Women's Studies Section

Association of College & Research Libraries / American Library Association
Historical Census Browser
Primary Source Types for Women's Studies OTHER
Statistical Data
Subjects for Women's Studies African American Women
Asian American Women
Economic Status
Family Studies
Labor / Employment
Native American Women
United States
Coverage Dates 1790-1960
Archive is Ongoing / Completed Completed
Publisher Geospatial and Statistical Data Center, University of Virginia Library
URL http://fisher.lib.virginia.edu/collections/stats/histcensus/index.html
Date Searched January 2007


Data and terminology found in the Historical Census Browser were drawn directly from historical volumes of the U.S. Census of Population and Housing. Data differ somewhat from decade to decade according to what was collected in the census and the items chosen for transcription to electronic form. All decades include basic counts of population, housing units, race, gender, and some measure of household size and occupation. Beginning with 1840, some economic characteristics such as education and occupation are included. Later decades have many variables, including ancestry, literacy, and income variables.

Data selection for this site was carried out under guidelines developed by the American Historical Association and reflect an interest in political and economic analyses. Census data for each decade is grouped into categories. The categories are not part of the original data.

Women's Studies Content

Statistical data of interest to women's studies varies by decade, depending on the time period and what was collected in the census. Some examples:

1790 - white females, slaves
1860 - “free colored” and slave populations, including female subgroups and females by age group
1920 - education and literacy [number of illiterate females] ; population counts include female Indians, Chinese, Japanese
1960 - cumulative fertility rate (children ever born per 1000 women, 15-44 years of age) ; additional ethnic categories


Searching is not available, but the menu system for browsing is very straightforward. Data are organized by decade and further organized by categories within each decade. Data are organized into category, allowing one to easily compare a topic across multiple years.

Archive Review:
Lesley Pease
Syracuse University

Last updated: January 15, 2007

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