The Eleventh Census of the United States

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The Eleventh Census of the United States  (1891) 
by Richmond Mayo-Smith


The new census of the United States is as ambitious as the census of 1880, and in some directions attempts to do even more than that stupendous undertaking did. Investigating industrial and social phenomena from all sides, it seeks to give, as it were, a complete picture of the national resources and the national life. No other country in the world attempts under the name of census to do one-tenth part of the work which the bureau at Washington, improvised at a few months' notice, cheerfully and confidently undertakes; and the census returns of no other nation make such an array of volumes. Seven and a half million dollars have already been voted for the expense of enumeration and tabulation (this being exclusive of printing and binding the reports), and the indications are that the published volumes of the present census will be as numerous and as large as those of its predecessor. All this, however, to the mind of the impartial observer, rather militates against the credibility of American statistics than in their favour. The amount of money spent seems needlessly extravagant, while it is even more extravagant to hope that all this variety of information can be obtained with any degree of accuracy and trustworthiness. To many, therefore, the United States census is a 'monument,' but one provoking a sense of weariness and scepticism.

To a certain extent, now, this judgment is true. From the purely statistical point of view the American census errs on the side of attempting too much, as perhaps the English inclines towards undertaking too little. But, inasmuch as all our census-gathering is in a certain sense experimental, a little over-confidence may in the long run be as fruitful of results as a timidity which only ventures where the path is perfectly plain. This is said not in condemnation of the English but in extenuation of the American census, which in many of its inquiries seems to verge close on the impossible or the impracticable. Besides, as has lately been pointed out by Westergaard, imperfect data are not necessarily valueless, for the man of science by skilful manipulation and the exercise of the scientific imagination may out of a fragment construct a probable whole; or he can at least say what a thing is not, even when he cannot say what it is. The temperature of the water may enable a ship captain to steer clear of an iceberg whose exact size and position is entirely unknown. Nor must we lay too much stress on the common objection that these imperfect data by mere governmental publication receive the stamp of official approval, and thus attain an authority and a currency which they do not deserve. It is of course true that any census figures beyond a bare enumeration of the people may be so interpreted or misunderstood or manipulated as to furnish a basis for wild theories and absurd, perhaps destructive, proposals. But common sense, in the popular meaning of that term, exercises a restraining influence; for persons are not apt to accept that which is contrary to their ordinary experience unless it rest on very clear and substantial grounds, and nothing is so fatal to a theory as to show that it has been built up on false and mistaken premises. The same figures, however, are accessible to the opponents as well as to the advocates of any social reform; while the educational value of these attempts to throw the light of exact statistical investigation on social phenomena otherwise unknowable is very great, both for the practical statistician and for the large number of persons who in an intelligent democracy try to comprehend and solve social problems.

But besides these general considerations (which I cannot expect will meet with general assent, although they make us in the States view the extent and expense of our census work with complacency), there are certain peculiarities connected with the United States census which it is useful to understand in order to judge of the results. These are briefly: (1) that, owing to the general intelligence of our rural population certain inquiries can be successfully prosecuted here which could not be in Europe; (2) that, owing to the peculiar make-up of our population certain inquiries unimportant elsewhere are very important here (e.g. in respect to the coloured and foreign-born population); (3) that, owing to our federal form of government, certain inquiries are forced into the census which do not rightly belong there (e.g. mortality statistics, local indebtedness, etc.); (4) that, owing to political reasons, certain inquiries have been attached to the census which might more profitably be pursued independently of it and at other times (e.g. statistics of manufactures, of transportation, etc.). I do not propose to consider all these things in extenso or in the order indicated. But it may be interesting to the student who proposes to make use of the American census to indicate briefly yet systematically its scope and method, with some critical comment. The final reports have not yet appeared, but we have a sufficient number of the preliminary bulletins to illustrate methods.

The first and most important thing to be observed is that the census of the United States is in reality a large number of censuses or statistical investigations undertaken at the same time but according to different methods and to a large extent by different sets of officers. There are not less than three classes of inquiries, the last two covering each a large number of separate investigations. The first class consists of the ordinary enumeration of the people taken by the regular enumerators appointed for that purpose, and on one schedule, including the usual statistics of age, sex, conjugal condition, etc., together with certain questions intended to furnish the basis for further special investigations. This is the census proper. The second class comprises certain investigations which are intrusted to the ordinary enumerator, who fills out a special schedule whenever the occasion demands. Such are the statistics of farms, of mortality, of surviving soldiers and sailors, and of the defective and delinquent classes. The third class comprises certain investigations which are taken entirely out of the hands of the ordinary enumerator and placed in those of special agents, who either by correspondence or by personal visit gain the desired infomation. Many of these last investigations are begun and well under way before the actual enumeration of the people. I shall now proceed to indicate what portions of the census fall under each of these three classes and the methods pursued in each case.

