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U.S. Census and Demographic Information: Historical Census Data

A general guide to understanding and finding demographic data produced by the U.S. Census Bureau

About Historical Census Data

Historical data from the Census can be more difficult to find and use than current data. Census methods have changed, and questions have altered over the years. If you are looking for historical data, here are some sources that might help you.

General Sources for Historical Data

Historical Census Questions

For a detailed analysis of the evolution of the Census, see the PDF report "Measuring America: The Decennial Census from 1790 to 2000". An especially helpful table on population questions on all of the past Censuses can be found beginning on page 121 of the report.

For additional information, the following is a detailed spreadsheet documenting population and housing items from the Census:

Genealogy and the Census

Historical Census Publications Online

Historical Census Publications
Print Census volumes are available in the University of Michigan Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library
Most of the online resources listed here are freely available on the Internet, except for Social Explorer which is fully available by subscription to those affiliated with the University of Michigan

 

Last updated August 27, 2009

This table shows a breakdown of publications which offer historical Census information by year.

 

YearPublicationsGeographic Notes (Michigan as Example)***
1790 NHGIS State and County; 13 states and two territories but not Michigan
Census Bureau State, County, and Places but not for Michigan
Historical Census Browser State and County; 13 states and three territories but not Michigan
Social Explorer State and County; 13 states and two territories but not Michigan
1800 NHGIS State and County; 14 states, D.C., and three territories, including Northwest
Printed Census (HA 201 .1800) States, Counties, Places and Townships for 14 states, D.C. and three territories, including Northwest)
Historical Census Browser State and County; 14 states and three territories; not Michigan or D.C.
Social Explorer State and County; 14 states, D.C., and three territories, including Northwest
1810 NHGIS State and County; Michigan Territory and Four Districts
Printed Census (HA 201 1810) State, County and Places; Michigan Territory and Four Districts
Historical Census Browser State and County; no Michigan Territory information
Social Explorer State and County; Michigan Territory and Five Districts
1820 NHGIS State and County; Michigan Territory and Seven Counties
Census Bureau State, County, place and township; Michigan Territory, Counties and Detroit (third page to the end)
Historical Census Browser State and County; no Michigan Territory
Social Explorer State and County; Michigan Territory and Seven Counties
1830 NHGIS State and County; Michigan Territory and Sixteen Counties
Census Bureau (Abstract) State, County and large cities; Michigan Territory and Sixteen Counties
Historical Census Browser State and County; Michigan Territory and Sixteen Counties
Social Explorer State and County; Michigan Territory and Sixteen Counties
Printed Census Abstract (HA 201 .1830) State, County and large cities; Michigan Territory and Sixteen Counties
1840 NHGIS State and County
Census Bureau State, County, large cities; Detroit and Monroe
Historical Census Browser State and County
Social Explorer State and County
Printed Census (HA 201 .1840) State, County, large cities; Detroit and Monroe
1850 NHGIS State and County
Social Explorer State and County
Census Bureau State, County, Place, Township
Historical Census Browser State and County
IPUMS (Doc.Cen. uses PDQ) State, County* and Detroit
Printed Census (HA 201 .1850) State, County, Place, Township
1860 NHGIS State and County
Social Explorer State and County
Census Bureau State, County, Place, Township, Detroit Wards
Historical Census Browser State and County
IPUMS (Doc.Cen. uses PDQ) State, County* and Large Cities; Detroit
Printed Census (HA 201 .1860) State, County, Place, Township, Detroit Wards
1870 NHGIS State and County
Social Explorer State and County
Census Bureau State, County, Place, Township, Wards for Several Cities
Historical Census Browser State and County
IPUMS (Doc.Cen. uses PDQ) State, County*, Large Cities; Detroit, Jackson, Grand Rapids
Printed Census (HA 201 .1870) State, County, Place, Township, Wards for Several Cities
1880 NHGIS State and County
Social Explorer State and County
Census Bureau State, County, Place, Township, Wards for Several Cities
Historical Census Browser State and County
IPUMS (Doc.Cen. uses PDQ) State, County*, Large Cities; Bay City, Detroit, Grand Rapids
Printed Census (HA 201 .1880) State, County, Place, Township, Wards for Several Cities
1890 NHGIS State and County
Social Explorer State and County
Census Bureau State, County, Place, Township, Wards for Several Cities
