Dr Joel Weintraub: Unique Aspects of the United States Census
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Dr Joel Weintraub: Unique Aspects of the United States Census



Dr Weintraub gave a public talk at Stanford University 2/4/2013. His talk centered around the United States Decennial Census Manuscripts aka Enumerators' Notebooks, the history of the Census ...

Dr Weintraub gave a public talk at Stanford University 2/4/2013. His talk centered around the United States Decennial Census Manuscripts aka Enumerators' Notebooks, the history of the Census Questions, including controversial questions, undercounts, and truthfulness. For more on Dr Weintraub's census work see his 1940 census site and his collaborative work with Steve Morse at http://stevemorse.org.



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    Dr Joel Weintraub: Unique Aspects of the United States Census Dr Joel Weintraub: Unique Aspects of the United States Census Presentation Transcript

    • Unique Aspects of theUnited States Census Joel Weintraub, PhD Dana Point, CA
    • http://tinyurl.com/6upkocy
    • Demographers Market Researchers Historians Social Workers PoliticiansHealth Providers Economists LibrariansGenealogists Sociologists Planners
    • Census Bureau Report 1943
    • Topics1. Why a US census?2. History of questions3. Copies or originals?4. The census takers5. Undercounts and overcounts6. Controversial questions7. Truthfulness?8. Name and locational searches
    • United States Constitution 1787“The actual enumeration shall bemade within three years after thefirst meeting of the Congress ofthe United States, and withinevery subsequent term of tenyears, in such manner as theyshall by law direct.”
    • Census Use Reapportion House of Representativeshttp://www.psmag.com/politics/is-the-house-of-representatives-too-small-3465/
    • 1911: House set at 435 members, previously, kept adding members after each census so no state lost representatives Vermont had 6 Representatives in1910, but after the 1930 census they were down to 1 RepresentativeExhibit: Letter from Rep
    • 2010 Census UseDistribute Federal Funds (~$400 Billion/Year) $14,000 per person over 10 years
    • The Federal Census Reality: The US Census is a DISRUPTIVE processand it always has been
    • 1790 Family Based. Senators Recommended Marshall Appointments Exhibit: Assist. Marshall Appthttp://www.shieldzone.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2006/11/jefferson.jpg
    • First Questions US Census• James Madison wanted age (2 groups added) and occupation (denied)• Too many questions raise suspicions• Extra data useful only for “idle people to make a book”Margo Anderson 2000. Encyclopedia of the U.S. Census http://www.earlyamerica.com/portraits/madison.html
    • 1790-1840Harper’s Magazine: 1870
    • Edmonds: Taking the Census 1850 1830: 1 printed, st uniform forms1850: 1 uniform instructions stand all names in household http://www.flickr.com/photos/maulleigh/1285984329/
    • 1850-1860Slave Census X Harper’s Magazine: 1870
    • 1870 Considered Worst Ever Fraud and Missed Areas Recounts in Philadelphia, Indianapolis, St. Louis and New York City “Carpet Bagger” Census Undercounts South by 10% Harper’s Magazine: 1870
    • 1850 & 1870 Population Schedules 1870Exhibit: Original Forms Mortality Schedule
    • Census Copies vs Originals = originalsThorndale & Dollarhide: Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses 1790-1920
    • 1880 • Major revision of census law • New census bureaucracy