(1). The General Census.—For the purposes of the Eleventh Census the United States was divided into 175 districts, for each of which a supervisor was appointed, with power to appoint enumerators (there were about 44,000 in all), but so that the subdivision assigned to each enumerator should not exceed four thousand inhabitants according to estimates based on the Tenth Census. Each enumerator was furnished with a portfolio 11 by 15 inches in size, and in this was contained a large number of population schedules or 'General Schedule Number One,' as they were called. These are family schedules, and the enumerator was supposed to visit each family in his district and fill out the answers to the questions. The law allowed the distribution of schedules in advance, to be filled out by the head of the household amd afterwards collected by the enumerator, but population is so scattered in the United States that little use was made of this method. Enumerators were allowed thirty days, in cities only two weeks, to complete their work; the schedules were then sent to the supervisors, by them inspected (?) and forwarded to the Census Office at Whashington. These details are useful in enabling us to form some notion of the probable accuracy of the original returns on which rest all the subsequent figures in regard to population. And the primary consideration here is in regard to the questions contained on the population schedule:—Are they such as the enumerator of ordinary intelligence, dealing with the average person, can hope to get answered? or are they of such a character as either to be incomprehensible or to awaken resentment or suspicion? Our judgment upon this point must be the basis for any critical valuation of the United States census, and it is so important that I can do nothing more useful than to print the full list of questions on the population schedule with some explanation of the reason for each, and some comment on the probable value of the information it would elicit. The questions are as follows—Questions A, B, C, D, and E being at the head, and the numbered ones running down the left-hand side of a sheet fifteen inches long and eleven inches wide, the rest of the space being ruled into columns, one for each member of the family.

Aside from the number of these questions, which makes the work of the enumerator very heavy, there are specific objections to some of them, although it must be confessed that the heart yearns for the knowledge which the correct answer to them would give. Taking them in order, question 2 is useless for any practical purpose because a great many persons will answer it in the affirmative under the vague impression that it will lead to a pension or something of that sort. It is not unlikely that when we come to examine the returns we shall find a new curiosity in statistics, namely, a too great willingness to answer in the affirmative, the reverse of that disinclination to answer at all which the fear of taxation has so often aroused. In question 4 the extension of the colour division to quadroon and octoroon seems to me entirely futile, because the persons interested (belonging to the old slave class or their descendants) will never be able to say how much white blood flows in their veins, and to determine the question by