Historical Census Browser State and County
Printed Census (HA 201 .1890 State, County, Place, Township, Wards for Several Cities
1900 NHGIS State and County
Social Explorer State and County
Census Bureau State, County, Place, Township, Wards for Several Cities
Historical Census Browser State and County
IPUMS (Doc.Cen. uses PDQ) State, County*, Large Cities; Bay City, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Pontiac, Saginaw, and wards in Detroit
Printed Census (HA 201 .1900) State, County, Place, Township, Wards for Several Cities
1910 NHGIS State and County (tracts and EDs for some other states)
Census Bureau State, County, Place, Township, Wards for Several Cities
Historical Census Browser State and County
Social Explorer State and County
IPUMS (Doc.Cen. uses PDQ) State, County*, Large Cities and Some Wards; Battle Creek, Bay City, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Saginaw, and wards for several cities
Printed Census (HA 201 .1910) State, County, Place, Township, Wards for Several Cities
1920 NHGIS State and County; census tracts for Detroit
Census Bureau State, County, Place, Village, Wards for Several Cities; townships appear separately in Table 53
Historical Census Browser State and County
Social Explorer State and County
IPUMS (Doc.Cen. uses PDQ) State, County*, Large Cities, Wards. (Battle Creek, Bay City, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Muskegon, Pontiac, Port Huron and Saginaw; wards for Detroit)
Printed Census (HA 201. 1920) State, County, Place, Village, Wards for Several Cities; townships appear separately in Table 53
1930 NHGIS State and County; census tracts for Detroit
Census Bureau State, County, Place, Township, Wards for Several Cities
Historical Census Browser State and County
Social Explorer State and County
Printed Census (HA 201 .1930) State, County, Place, Township, Wards for Several Cities
1940 NHGIS State and county; tracts for Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Genesee
Census Bureau State, County, Place, Township, Wards for Several Cities; Tracts for Detroit and Flint in Number of Inhabitants volume but separate volume not digitized; no block or social characteristics digitized as of 10/24/06
Printed Census (HA 201 1940) Includes and block and tract data
Social Explorer Tract maps with selected data
Historical Census Browser State and County
IPUMS (Doc.Cen. uses PDQ) State, Large Cities (Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids Lansing)
Printed Census (HA 201 .1940 State, County, City, Township, Ward, tracts, blocks for Several Cities; Tracts for Detroit and Flint; blocks for Dearborn, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Pontiac, and Saginaw
1950 NHGIS State and county; tracts for Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Genesee, and Kalamazoo
Census Bureau State, County, Place, Township, Wards for Several Cities; tracts and blocks; tracts for Detroit, Flint and Kalamazoo; blocks for Dearborn, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Highland Park, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Muskegon, Pontiac, Saginaw
Social Explorer Tract maps with selected data
Historical Census Browser State and County
IPUMS (Doc.Cen. uses PDQ) State, Large Cities (Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids Lansing)
Printed Census (HA 201 .1950) State, County, Place, Township, Wards for Several Cities; tracts and blocks; tracts for Detroit, Flint and Kalamazoo; blocks for Dearborn, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Highland Park, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Muskegon, Pontiac, Saginaw/td>
1960 NHGIS State and county; tracts for Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Macomb, Muskegon, Oakland, Saginaw, Washtenaw, Wayne Counties
Census Bureau State, County, Place, Township; census tracts for Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Macomb, Muskegon, Oakland, Saginaw, Washtenaw, Wayne; blocks for Adrian, Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Bay City, Dearborn, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Inkster, Harper Woods, Highland Park, Inkster, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Monroe, Muskegon, Plymouth, Pontiac, Royal Oak, St. Clair Shores, Saginaw, Troy and Wayne
Social Explorer Tract maps with selected data
Historical Census Browser State and County
IPUMS (Doc.Cen. uses PDQ) State
Printed Census (HA 201 .1960 State, County, Place, Township; census tracts and blocks; tracts for Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Macomb, Muskegon, Oakland, Saginaw, Washtenaw, Wayne Counties; blocks for Adrian, Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Bay City, Dearborn, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Inkster, Harper Woods, Highland Park, Inkster, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Monroe, Muskegon, Plymouth, Pontiac, Royal Oak, St. Clair Shores, Saginaw, Troy and Wayne
