The 1860 Census~A National Picture

The United States Constitution in Article One, Section Two, Sub-section Three, mandates that “Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers . . . . The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct.” This year requires such a census, one which provides interesting insight into the civil war which will soon divide the nation.


slave family in the fields


The census reports that the total population is 31,443,322, an increase of 35.6% over the 1850 census. The total population includes 3,953,760 slaves and 487,970 free persons of color as well as 41,725 “civilized Indians” by which the Federal government meant Native Americans living in cities, towns or on reservations and who had accepted the dominant culture. Those living on their traditional lands or in a semi-nomadic fashion are not counted. New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania combined contain 23.7% of the population. The New England states hold 9.9% of the national population while the three states of the Pacific coast– Washington, Oregon, and California combined– have only 1.4% of the total. Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida combined contain 13.0% of the total population while Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas combined have 9.7% of the entire population. Females constitute 48.8% of the total population, males making up 51.2% of the total; only 19.8% of the total population live in urban areas which are defined as places with 2500 or more persons, which totals 392 such locations, an increase from 236 locations in 1850 and the 24 such locations in 1790, the year of the first census. Among school age children, defined by the census as between the ages of 5 to 19, 62.0% of white males and 57.2% of white females attend school while only 1.9% of other males and 1.8% of other females attend school.

The largest numbers of immigrants live, in order, in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin and Massachusetts while the fewest numbers of immigrants live in North Carolina, Florida, Arkansas, Oregon, Mississippi, and Delaware.


The census defines “Leading Manufactures” as industries which produce flour, cotton goods, boots and shoes, leather goods, clothing, woolen goods, machinery, printing, sugar refining, iron foundries, furniture, rolled iron, pig iron, liquors, agricultural implements and soap. Across the nation 1,100,000 men and 285,000 women work in such industries; however, only 8.9% of these men and only 4.0% of these women work in the states which will become part of the Confederacy.

Railroads operate 31,794 miles of track, 31.2% of which lies in the states which will join the Confederacy.


Publications include 372 daily newspapers; 2,694 weekly newspapers; 74 biweekly newspapers; 171 weekly religious newspapers; 86 monthly religious newspapers; 298 literary papers.

Publishers print $11,843,459 worth of books, the greatest majority of which are printed, in order, in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, the District of Columbia, and Connecticut.

A total of 46 factories make sewing machines; all of them are located in the North.

America’s farms & plantations cultivate 163,261,389 acres to produce

> 830,451,707 bushels of corn

> 172,554,688 bushels of oats

> 171,183,301 bushels of wheat

> 110,571,201 bushels of potatoes

> 41,606,302 bushels of sweet potatoes

> 17,664,914 bushels of buckwheat

> 15,635,119 bushels of barley

> 15,188,013 bushels of peas & beans

> 429,390,771 pounds of tobacco

> 302,205,000 pounds of cane sugar

> 187,140,173 pounds of rice

> 60,511,343 pounds of wool

> 38,863,884 pounds of maple sugar

> 25,028,991 pounds of honey

> 1,357,864 pounds of bees wax

> 16,337,080 gallons of cane molasses

> 1,944,594 gallons of maple molasses

5,198,077 bales of ginned cotton


The population being consistently thirsty, the total production of spirituous liquors– i.e., whiskey, rum, gin, brandy, wine, etc– amounts to 88,002,988 gallons or about 2.8 gallons, on average, for each woman, man and child in the United States.

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