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Census Year

1890 Census Overview

The questions on the 1890 Federal Census form were relatively similar to the 1880 census with a few additional questions and newly added states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Washington. New questions added to the 1890 Census by the Census Bureau included Union soldier service length and names of widows. In addition, Japanese was included as a race category, distinguishing between East Asian races for the first time.

The surviving 1890 Census records include data from the District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, Alabama, Texas, South Dakota, Minnesota, Ohio, New York, and North Carolina. These records contain information on 6,160 of the 62.9 million who participated in the 1890 Census. However, you can use our collection of newspaper archives to trace your ancestors who lived in America in 1890.

1890 Census Facts

  • Population: 62,979,766 — a 25.5% increase from the 1880 Census
  • Census Date: June 2, 1890
  • Census Date Released: 1962
  • Number of States Participating: 42
  • US Territories Participating: U.S. Territories Participating: Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Idaho, Wyoming, Alaska, and Oklahoma
  • Data Lost: Yes — majority damaged or lost in a 1921 fire

1890 Census Questions Asked

  • Home address
  • Number of family members
  • Number of people and families living in the home
  • Name - full name and middle initial
  • Relationship to head of the family
  • Military service during the Civil War
  • Age & sex
  • Color (race)
  • Place of birth
  • Place of birth for mother and father
  • Naturalization & language spoken
  • Occupation, profession, or trade
  • Unemployment details
  • Literacy status
  • Health status

Despite the limited remaining census data, you can also search the 1880 Census and 1900 Census to find your ancestors.

Notable Events Between 1880-1890:

  • North and South Dakota, Montana and Washington became states in November 1889
  • 400 street lamps and 85 customers in NYC received electrical power in NYC in 1882
  • In 1885, the Statue of Liberty arrived in NYC
  • The Oklahoma Land Rush began in 1888 - over 50,000 settlers rushed to claim land
  • In 1886 the Johnstown Flood killed over 2,200 people - known as the deadliest flood in American history.
  • The infamous O.K. Corral gunfight took place in Tombstone, AZ in 1881

Using the census records and other genealogy records including U.S. newspaper archives you can uncover unknown information about your family history.