515 Northeast
99 Wilmington North Carolina 7,264 South
100 Easton Pennsylvania 7,250 Northeast


The Utah Territorial Secretary Broughton Harris refused to certify the 1850 census of Utah territory. Harris complained that Brigham Young had conducted the census without him and that there were several irregularities.[6] For instance, the census reported only 26 slaves, with a note that all of them were heading to California, making it seem as if there would not be any slaves in Utah. But it did not include any of the slaves held in Bountiful, Utah.[7] John David Smith estimates that there were 100 blacks in Utah by 1850, with two-thirds of them being slaves.[8]

Utah had tried to hide its slave population from Congress, fearing it might impede its quest for statehood. Congress was concerned about expansion of slavery into the western territories.[9] Because of the irregularities, Harris withheld government funds reserved for taking the census.[6] The controversy contributed to Harris' decision to join other Runaway Officials of 1851 and abandon his post in Utah territory. Relationships with the federal government continued to sour and eventually resulted in the Utah War.

See also


  1. ^ "Library Bibliography Bulletin 88, New York State Census Records, 1790-1925". New York State Library. October 1981. pp. 44 (p. 50 of PDF).
  2. ^ Between 1790 and 1860, the state of West Virginia was part of Virginia; the data for each state reflect the present-day boundaries.
  3. ^ The District of Columbia is not a state but was created with the passage of the Residence Act of 1790.
  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. Archived from the original on December 3, 2016. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
  6. ^ a b W. Paul Reeve; Ardis E. Parshall. Mormonism: A Historical Encyclopedia. p. 26. ISBN 978-1-59884-107-7.
  7. ^ Ronald G. Coleman. Blacks in Utah History: An Unknown Legacy (PDF).
  8. ^ Randall M. Miller; John David Smith (1997). Dictionary of Afro-American Slavery. Greenwood Publishing. p. 506. ISBN 978-0-275-95799-5.
  9. ^ Nathaniel R. Ricks (2007). A Peculiar Place for the Peculiar Institution: Slavery and Sovereignty in Early Territorial Utah.

External links


1850 (MDCCCL)

was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Sunday of the Julian calendar, the 1850th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 850th year of the 2nd millennium, the 50th year of the 19th century, and the 1st year of the 1850s decade. As of the start of 1850, the Gregorian calendar was

12 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

1850 in the United States

Events from the year 1850 in the United States.

Albert P. Rockwood

Albert Perry Rockwood (June 5, 1805 – November 25, 1879) was an early Latter Day Saint leader and member of the First Seven Presidents of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Appling County, Georgia

Appling County is a county located in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 18,236. The county seat is Baxley.

Arkansas's 1st congressional district

Arkansas's 1st congressional district is a U.S. congressional district in eastern Arkansas that elects a representative to the United States House of Representatives.

It is currently represented by Republican Rick Crawford.

Edward A. Hannegan

Edward Allen Hannegan (June 25, 1807 – February 25, 1859) was a United States Representative and Senator from Indiana.

Green Springs Ranch, California

Green Springs Ranch is an unincorporated community in El Dorado County, California. It lies at an elevation of 1040 feet (317 m). Formerly The Hitchcock Ranch, California It's postal zip code is 95672 Rescue, California. History of Green Springs Ranch @edcgov.us

Herschel Vespasian Johnson

Herschel Vespasian Johnson (September 18, 1812 – August 16, 1880) was an American politician. He was the 41st Governor of Georgia from 1853 to 1857 and the vice presidential nominee of the Douglas wing of the Democratic Party in the 1860 U.S. presidential election. He also served as one of Georgia's Confederate States senators.

James C. Brewster

James Colin Brewster (October 26, 1826 – January 8, 1909) was the co-founder of the Church of Christ (Brewsterite), a schismatic sect in the Latter Day Saint movement.

Brewster was born in Black Rock, Buffalo, New York, son of Zephaniah H. Brewster and Jane Higby. When Brewster was a child, his parents were converted to Mormonism and joined the gathering of Latter Day Saints in Kirtland, Ohio.

