- This event has passed.
On this day in 1790, the first United States Census began
An event every year that begins at 12:00 am on day 2 of August, repeating indefinitely
On this day in 1790, the first United States Census began, fulfilling the Constitution’s requirement of a population count. The census was (and still is) important in determining representation. The first census asked only six questions and didn’t record any names aside from the head of household.
Did you know? In every census from 1790-to 2020, New York City has consistently been the largest city. Talk about a Big Apple! 🍎🍎🍎
Due to their confidential nature, census records aren’t available to the public for 72 years. This wasn’t always the case – as census questions became more extensive (and more personal), privacy concerns resulted from in-laws wanting to keep their information confidential.
Why 72 years? It’s commonly believed that the number was chosen since it was roughly the average lifespan at the time.
1950 census records will be made publicly available in 2022 (that’s only 5 months from now)! This may not be exciting for many, but genealogists eagerly await these decennial occasions to gain insight into the lives of previous generations.
If they were in the U.S. prior to 1950, consider looking up your own relatives! 👨👩👧👦 👨👩👧👦 👨👩👧👦
A woman with a Hollerith pantograph punch (the keyboard is for the 1940 US Census population card), Bureau of the Census, c. 1940