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1870 Census Overview

The 1870 Census was the 9th census and surveyed over 38 million residents. Following the Civil War, there were a number of notable changes to the census including stricter penalties for refusing to reply. One of the main changes was the end of the supplemental slave questionnaire. With one combined questionnaire, the 1870 Census questions order differed. The schedules included in the 1870 Census were: General Population, Mortality, Agriculture, Social Statistic, and Products of Industry.

1870 Census Facts

  • Population: 38,558,371 — a 22.6% increase from the 1860 Census
  • Census Date: June 1, 1870
  • Census Date Released: 1942
  • Number of States Participating: 37
  • US Territories Participating: US Territories Participating: Arizona, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Utah
  • Data Lost: (some data from localities may be missing or part of the larger county).

1870 Census Questions Asked

  • Name
  • Personal details - Age, sex, color
  • Profession
  • Place of birth
  • Whether parents were born in a foreign country
  • Value of personal estate & real estate
  • Number of family members
  • Number of dwelling house
  • If the person was born within the last year, which month
  • Marital status & if the person was married within the last year, which month
  • Did the person attend school within the previous year
  • Could the person read or write
  • If the person blind, deaf, dumb, or idiotic
  • If the person is a male citizen that is of 21 years or older
  • If the person is a male citizen that is of 21 years or older who has been denied the right to vote

Notable Events Between 1860-1870:

  • In 1861, 11 states united to form the Confederate States of America in opposition of the Union.
  • The American Civil War breaks out in South Carolina & lasts until 1865
  • The U.S. purchased Alaska in 1867
  • In 1869, the Continental Railroad terminates in Promontory, Utah which led to a major migration to the western states.

At the start of the decade, America was a divided nation at on the brink of war. The 1870 U.S. Census reflects the changes that occurred as a result of the Civil War - people migrated North or South, soldiers lost their lives, and people changed professions. Use the details in the U.S. Census records of 1870 to learn more about how the Civil War impacted the lives of your ancestors. Start your search with a name and discover your family history.