In 1836, at the age of 10, Brewster began to claim that he had been visited by the Angel Moroni, the same angel that Joseph Smith claimed had led him to the golden plates. In November 1837, due to his persistent claims of being a prophet, Brewster was disfellowshipped from the Church of the Latter Day Saints.

By 1842, Brewster had finished a book entitled The Words of Righteousness to All Men, Written from One of the Books of Esdras, Which Was Written by the Five Ready Writers, In Forty Days, Which Was Spoken of by Esdras, in His Second Book, Fourteenth Chapter of the Apocrypha, Being one of the Books Which Was Lost, and Has Now Come Forth, by the Gift of God, In the Last Days. After the death of Joseph Smith in 1844, Brewster began to accumulate followers in Springfield, Illinois, from Latter Day Saints who were searching for a new prophet leader.

In 1848, Brewster and Hazen Aldrich founded the Church of Christ, which they claimed was the true successor to the Church of Christ Smith had founded in 1830. Aldrich was selected as the sect's first president with Brewster and Jackson Goodale as counselors in the First Presidency.

Brewster continued to receive revelation from God on behalf of the church, and in 1850 he declared that there was a land called "Bashan" in the Rio Grande Valley that God had selected as the new gathering place for the Latter Day Saints. In 1850, Brewster and Goodale led a wagon train of followers to find Bashan, while Aldrich—who had begun to doubt Brewster's prophetic abilities—remained behind in Kirtland.

On December 31, 1850, Brewster and some his followers are listed in the 1850 United States Census at Socorro, New Mexico Territory. His occupation is listed as "Mormon Prophet."

There were disagreements between Brewster and Goodale and among the other members of the church on the journey to Bashan, and most of Brewster's followers, including Olive Oatman and her family, deserted Brewster. Some survived the desert journey and drifted into Southern California and settled there; others returned home. Few publicly spoke about it. Years later, Brewster was reported to have headed for California teaching spiritualism and then disappeared.

In actuality, Brewster returned with his family to Litchfield, Illinois, where he taught school. He joined the Union Army at Springfield, Illinois and was wounded in battle. In poor health, he then joined the Invalid Corps and worked at a hospital. During the Reconstruction Era, he followed his brother, Orlando Hamlet Brewster, to Louisiana, where James taught at a school for African Americans in Ouachita Parish and attempted to farm with them. Orlando had a role in the disputed presidential election of Rutherford B. Hayes and both Brewster brothers left Louisiana.

Brewster headed back initially to Illinois. He found odd jobs such working as a "hack driver" in Minnesota. His health was poor, actually due to tuberculosis, and was forced to find jobs as an orderly or "office boy." He said he was unable to do manual labor. He applied for a federal disability pension in 1880 and eventually was admitted to the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers Northwestern Branch, at Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, where he died at the age of 82 years. He is buried at Wood National Cemetery in Milwaukee, as "Pvt Jas Brewster, CO K, 22 ILL, INF."

The Soldiers Home record has him listed as a Protestant. No further prophecy from him is known in the six decades of anonymity following the collapse of his ministry in the New Mexico desert in 1851.

John Pendleton King

John Pendleton King (April 3, 1799 – March 19, 1888) was an attorney, planter and politician, serving as United States Senator from Georgia. He resigned in 1837 before the end of his term to devote himself to his plantation and business, serving for nearly 40 years as president of the Georgia Railroad and Banking Company and becoming a cotton manufacturer. He acquired large plantation holdings and by 1860 owned 69 slaves to work the cotton fields and related trades.

Luke Pryor

Luke Pryor (July 5, 1820 – August 5, 1900) was a U.S. senator from the state of Alabama. He was appointed to fill the Senate term left by the death of George S. Houston and served from January 7 to November 23, 1880, when a replacement was elected. Pryor was a Democrat. He is interred at City Cemetery in Athens, Alabama.

Michael Heidelberger

Michael Heidelberger (April 29, 1888 – June 25, 1991) was an American immunologist. He and Oswald Avery showed that the polysaccharides of pneumococcus are antigens, enabling him to show that antibodies are proteins. He spent most his early career at Columbia University and comparable time in his later years on the faculty of New York University. In 1934 and 1936 he received the Guggenheim Fellowship. In 1967 he received the National Medal of Science, and then he earned the Lasker Award for basic medical research in 1953 and again in 1978. His papers are held at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland.