Schedule No. 1.—Population and Social Statistics
No. of dwelling-house in the order of visitation.
No. of families in this dwelling-house.
No. of persons in this dwelling-house.
No. of family in the order of visitation.
No. of persons in this family.
1 Christian name in full, and initial of middle name.
2 Whether a soldier, sailor, or marine during the civil war (U.S. or Conf.), or widow of such person.
3 Relationship to head of family
4 Whether white, black, mulatto, quadroon, octoroon, Chinese, Japanese, or Indian.
5 Sex.
6 Age at nearest birthday. If under one year, give age in months.
7 Whether single, married, widowed, or divorced.
8 Whether married during the census year (June 1, 1889 to May 31, 1890).
9 Mother of how many children, and number of these children living.
10 Place of birth.
11 Place of birth of Father.
12 Place of birth of Mother.
13 Number of years in the United States.
14 Whether naturalized.
15 Whether naturalization papers have been taken out.
16 Profession, trade, or occupation.
17 Months unemployed during the census year (June 1, 1889, to May 31, 1890).
18 Attendance at school (in months) during the census year (June 1, 1889, to May 31, 1890).
19 Able to Read.
20 Able to Write.
21 Able to speak English. If not, the language or dialect spoken.
22 Whether suffering from acute or chronic disease, with name of disease and length of time afflicted.
23 Whether defective in mind, sight, hearing, or speech, or whether crippled, maimed, or deformed, with name of defect.
24 Whether a prisoner, convict, homeless child, or pauper.
25 Supplemental schedule and page.
26 Is the home you live in hired, or is it owned by the head or by a member of the family?
27 If owned by head or member of family, is the home free from mortgage incumbrance?
28 If the head of family is a farmer, is the farm which he cultivates hired, or is it owned by him or by a member of his family?
29 If owned by head or member of family, is the farm free from mortgage incumbrance?
30 If the home or farm is owned by head or member of family, and mortgaged, give the post-office address of owner.
the shade of colour of the individual would be contrary to our knowledge of physiological laws. Question 8 is asked in order to attain an approximate marriage-rate. It is one of those inquiries mentioned above which is forced upon the census simply because our federal form of government gives us no means of registering vital statistics for the whole country. Question 9 opens up many possibilities in social study, and there seems to be no reason why it should not be answered in the great majority of cases. The problem of the comparative fruitfulness of women of different race or nationality or social condition may possibly have some light thrown upon it by the combination of this question with the ages and nationality of the women. Questions l0 to 15 (and 21) are forced upon the census by the peculiar make-up of our population, with its large proportion of persons of foreign birth and of foreign descent. If we neglected to get these statistics and combine them with those of sex, age, conjugal condition, occupation, illiteracy, disease, and death we should miss the greatest opportunity for ethnological and sociological investigation which is offered anywhere in the world, besides depriving ourselves of information absolutely essential to our own welfare. The presence of the blacks at the South and of the foreign-born in the North constitute the most important demological problems with which we have to deal. Question 16 will doubtless contend with the usual difficulties of an occupation census, but public opinion would not permit its omission. Question 17 labours under the disadvantage of requiring exact knowledge or memory on the part of the person concerned, and when it is answered by the wife or other member of the family in respect to the husband or father it will probably lack accuracy. I doubt if it will throw any light on the great question of the unemployed. Questions 18 to 20 present but little difficulty in this country except in large cities where numbers of foreigners are congregated, from whom it is difficult to get any information. Questions 22 to 24, and 26 to 30, seemed to awaken more opposition before the census was taken than any others, the first group on the ground that it was cruel and inhuman to ask persons to reveal family sorrows and afflictions, and the second on the ground that it was an invasion of the rights of the citizen to ask him questions about his property. As both of these groups of questions were intended to be the basis for supplementary inquiries, I will speak of them further on.

Such is the explanation of the complicated and unwieldy population schedule which the Census Office sent out and expected to have answered for every individual in the United States, man, woman, and child, white or black, native or foreign-born, intelligent or ignorant. The final reports will doubtless show failure in many directions. Thus far we have information upon only one point, that is the total population of the United States, which (exclusive of white persons in Indian Territory, Indians on reservations, and Alaska) was 62,622,250. Including the above omissions it will reach a round 63,000,000. This number was less than was commonly expected. Was the common expectation exaggerated, or was the enumeration defective? This is a very important question, for if the enumeration was defective it detracts from the value of all the information contained in the population schedule. It will be much easier to determine this after we get the details of the enumeration, for unless the deficiency is distributed with a wonderful amount of regularity it is scarcely possible but that in some of the relations of sex, age, colour, nationality, occupation, or local distribution, or in comparison with the census of 1880, such glaring inconsistencies will show themselves as to prove that there has been a deficiency. It will be necessary, therefore, to defer final judgment until then, but inasmuch as the Census Office itself has felt the need of defending its figures it may be well to examine the matter superticially.

The population of the United States at the last four censuses is shown by the following table:—

Year. Population Increase in Ten Years. Per cent. Increase.
1860 31,443,321    
1870 38,558,371 7,115,050 22·63 per cent.
1880 50,155,783 11,597,412 30·08 per cent.
1890 62,622,250 12,466,467 24·86 per cent.

Now the astonishing thing about this table is that the rate of increase should have fallen from 30 per cent. between 1870 and 1880 to less than 25 per cent. between 1880 and 1890, and this in the face of an enormous immigration during the latter decade amounting to more than five million persons. The explanation of the Census Office is that as a country grows older the natural rate of increase tends to decline; and this is true, but of doubtful application when we consider the amount of land still unoccupied in the United States, and that immigration during the last twenty years has added to the population an enormous number of persons in the most productive ages of manhood and womanhood. The second explanation of the Office is that the census of 1870 was grossly defective (especially in the Southern states), so that the rate of increase from 1870 to 1880 was not real. General Walker, the superintendent of the census of 1870 and also of 1880, has acknowledged that this is true. The South was in a disturbed condition during the year 1870, and the census was taken under the old system of employing the marshals of the federal courts as enumerators, and they, during the reconstruction period, were often strangers in the land, and generally incompetent for their duties as census officers. In order to remedy this supposed defect in the figures for 1870, the Census Office takes the rate of increase from 1860 to 1880 and applies it in order to find the true population in 1870. Thereby it reaches a table of the following sort:—