    • 1890 East Side, NYC, June 1890http://www.maggieblanck.com/NewYork/Life.html
    • 1899Exhibit: 1899 Application
    • 1910 Competitive exams for enumerators http://www.census.gov/main/.in/php_module/lightbox/media.php?I_1d6272af5fe0ccf54ca2467acb7b8866
    • Exhibit: 1910 Test & Badges
    • 1940 Enumerators• Examination Required• Legible handwriting and following written instructions considered• Paid on a piece basis, usually 4 cents a name for urban areas and for other forms• Went through training classes
    • Enumerator HandbookExhibit: 1940 Handbook
    • Followup Confidential Questionnaire 115,433 sent 16,025 sent backRead entire instructions? Yes: 12,256 No: 857 (7%) Left blank 2,912 Narrations: 18 Nov 2011
    • IPUMS Website• Integrated Public Use Microdata Series• Enumerator Instructions• Census Questions and Forms
    • IPUMS Website
    • http://www.thoughtviper.com/new/new74.html
    • Exhibit: 1940 Forms
    • 372: Procedure for Absent Households: ……. “a. Try to obtain the desired informationfrom neighbors or from some otherperson who may be able to furnish it.” 1940 Enumerator Instruction Book
    • An outside informant should have their name in the left-hand margin as: “Information from John Brown neighbor”. http://www.census.gov/pubinfo/www/photos/Histforms/1940/cenform/His40cenFQ.html
    • http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/97502086/
    • The New York Times, June 1915
    • Census Undercount • “in 1940 the Census Bureau began to systematically estimate the undercount in the decennial census”•http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/cmb/cmbp/downloads/99feb1.html
    • Census Undercount• 6 1/2 months after the Census, a mandatory Selective Service Registration for males 21 through 35• Penalties for non-registration: a fine of up to $10,000, a prison term of up to 5 years• (Palo Alto males… #18 among Stanford’s registrants was young John Fitzgerald Kennedy … a student at the graduate school of business) [Palo Alto Wiki]A Check on Underenumeration in the 1940 Census by Daniel O. Price American Sociological Review, Vol. 12, No. 1 (Feb., 1947), pp. 44-4
    • 13% more Blacks, and 3% more Non-Blacks registered than predicted from the census Calculated that 8.4% of Black Americans and 5% of Non-Blacks missed on the 1940 censusSocial Science History 19:4 (winter 1995) http://news.yahoo.com/1940-us-census-records-show-black-undercount-175820718--spt.html?_esi=1
    • Census Overcount• Tacoma 1910 counted 116,268 people• In 1900 they had 37,714 counted• Massive fraud shown, and 33,296 names thrown out
    • Census Overcount
    • Census Date = 1/1/1920Enumerated on 1/5/1920 San Francisco, CA
    • Enumeration Date (1/5/1920) San Francisco, CA
    • Privacy
    • Are #!%#!! you a pauper?Exhibit: 1890 Harper’s Magazine
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_W._Tobey
    • Catherine Curtis Senate Testimony
    • Commerce Sect. Hopkins Solution Two weeks before the census the Secretary of Commerce ruled thatthe income question could be answered in unsigned, sealed letters.
    • “Your Signature Is Not Required” Exhibit: Confidential Form
    • Envelope
    • Truthfulness?
    • New York Times April 1930
    • The Last Laugh… How the hell do you think I could answer if I couldn’t write? So-called English In 1897. In the Yes front room. No1930 Census Slip A bootlegger
    • I consider this questionnairea great joke. Congress is bad enough. Why make it worse?