Montgomery County, Georgia

Montgomery County is a county in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 9,123. The county seat is Mount Vernon.Montgomery County is part of the Vidalia, GA Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Robert M. Charlton

Robert Milledge Charlton (January 19, 1807 – January 18, 1854) was an American politician and jurist. He served as a Senator representing Georgia from 1852 to 1853.

Charlton was born in Savannah, Georgia on January 19, 1807. A lawyer by training, Charlton served in various positions at the city and state level in addition to his U.S. Senate term. He was a member of the Georgia House of Representatives (1828), and he was appointed and subsequently elected a judge of the Eastern Circuit of Georgia in 1832. Charlton was also appointed as a United States District Attorney.

He was appointed as a Democrat to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of John M. Berrien. Charlton served as the mayor of Savannah from 1839 to 1841. The father of Robert Charlton, Thomas U.P. Charlton, had previously served as the appointed mayor of Savannah in 1815 and again in 1819.

In 1829 Robert Charlton married Margaret Shick. Charlton ward, Savannah and Charlton County, Georgia are named after him. Charlton died in Savannah on January 18, 1854, the day before his 47th birthday, and is buried in Laurel Grove Cemetery in that city.

He was also a slave owner. In 1830, he owned 3 slaves. In 1840, he owned 14 slaves. In 1850, he owned 13 slaves.

United States immigration statistics

The 1850 United States census was the first federal U.S. census to query respondents about their "nativity"—i.e, where they were born, whether in the United States or outside of it—and is thus the first point at which solid statistics become available. The following chart, based on statistics from the U.S. Census from 1850 on, shows the numbers of non-native residents according to place of birth. Because an immigrant is counted in each census during his or her lifetime, the numbers reflect the cumulative population of living non-native citizens.

(NA) Not available.

n.e.c. Not elsewhere classified.

1/ Prior to 1980, Taiwan included with China.

Van Vorst Township, New Jersey

Van Vorst was a township that existed in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States, from 1841 to 1851, that is now a neighborhood in Jersey City. The township was located on the Hudson River, to the west and north of the original territory of Jersey City and across from Manhattan.

Van Vorst was incorporated as a township by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 12, 1841, from portions of Bergen Township.As of the 1850 United States Census, the township had a total population of 4,617.On March 18, 1851, Van Vorst Township was annexed by Jersey City.

William Bellinger Bulloch

William Bellinger Bulloch (1777 – May 6, 1852) was an American Senator from Georgia, the youngest son of Archibald Bulloch, uncle to James Stephens Bulloch, granduncle to James Dunwoody Bulloch, Martha Bulloch Roosevelt, and Irvine Stephens Bulloch, great-granduncle to President Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. and Elliott Bulloch Roosevelt, and great-great-granduncle to First Lady of the United States Eleanor Roosevelt.

William Read Miller

William Read Miller (November 23, 1823 – November 29, 1887) was the 12th Governor of Arkansas. Born in Batesville, Arkansaw Territory; Miller was Arkansas's first native born Governor. Serving two terms in the turbulent period after Reconstruction, Miller's four-year administration marked the beginnings of New Departure Democrats in Arkansas. Running on a platform of economic growth via reconciliation between whites and freedmen, Miller often was opposed by members of his own party during the infancy of the Lost Cause ideology. His plans to pay back a large state debt including the Holford Bonds, valued at $14 million ($405.4 million today), were often interrupted by racial violence, and his support for public schools and universities was often combated by those in his own party.

Miller desired an unprecedented third gubernatorial term in 1881, but the Democrats instead nominated Thomas Churchill, a Democratic hard-liner and former Major General in the Confederate States Army. Following his defeat, Miller served on boards of several railroads and as a trustee of the University of Arkansas. Miller also served as Arkansas State Auditor for twelve of the thirty years between 1857 and his death in 1887, making him the third-longest tenured Auditor in Arkansas history.

Woodlands (Gosport, Alabama)

Woodlands, also known as the Frederick Blount Plantation, is a historic plantation house in Gosport, Alabama. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 28, 1980, due to its architectural significance.

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