Year. Population Increase in Ten Years. Per cent. Increase.
1860 31,443,321    
1870 39,818,449 8,375,128 26·6 per cent.
1880 50,155,783 10,337,334 25·9 per cent.
1890 62,622,250 12,466,467 24·8 per cent.

This certainly makes a delightfully logical table, for it may at once be admitted that the rate of growth in the United States is decreasing even in the face of an increasing immigration. But the difficulty is with the supposititious figure for 1870. It certainly seems very improbable that the rate of increase during the decade 1860 to 1870, a time of war and small immigration, could have been greater than during the succeeding decade. General Walker has recently re-examined[1] the deficiency among the blacks at the census of 1870, and makes it between three and four hundred thousand for the whole country, while the Census Office makes it 512,163 for the Southern states alone, besides a deficiency of 747,915 among the whites of those states. Final judgment on this question must be deferred until we have further details in regard to the population.

(2). Special and Supplementary Inquiries.—There are certain inquiries which are intrusted to the ordinary enumerator, but which lie outside of the population schedule or are supplementary to it, The heavily burdened enumerator, in addition to a number of family schedules sufficient to last him for the day, packs in his 11 by 15 portfolio a number of special and supplementary schedules, which he is to use when occasion demands. To begin with the latter. When question 2 of the population schedule is answered in the affirmative for Union soldiers or sailors, the enumerator turns to a supplementary schedule for 'Survivors of the War,' where he enters the particulars in regard to the soldier or sailor, his rank, company, regiment, date of enlistment, length of service, etc. This inquiry was forced on the census by Congress under the impression that it would serve as a basis for pension legislation. But it is evident that all these returns will have to be compared with the army records and verified before they can be used, and the whole thing seems a waste of money and a useless hardening of the census. When any one of questions 22, 23, or 24 is answered in the affirmative the enumerator turns to one of eight supplementary schedules headed Statistics of Insanity, Statistics of Feeblemindedness and Idiocy, Statistics of the Deaf, Statistics of the Blind, Statistics of Persons Diseased or Physically Defective, Statistics of Benevolence, Statistics of Crime, and Statistics of Pauperism, and demands a variety of information as to the cause of the affliction, how long afflicted, etc. The outcry raised in the newspapers in regard to answering these questions was purely factitious, and rested on the à priori ground that for the federal government to demand answers to such questions was unconstitutional, and an invasion of the liberty of the individual. It was said that it compelled men and women to reveal weaknesses or even shameful diseases which had been a secret between them and their physician, and to expose themselves to the pity or contempt of the entire community. This is absurd, for if the defect is such as can be concealed, there is nothing to prevent the individual answering 'No' to the question, and the legal power of the federal government is not so inquisitorial that it would be likely to follow the offender; while if the defect is notorious (like the presence of an idiot child in a family), no harm will be done by entering it on a census schedule. The questions will not be truthfully answered in thousands of cases, but the chief application of the law will be in the case of officers of charitable institutions who refuse to take the trouble to make a proper return. That such information is very desirable seems to me unquestionable.

Besides the supplemental schedules, the enumerator in rural districts carries with him three special schedules. The most important of these is the Farm schedule, containing a great variety of questions in regard to land and crops. The second is the schedule for Manufactures, although the most important industries and the most important factory towns are put in the hands of special agents, and the ordinary enumerator has nothing to do with them. The third is the Mortality schedule. Where the enumerator learns that a member of a family has died during the year preceding the 1st of June, 1890, he enters the name in a special schedule with details in respect to age, disease, etc. Where trustworthy local records of deaths exist, as in the states of New York and New Jersey and in 170 large cities, copies of these records are procured and the enumerators for those districts relieved of the work. In addition, 80,000 registers were sent to physicians with the request that they enter all deaths occurring in their practice during the census year. Of these about 14,000 have been returned, and will be used to supplement and correct the enumerators' returns. The births are to be estimated by adding to the number of persons less than one year of age at the time of the enumeration those who were born and died during the census year. Of course vital statistics obtained by such methods must be imperfect and crude; but this whole matter is forced on the census by the fact that we have no uniform registration of births, deaths, and marriages in the United States, and owing to our federal form of government are not likely to have. It is the best we can do.