    • Name Indexes• Efficient way of finding people• Don’t have to know much about the census format• Can go directly to right page image• Subscription services but some years are free at websites
    • Census Taker Situations• Unusual sounding names• Incorrect and false names• Abbreviated names or nicknames• Confidentiality and penmanship• Name entry mistakes
    • “Be particularly care- ful when enumerating a household that no person is reading the entries you are making or the entries you have Exhibit made for other house- holds.”1940 Enumerator Handbook Sects 20
    • Stoltz: “… many people from theWest Coast wrote to Rockwellasking what the funny-lookingstick at the feet of the censustaker was and why he waswearing rubbers in a placewhere the sun always shines”
    • Exhibit: 1950 Enumerator Toolshttp://www.census.gov/pubinfo/www/photos/img/highres/Histo10h.jpg
    • Transcriber Problems• Poor quality census images –Faint writing, blurry, taped, ink blots, ripped, water marks, obscuring statistical marks• Handwriting interpretation• English not primary language
    • Transcriber Problems 1910 Census Pennsylvania
    • Watchnatenedget“Not christened yet”
    • Transcriber Problems• FamilySearch led volunteer project of 160,000 transcribers• 2 people saw same page, and a 3rd if conflicts in the transcription• Housing Schedule 1940 EXHIBIT• Housing Information from Blocks
    • Name Search Advice• Use Wildcards * ? –Smi* = Smith, Smithson, etc…. –Sm?th = Smith, Smyth, Smuth…• LESS IS MORE• Search for Children• Don’t Use Last Name• RELAX YOUR ASSUMPTIONS
    • Ray Lyman WilburBorn April 13, 1875
    • https://www.flickr.com/photos/usnationalarchives/6935831733/galleries/
    • The Birth Year Assumption •March 1876 •Feb 1876 •Jan 1876 •Dec 1875 •Nov 1875 64 yr •Oct 1875 •Sept 1875 9/12 (75%)olds •Aug 1875 •July 1875 of 1875 births •June 1875 •May 1875 are 64 •Apr 1875 on the 1940 Census •Mar 1875 65 yr •Feb 1875 olds •Jan 1875
    • Why Location Searches?•Sometimes name indexes fail•To confirm a missed address•To look up “John Smith”•To find the history of a house• If there isn’t a name index
    • • Where to look:• Address Books• Birth/Death/Marriage Certificates• City Directories and Telephone Directories• NYC Digitized Phone Books 1940• Diaries• Employment Records• Letters, Envelopes, and other correspondence• Local Newspapers• Naturalization Records• Photographs• Relatives• School and Church Records• Scrapbooks• Social Security Application
    • Enumeration District• Abbreviated ED• Area an enumerator counts• Has a unique, two-part number• Boundaries and ED number often change between censuses
    • Page Geography, Numbering
    • 100% were asked these questions Short Form 40 Entry Lines Long Form Supplementary Questions 5% were asked these questions
    • Special Census Day8th April- temporary lodgings, tourist facilities, flophouses, hotels
    • Regular Page 26 coverage 1 13 Page 27 Follow-ups & Missed 61 Page 29 4/8 Transients 811940 Enumerator Handbook: Paragraph 401
    • - Started as partnership between Steve and Joel in Jan. 2002 for 1930 census- Has search aids for a Site”- Known as “One-Step number of- censuses At stevemorse.org NOT .com- Over 200 utilities on it- Free site
    • 1940 Tutorial Quiz:How to Access the 1940 Census in One Step
    • In 2011, One-Step site: about 80,000 hits/day 2,500,000 2,000,000 2,248,987 1,500,000 One-Step Hits 1,000,000 500,000 399,840135,833 0 14-Mar 21-Mar 28-Mar 04-Apr 11-Apr 18-Apr 2012
    • 1940census.archives.gov Designed for 10 million hits a day First 3 hours 22.5 million hitsLater in 1st week- 100 million hits per day http://www.archives.com/blog/us-census/
    • http://www.archives.gov/research/census/presidents/images/hoover- 1940-transcript.pdf
    • 3,343 daysuntil the 1950 census! 1950
    • 1950 Census Project Planning1. Phase 1: What’s Possible, Get Resources2. Phase 2: Protocols and Entry Software3. Phase 3: Transcriptions, Volunteers Fewer unincorporated names4. Phase 4: Correlate with namesCensus Less institutional 1950 No block definitions large cities Images, Online ED Maps?, NARA ED No 1940 to 1950 ED correlate data definitions, and Population Schedule No online 1950 ED maps Images Websites or ED definitions No 1950 films at NARA branches No budget (as usual!!)
    • 1950 Census Project Planning1. ~19 million more people than 19402. ~80,000 more EDs than 19403. 38 Reels of ED definitions (28 in 1940), cost $125 x 38 = $4,750!!
    • Scans taken = >30,000