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1790 U.S. Census Quick Facts

  • 1790 U.S. Census Date:
    August 2, 1790
    (All reported data is "as of" this official date chosen by the census Agency)
  • Census Duration:
    19 months
  • 1790 U.S. Census Population:
    3,929,326
  • President during 1790 Census:
    George Washington

13 States participated in the first census. Information was also collected on residents in the territories of Maine, Vermont, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
13 States participated in the first census. Information was also collected on residents in the territories of Maine, Vermont, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

1790 Census Data: 1st United States Census

  • The 1790 census was the first national census taken by the new United States government.
  • Some government officials believed that the census had under counted the true population of the county.

Information requested by the 1790 U.S. Census

  • Name of the head of the family
  • Number of free white males 16 years of age and older, including head of family
  • Number of free white males under 16 years of age
  • Number of all free white females including head of the family
  • Number of all other free persons
  • Number of slaves

What was lost from the 1790 U.S. Census?

Original records for a number of states including Delaware, Georgia, New Jersey, and Virginia were lost in the decades following 1790.

Also, nearly a third of the original census data from all the states has been destroyed. This includes records from Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Vermont.

Famous people in history: George Washington

On January 8, 1790, George Washington, the decorated general and first U.S. president delivered the the first State of the Union speech, setting a precedent that all presidents would continue annually.

Just a few months later, the first U.S. Census was taken to determine congressional representation for the following Congresses.

The census started as merely statistical numbers, and evolved over the years to gather detailed information about a household's family history.

Historical events surrounding the 1790 US Census

  • January 8, 1790: George Washington gives the first State of the Union Address
  • February 1, 1790: Supreme Court convenes for the first time
  • April 17, 1790: Benjamin Franklin dies
  • July 16, 1790: Washington D.C. becomes the nation’s capital