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U.S. Census Research Guide: 1840

The U.S. Census Bureau conducts several data collection programs about the U.S. population which have their own language, geography, and data portals. This guide is based on a similar guide created by Kelly Smith at UCSD.

For more info...

Raw Data Files

These are computer files intended to be loaded into statistical software for analysis and creating your own tables. In some cases these files can be used with spreadsheet software as well.

Population Schedules

Census population schedules (or "name schedules" or "manuscript census") are copies of the original questionnaires collected during each decennial census. They list the individual names and family information of the people enumerated. Unlike the statistics published soon after the census, the population schedules remain confidential for 72 years. 1930 is the most recent population schedule available.


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About the 1840 Census


  • 6th decennial census
  • US population: 17,069,453
  • Illinois population:  476,183
  • First census to include questions about education

Questions asked

Name of head of family; age; sex; race; slaves; number of deaf and dumb; number of blind; number of insane and idiotic and whether in public or private charge; number of persons in each family employed in each of six classes of industry and one of occupation; literacy; pensioners for Revolutionary or military service.

For more information:

Map Coverage of the 1840 Census

Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790 - 1920


Statistics of the 1840 Census

Multi-year census compilations (compare across years): These sources tend to include statistics for large geographic areas (e.g. states), but can be very useful when comparing statistics over time.

Digitized Data Sources

Key publications:

Print available in the Library

Online access

Sixth Census
 Gov Info Census C 3/a. 6/ 5: 1   (reprint)


Statistics of the United States of America, as collected and returned by the marshals of the several judicial districts, under the ... act for taking the sixth census; corrected at the Department of state. June 1, 1840.
 Gov Info Census C 3/a. 6/ 5: 2   (reprint)


A census of pensioners for revolutionary or military services, with their names, ages, and places of residence, as returned by the marshals of the several judicial districts, under the act for taking the sixth census.
 Gov Info Census C 3/a. 6/ 5: 3   (reprint)

From the Census Bureau

Compendium of the enumeration of the inhabitants and statistics of the United States as obtained at the Department of State, from the returns of the sixth census, by counties and principal towns ... to which is added an abstract of each preceding census.
 Gov Info Census C 3/a. 6/ 2: C73/1  

From the Census Bureau