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Census Evolution (1830 - 1940)

With the impending changes to the 2020 census asking many Americans to write in "German, Irish English, Italian, Lebanese, Egyptian, etc.", I thought we could revisit census periods and changes of yesteryear!

Starting with the first remaining federal census information enumerated in St. Louis.

(The 1810 and 1820 records were lost.)




1840 Missouri State Census

(Missouri began taking state censuses in 1824. The first surviving record – a partial record only – is from 1840.

After 1876, state censuses were discontinued in 1876 and repealed in April 1885.)

1850 (The "Mulatto" option was added this year; Font direction changes)



1880 (The "Health" status includes categories for Blind, Deaf and Dumb,

Idiotic, Insane, Maimed/Crippled/Bedridden or Disabled,

Dropped Out of School, Cannot Read and Cannot Write.)

1900 (The "Health" status has been removed.)



1930 (Not shown: “Black,” “Mulatto,” “Quadroon” or “Octoroon”

are replaced with “Negro”. Also includes “Other,” “Indian,”

“Mexican,” and five categories for people from South or East Asia).


​Census Source: Secretary of State, Missouri Digital Heritage,