1970 NHGIS State, county, SMSA, place, tract, block, Congressional District
Census Bureau State, County, place, township; tract and block, including Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Bay City, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Muskegon, Saginaw
Social Explorer Tract maps with selected data
Neighborhood Change Data Base Online Access or CD Tract only for SMSAs
Geolytics 1970 CD State, County, city, township, tract for Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Bay City, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Muskegon, Saginaw
IPUMS (Doc.Cen. uses PDQ) State
Printed Census (HA 201.1970 State, County, place, township; tract and block, including Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Bay City, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Muskegon, Saginaw
1980 NHGIS State, county, SMSA, place, tract, zip code
Census Bureau Minimal data digitized for State, County, Place and Township
Social Explorer Tract maps with selected data
Simply Map States, counties, tracts, blockgroups, zipcodes
Neighborhood Change Data Base Online Access or CD Tract only for SMSAs and Selected Places
1980 Geolytics CD State, County, place, township, Congressional District, Enumeration Districts, tract and block groups for Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Bay City, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Muskegon, Saginaw
IPUMS (Doc.Cen. uses PDQ) State
Print Census (HA 201 .1980) State, county, place, township; PHC series include Congressional Districts; tract data in paper and block data on microfiche (C3.224/5:PHC80-1 in beige cabinet or ASI 1983 2551-1) for: Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Bay City, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Muskegon, Saginaw, Toledo-OH/MI plus areas in Allegan, Midland and Cass Counties; block data on microfiche (C3.224/5:PHC80-1 in beige cabinet or ASI 1983 2551-1) for: Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Bay City, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Muskegon, Saginaw, Toledo-OH/MI as well as parts of Allegan, Alpena, Benqie, Branch, Cass, Chippewa, Delta, Gogebic, Grand Traverse, Gratiot, Isabella, Lenawee, Marquette, Mason, Medcosta, Menominee, Midland, Presque Isle, Sanilac, Tuscola and Wexford counties;block group data for Michigan in beige microfiche cabinet
1990 NHGIS State, county, MSA, place, tract, Congressional District, zip code
Census Bureau State, County, city, township, Congressional District; no tract data digitized; block data not printed. Cartographic boundary files available at http://www.census.gov/geo/maps-data/data/tiger-cart-boundary.html
Social Explorer Tract maps with selected data
Simply Map States, counties, tracts, blockgroups, zipcodes
Neighborhood Change Data Base Online Access or CD Tract only for entire states
1990 Geolytics CD State, County, place, township, Congressional District, Enumeration Districts, zip code, tract and block groups for the entire state
Census FTP site State, County, place, Township, Congressional District, Census Tract, Block Group, Zip Code for entire state
IPUMS (Doc.Cen. uses PDQ) State and PUMA**
Census Bureau CDs Use STF1B CD for block data for all areas in nation. PL94-171 data is only online source for block data.
2000 NHGIS State, county, tract, place
American Factfinder State, County, Place, Township, Zip Code, Congressional District, Census Tract, Block Group, Block for entire state
Social Explorer Tract maps with selected data
Simply Map States, counties, tracts, blockgroups, zipcodes
Neighborhood Change Data Base Online Access or CD Tract only for entire state
2000 Geolytics CDs State, County, place, township, zip code, Congressional District, tract, block group and block
Census Bureau CDs All geographic levels, including zip code, Congressional District, tract, block group and block
IPUMS (Doc.Cen. uses PDQ) State and PUMA**

 

* ICPSR County Codes at: http://usa.ipums.org/usa/volii/ICPSR.shtml
** PUMA definitions: http://usa.ipums.org/usa/volii/tgeotools.shtml
*** Not all data available for all geographic levels

American Factfinder: http://factfinder.census.gov/
Census Bureau Archive: http://www.census.gov/prod/www/abs/decennial/index.htm
Census Tracts by County, 1910-1980: http://www.nhgis.org/nhgis-files/tract%20availability.pdf
City Blocks: 1940-1980: http://guides.lib.umich.edu/data/files/24053/bloc4080.xls
Historical Census Browser: http://fisher.lib.virginia.edu/collections/stats/histcensus/
IPUMS: http://usa.ipums.org/usa/
National Historic Geographic Information System: http://www.nhgis.org/
PL-94-171 data: http://censtats.census.gov/pl94/pl94.shtml
PDQ: http://www.pdq.com

Simply Map: http://searchtools.lib.umich.edu/V?func=native-link&resource=UMI05780
Social Explorer: http://searchtools.lib.umich.edu/V?func=native-link&resource=UMI05803
CD-ROMS: Most likely to be available at large academic libraries