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1790 Census of Population and Housing

The first enumeration began on Monday, August 2, 1790, little more than a year after the inauguration of President Washington and shortly before the second session of the first Congress ended. The Congress assigned responsibility for the 1790 census to the marshals of the U.S. judicial districts under an act that, with minor modifications and extensions, governed census-taking through 1840. The law required that every household be visited and that completed census schedules be posted in two of the most public places within [each jurisdiction], there to remain for the inspection of all concerned...'' and that the aggregate amount of each description of persons'' for every district be transmitted to the President. The six inquiries in 1790 called for the name of the head of the family and the number of persons in each household of the following descriptions: Free White males of 16 years and upward (to assess the country's industrial and military potential), free White males under 16 years, free White females, all other free persons (by sex and color), and slaves. (quoted from Census Bureau description)

For online access to the 1790 data, please go to the Historical Census browser.

Publications of 1790 Census

Return of the whole number of persons within the several districts of the United States, according to "An act providing for the enumeration of the inhabitants of the United States."

Microfiche 1227 23916 (Media Stacks) or online via Early American Imprints CU
Microfiche 1227 34905 (Media Stacks) or online via Early American Imprints CU
In print: I 2.5: 1 (GOVPUB US)
Microfiche: EBD I205-1 (Ask at the reference desk)
Online at Census Bureau, in PDF or ZIP

"Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States taken in the year 1790"

  • Connecticut PDF or ZIP

  • Maine PDF or ZIP

  • Maryland PDF or ZIP

  • Massachusetts PDF or ZIP
    In print: C 3.11:M 38 (GOVPUB US)

  • New Hampshire PDF or ZIP

  • New York PDF or ZIP

  • North Carolina PDF or ZIP
    In print: C 3.11:N 81 c (GOVPUB US)

  • Pennsylvania PDF or ZIP
    C 3.11:P 38 (GOVPUB US)

  • Rhode Island PDF or ZIP

  • South Carolina PDF or ZIP
    In print: C 3.11:So 8 c (GOVPUB US)

  • Vermont PDF or ZIP

  • Virginia PDF or ZIP
    In print: C 3.11:V81 (GOVPUB US)

Return to federal census page