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A Timeline of Official US Census Dates

By David A. Fryxell Premium

The date a census taker wrote on his form isn’t as important as the official census date: Enumerators were supposed to list individuals’ ages as of a date specified by the Census Bureau. Jan. 1 was “Census Day” for the 1920 enumeration, so someone born Feb. 12, 1909, should be recorded as 10 on the census form-even if the census taker visited in April. This magic date varied, so use this chart to sort out ancestors’ reported ages.

US Census Days

1790: Aug. 2
1800: Aug. 4
1810: Aug. 6
1820: Aug. 7
1830: June 1
1840: June 1
1850: June 1
1860: June 1
1870: June 1
1880: June 1
1890: June 1 (this was a Sunday, so census-taking began June 2)
1900: June 1
1910: April 15
1920: Jan. 1
1930: April 1 (Oct. 1, 1929 in Alaska)
1940: April 1

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