Before leaving the ordinary enumerator, it will be pertinent to ask whether he can be at all trusted to do this vast and complicated work which the census has placed on his shoulders. The safety for the census lies in the country enumerator who has a chance for a month's employment, and the fact that he is paid according to the amount of work he does. For each living inhabitant he receives two cents, for each death reported two cents, for each surviving soldier five cents, for each defective person or criminal five cents, for each farm fifteen cents, and for each manufacturing establishment twenty cents. In sparsely settled districts higher rates are allowed for living inhabitants, farms, and manufacturing establishments; and in exceptional cases where owing to sparseness of population or difficulties of travel an enumerator could not earn fair pay, a per diem allowance is authorised sometimes as high as six dollars a day. Suppose the rural enumerator comes to a farm where there are six or eight persons to be recorded besides the farm itself, and very likely a death, or a surviving soldier, or a diseased or defective person. He can easily earn from twenty—five to forty cents on that one farm, and it is to his interest to get as many items as possible, for his loss occurs in travelling from one farm to the next. In a certain sense, thus, the expensiveness and extent of the census is an advantage, for it offers to the intelligent son of a farmer or small shopkeeper a tempting opportunity to earn a little ready money by easy work.[2] In the cities the safety of the census lies in the fact that the special inquiries are taken out of the hands of the ordinary enumerators and placed in those of men especially qualified for the work. Paying by the name in large cities has, however, this weakness, that where an enumerator meets with unusual obstacles, as in a tenement house inhabited by foreigners who do not understand English, or a house when all the adult members of the family are absent, he is tempted to pass such places by and devote his energies to easier cases. There is reason to fear, therefore, that the enumeration in large cities is defective, although it must be remembered that cities in America are always ambitious and generally exaggerate their supposed population.

(3). Special Investigations by Experts.—There are, finally, a number of important inquiries which are not in the hands of the ordinary enumerators, but are confided to special agents. This system rests on the following clause in the Census Act of 1889:—

Whenever he shall deem it expedient, the superintendent of the census may withhold the schedules for manufacturing, mining, and social statistics from the enumerators of the several subdivisions, and may charge the collection of these statistics upon experts and special agents, to be employed without respect to locality. And said superintendent may employ experts and special agents to investigate and ascertain the statistics of the manufacturing, railroad, fishing, mining, cattle, and other industries of the country, and of telegraph, express, transportation, and insurance companies as he may designate and require.

In accordance with this Act a large number of inquiries coming under the above heads have been prosecuted under the direction of special agents. The proper schedules were prepared and sent by mail to the persons concerned and, if necessary, agents were sent to procure the information. The most important of these inquiries are those pertaining to productive industry, manufactures, mining, etc., including the question of wages. Of interest also are those in regard to public indebtedness of states, municipalities, and counties, obtained by correspondence with local officials. This is another case where owing to our federal form of government (having no Local Government Board) the only way we can obtain important information is by attaching the inquiry to the census. The superintendent was required by special Act of Congress of February 22, 1890, to inquire also into the question of private mortgage indebtedness. This is partly accomplished by inquiries 26 to 30 on the population schedule. These returns will not, however, be very accurate, so that special agents have been appointed to search the official records of mortgages for ten years past, and in addition to seek further information from those persons who are returned on the population schedule as having mortgages on their property. The outcome of this inquiry is doubtful, but it is hoped that some light may be thrown on the vexed question of the indebtedness of the agricultural class.

These special investigations do not in reality belong to census work proper any more than do the wage statistics collected by the Board of Trade in England or the Gewerbezählung in Germany. Historically these inquiries have been gradually added to the census because that was the only way to persuade Congress to make them at all. There has also been a feeling in times past that Congress had no constitutional authority to make statistical investigations except in virtue of the clause providing for a census once in ten years. But the census has long outgrown that clause, and it would be impossible to justify even the questions on the population schedule as necessary to an enumeration of the people. With the employment of special agents the necessity for a uniform date has ceased, and it is the opinion of such men as General Walker and Commissioner Wright that it would be better to make these special inquiries at some other time, when the Census Office is less overwhelmed with work. The only objection that occurs to me is that it would interrupt the periodicity of the figures, some of which go back by ten-year intervals to 1850. Nevertheless the true solution will probably be the establishment of a permanent census office which shall take the census proper once in ten years, and conduct these special investigations at intervening periods.



