Friday, May 31, 2013

From the Horse's Mouth: Accessing Historical Census Data

Often I get requests for data from older censuses. More recent data is readily available through a variety of online resources. But when it comes to, let's say, the 1930 Census, things get a little more difficult. Sometimes it's just best to go to the horse's mouth - namely the US Census Bureau website. While many of you undoubtedly are familiar with the American Fact Finder (AFF), there are other places on the Census Bureau website where historical data can be found. It may not be as easy or as searchable as using AFF.

One of the most direct places is their historical Census of Population and Housing webpage.  From this website you can access all of the population and housing data in every census that has been done since 1790. Please keep in mind that the census has not always provided the types of data you are presently used to, but if it was released as part of the population and housing information, it's there. For some of the data, you can access it online in a pdf; for others you must download LARGE files to view the information. So beware before you click the download button !

Regardless, this page can be a valuable resource when trying to track down some long forgotten census tidbit.