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1900 Federal Census Overview

The 1900 census was the first to include the respondents birth month and year, the year of arrival in the U.S., the number of years living in America, and their Naturalization status. These additional questions can help you better track your ancestors, especially as the U.S. experienced a massive population growth with the influx of European immigrants from 1890-1900.

New additions to the census included the first census of the Hawaiian Islands conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau after Hawaii was annexed in 1898. The 1900 census included the second Indian territory census conducted (most of the census data of the first Indian census of 1890 was lost in the fire).

1900 Census Facts

  • Population: 76,212,168 - 21% increase compared to the 1890 Census.
  • Census Date: June 1900
  • Census Date Released: Not available until 2022
  • Number of States Participating: 45 (New state: Utah)
  • US Territories Participating: Alaska, Hawaii, Arizona, Oklahoma, and New Mexico were still territories at this time.
  • Data Lost: None
  • Separate American Indian Schedule: Yes

1900 Census Questions Asked

  • Name
  • Location
  • Household Data - Number of family, owned/rented
  • Relation - of the responder to the head of the household
  • Personal Description - Sex, race, age at last birthday, marital status, how long married
  • How many children is the respondent mother to? How many are still alive.
  • Date of Birth
  • Place of Birth
  • Father’s & Mother’s place of birth
  • How many years has the person been in the U.S.
  • Naturalized? Alien?
  • Employment - how many months not employed in the past year
  • Do they live on a farm?
  • Do they have a mortgage still?

Use the supplemental Indian Population Schedule to find your Native American ancestors including their tribal affiliation and Indian Name (if provided).

Notable Events Between 1890-1900:

Political Events
  • Wyoming and Idaho became the 43rd and 44th states in 1890 & Hawaii was annexed in 1898.
  • The Battle of Wounded Knee in South Dakota 1890 was the last major fight between the U.S. and Native Americans.
  • Ellis Island Immigration Station opened in 1892 and would process over 12 million immigrants.
  • The 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court ruling approved racial segregation by the “separate but equal” doctrine.
  • In 1898, U.S.S. Maine exploded in Havana, Cuba, killing over 200 American soldiers, leading to the start of the Spanish-American War.
Sports & Pop Culture
  • In 1891 Thomas Edison premiered his strip motion picture film in New Jersey and patented the radio later that year.
  • Gold is discovered in the Yukon District of Canada in 1896 starting the Klondike Gold Rush, known as the last North American Gold Rush.
  • In 1897 oil was discovered on Osage Indian territory resulting in a large population influx near Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

Unlock Your Ancestors Past with GenealogyBank The U.S. census records of 1900 offer a glimpse into the lives of our ancestors living in 1900. Combine this information with our exclusive collection of newspaper archives to find additional details of their lives. Find out if your ancestors moved North for the promise of Gold or to Oklahoma for oil. Find out the answers to these questions and more to discover how these events impacted your ancestors’ lives and shaped your family history.

About the 1900 US federal census

The 1900 Federal census was the twelfth census conducted by the US government. The official enumeration day of the 1900 census was June 1, 1900. All questions asked referred to that date. By 1900, there were a total of forty five states in the Union, with Utah being the latest addition and Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Oklahoma enumerated as territories.

The 1900 census consisted originally of seven schedules. Two population schedules were prepared: one for Native Americans and one for all other residents. These are the schedules that are reproduced as microfilm T623 publications. The five remaining schedules, containing information on agriculture, manufacturers, mortality, and crime, are not available from the National Archives. The 1900 US census listed each person’s associated identity with details from date of birth to number of children and years of residence.

According to US census records of 1900, the bureau conducted the first census of the Hawaiian Islands after Hawaii was annexed in 1898. At that time, the 1900 census also included the second Indian Territory census and it was crucially important. This was because most of the census data of the first Indian census conducted in 1890 went missing.

What can we learn from a 1900 census records search?

The 1900 census records let you know about your history and ancestors. It may describe the occupation and livelihood of your forefathers. Also, when you search the 1900 census, you'll get a brief glimpse into the journey of the past members of your family—whose struggles and successes you otherwise may not have realized. You might enjoy learning about their achievements, or gain insight into how you got those heirlooms. In the 1900 census records, the list of relationships to the head of the household are clearly mentioned.

The 1900 fed census (column 11) indicates how many children were born to each woman, while column 12 indicates how many of those children were still living. These clues can help determine whether the researcher has identified all children in a given family, and whether any were deceased when the census was taken. It also provides citizenship information around the year of immigration, naturalization status (column 16), and whether they were naturalized citizens: Na, had filed papers: Pa, or simply were considered aliens: Al (column 18).

In the United States census records for 1900, enumerators were instructed to record the names of every person in the household. Along with name, address, and date of birth, they also included the following categories in the census: the year of immigration, the number of years in the United States, the citizenship status of foreign-born individuals over age twenty-one, occupation, and whether the person could read, write, and speak English.

These categories allowed Congress to determine the number of persons residing in the United States for collection of taxes and the appropriation of seats in the House of Representatives. The additional information about residence, mortality, occupation, and ethnicity helped the government keep track of the massively growing population and create a distinction between residents and immigrants.

Why are census records important?

Since 1790, the US census has managed to serve the purpose of data collection regarding every US citizen. It seems nearly impossible to pen down the history of a nation without having its social, economic, or political statistics. Data gathered over the centuries has managed to provide a proper historical record that helps genealogists to trace back the former lives of different families.

Historical US census records can be vital for research purposes and the development of society. Census records are able to express information about individuals who may not have the means to leave a legacy behind, such as immigrants, the poor, prisoners, slaves, or the illiterate. They help to preserve ancestral biographical data in writing for the next generation. On a personal level, census records provide access to information about the previous generations and their lifestyles, habits, and complexities.

To understand how humanity has evolved over time, we need historical documentation in the form of census records. Census data helps to track the progressive change and emerging trends in the American society. Social scientists and historians collect the information from federal census records to learn and investigate human transformation and their capabilities.

What can 1900 census records be used for?

Using the US census of 1900 for genealogy is all about extracting as much information as possible about ancestors that lived in that era. You can find data regarding family property, inheritance, and even land records. The 1900 United States census records can also help to trace back family genetics and ethnic descent.

The records of the 1900 US census became a prime source of information about residents of the United States. The additional data was valuable enough to determine tax collection from individual districts and it also helped define seat distribution in US Houses.