Some description of the principal schedules employed in the United States Census may be of interest to persons to whom they are not readily accessible.

General Schedule No. 1.—Population. (Given in the text.)

General Schedule No. 2.—Statistics of Agriculture. This comprises the following general items:—

Name of the person conducting this farm. Colour of person. Tenure (owned, money rental, rented on shares). Acres of land (total, improved, unimproved). Artesian wells. Farm values (of farm including land, fences, and buildings; of implements and machinery; of live stock). Cost of fences built in 1889. Cost of fertilizers purchased in 1889. Labour (amount paid for wages in 1889, weeks of hired labour, white and coloured). Value of all farm products for 1889. Forest products. Grass lands and forage crops. Sugar (cane, sorghum, maple, beet). Cereals (barley, buckwheat, Indian corn, oats, rye, wheat). Rice. Tobacco. Peas and beans. Peanuts. Hops. Fibre (cotton, flax, hemp). Broom corn. Horses, mules, and asses. Sheep. Wool. Goats. Dogs. Neat cattle. Dairy products. Swine. Poultry. Bees. Nurseries. Onions. Potatoes. Market gardens and small fruits. Vegetables and fruits for canning. Orchards (apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, pears, plums, other fruits). Vineyards.

Under each of these items several questions are asked, as for instance under wheat: Acres, crop, amount sold, value sold. There are 255 subdivisions in this schedule. Of course no single farm would need them all, and the schedule is made so as to be used for a cotton plantation in the South, a wheat farm, a kitchen garden, or a stock farm. Each schedule (four pages, 11 by 15) has space for ten farms, and is filled out by the snumerator.

General Schedule No. 3.—Statistics of Manufactures. One schedule is sent to each establishment, and the questions are grouped as follows: 1. Name of corporation, firm, or individual. 2. Date when this establishment commenced operations. 3. Name of business or kind of goods manufactured. 4. Capital invested (land, buildings, machinery, tools and implements, raw materials, stock on hand, cash and credit capital, allowance for depreciation of plant). 5. Miscellaneous items (amount paid for rent, power, heat, taxes, insurance, repairs, commissions, &c.). 6. Labour and wages (officers and firm members, clerks or salesmen, watchmen, labourers, &c., piecework, classified wage list, employees classified by sex and age). 7. Materials used. 8. Goods manufactured. 9. Months in operation. 10. Number of hours in the ordinary day of labour. 11. Power used in manufacture. 12. If any coloured persons have capital invested in this establishment, state how many and the amount of capital. There are not less than 55 subdivisions under these items, while under the headings 'material used' and 'goods manufactured,' the number of different items can be indefinitely increased.

General Schedule No. 5.—Mortality. The schedule comprises the following questions: Name, colour, sex, age, conjugal condition, place of birth, ditto of father and mother, occupation, whether born in the census year and month of birth, disease or cause of death, length of time a resident of the county, name of place where disease was contracted if other than the place of death, name of attending physician, whether person who died was an insane person or an idiot, whether the person who died was a soldier, sailor, or marine during the civil war.

Supplemental Schedules.—No. 1. Insanity. No. 2. Feeble-mindedness and Idiocy. No. 3. The Deaf. No. 4. The Blind. No. 5. Persons Diseased or Physically Defective. No. 6. Benevolence. No. 7. Crime. No. 8. Pauperism.

Besides the first twenty-five questions on the Population Schedule, these schedules contain further questions, as for instance on the Insanity Schedule: Able to speak so as to be readily understood, imperfectly, or not at all; form of insanity; duration of present attack; total number of attacks; age or period of life at which first attack occurred; supposed cause of insanity; whether also epileptic, suicidal, or homicidal; whether this person has any insane relatives (father, mother, &c.); if married, whether wife or husband of this person is insane, blind, deaf, or deformed from infancy; whether this person has any relatives who were blind, deaf, or deformed from infancy; length of time in this institution during present attack; length of time spent in hospitals or asylums for the insane; whether wholly or partially supported by public or private charity, or by self, family, or relatives. The other schedules are similarly detailed.

Special Schedule.—Surviving soldiers, sailors, &c. Gives rank, company, regiment, or vessel, date of enlistment, of discharge, length of service.

Special Schedules used only by special agents.—There are a large number of these covering the different subjects intrusted to special agents. Among the more important are:—

Statistics of Transportation: Steam Railroads.—This comprises the following questions to be answered for each year from 1880 to 1889, both inclusive: A. Analysis of mileage (total length of line operated length of operated line owned, leased, &c.). B. Business done (freight traffic, passenger traffic, train mileage, &c.). C. Equipment and Stations (locomotives, passenger cars, freight cars, number of stations). D. Earnings and Income. E. Analysis of Expenditure. F. Analysis of Operating Expenses. G. Employees. There are 52 subdivisions under these general heads.

Statistics of Transportation: Rapid Transit Facilities in Cities.—This covers mileage, mileage built each year for ten years back, motive power, &c.

Statistics of Transportation: Steam Navigation.—Ownership and organisation. Description and Equipment. Routes and Mileage. Freight traffic analysed and estimated in tons. Volume of freight train estimated in ton-miles, Passenger traffic. Income and Expenditure. Classification of employees on steamers.

Statistics of Transportation: Sailing Vessels.—(Similar to the above.)

The above schedules are sent to the corporation or firm owning the railroad or vessel.



The preliminary reports of the census are issued in the form of Census Bulletins at irregular intervals. These returns are subject to correction before the final volumes are published. The most important published thus far are as follows:—

Bulletin No. 16.—Population of the United States by states.

Bulletin No. 7.—Indebtedness of the States in 1880 and 1890.

The figures for gross debt are as follows:—

Total debt in 1880 $296,417,521·75
Total debt in 1890 238,396,590·31
Decrease 58,020,931·44

But one-half of this decrease is due to scaling down the debt in the Southern States.

Bulletin No. 6.—Financial condition of counties.

Gross debt in 1880 $125,621,455
Gross debt in 1890 145,693,840
Increase 20,072,385

In 1890 sinking funds and cash in Treasury and other available resources amounted to $30,468,955, making the net debt $115,224,885, with an annual interest charge of $7,318,374. The report gives details for all the states and counties.

Bulletin No. 14.—Financial condition of municipalities.

Total debt in 1880 $695,494,741
Total debt in 1890 745,949,786
Increase 50,455,045

The net debt in 1890 was $455,373,940, and the annual interest charge, $34,550,236.

Bulletin No. 11.—Rapid transit in cities. The report covers 3,150 miles of railroad of which 2,351 are operated by animal power, 260 by electricity, 255 by cable, 61 by steam (elevated roads), and 221 by steam (surface roads).

The following bulletins refer to productive industry: No. 8, Slate. No. 9. Production of pig-iron (total production in year ending June 30, 1890, 9,579,779 tons). No. 10. Quicksilver. No. 13. Production of steel (total for year ending June 30, 1890, 4,466,926 tons). No. 20. Anthracite coal-fields of Pennsylvania (total production for 1889, 40,665,152 tons). No. 22. Distilled spirits consumed in the arts, manufactures, and medicines (total for year 1889, 10,976,842 proof gallons). No. 26. Maryland Coal. No. 27. Alabama Coal.

Bulletin No. 19.—Vital statistics of Jews in the United States is a special investigation made by schedules sent to about 15,000 Jewish families in the United States of which over 10,000 were returned.

Bulletin No. 25.—Statistics of Indians. The total number of Indians in the United States, exclusive of Alaska, was 249,273.

Bulletin No. 28.—Freight traffic on the Great Lakes. Aggregate tons carried was 27,460,260 tons, and average distance carried was 566 miles.

Bulletin No. 30.—Alaska. Total population, 21,929.

Bulletin No. 31.—Convicts in penitentiaries: 1890. Total number, 45,233; native whites, 23,094; foreign-born, 7,267; coloured, 14,687.

Bulletin Nos. 32, 33, and 34.—Distribution of population in accordance with mean annual rainfall; with mean annual temperature; centre of population.

The other bulletins are concerning administrative matters or returns of minor importance.

Richmond Mayo-Smith


  1. Statistics of the Coloured Race in the United States. Publication of the American Statistical Association, Nos. 11 and 12, 1890.
  2. Mr. Wm. C. Hunt, chief of the population division of the Eleventh Census, to whom I am indebted for much of the information contained in this article, informs me that in 5,000 country districts the average renumeration of the enumerators was $53.