Confusion about the 1860 census. What was the true population of the South?

Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Location
Texas
Hey folks, so for the longest time I was under the impressioin that in 1860 the population of the South was approximately 9 million people. 4 million slaves, and 5 million free people. How is that when I look at the aggregates in the 1860 census of the free population of the South that it comes out to well over 7 million? I am pulling from Wiki which doesn't have the best track record for source material, but they pull directly from the 1860 census, am I missing something here?

Population of U.S. states and territories[edit]​

Population of the US States and Territories[4][5][6]
RankStatePopulationFree PopulationSlave PopulationPercentage Enslaved
05Virginia1,596,3181,105,453490,86530.7
11Georgia1,057,286595,088462,19843.7
14Mississippi791,305354,674436,63155.2
13Alabama964,201529,121435,08045.1
18South Carolina703,708301,302402,40657.2
17Louisiana708,002376,276331,72646.9
12North Carolina992,622661,563331,05933.4
10Tennessee1,109,801834,082275,71924.8
09Kentucky1,155,684930,201225,48319.5
23Texas604,215421,649182,56630.2
25Arkansas435,450324,335111,11525.5
19Maryland687,049599,86087,18912.7
31Florida140,42478,67961,74544.0
XDistrict of Columbia75,08071,9853,1854.4
32Delaware112,216110,4181,7981.6

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1860_United_States_census
https://www.census.gov/library/publications/1864/dec/1860a.html
 
Last edited:

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
I know in the counties of western North Carolina that I research, the numbers are off by probably a quarter. The census takers missed 25 percent of the population.
Census takers were not paid much. There was no incentive to travel into remote mountain areas or into the expanding frontier, from Texas all the way north to Wisconsin.
It was mostly a survey of the more settled areas with a bias towards towns and plantations.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
The business part of the census was mainly a survey of big business. Numerous contractors and small businessmen could make a decent living and still fall under the $500/yr reporting requirement.
 

Pete Longstreet

Sergeant Major
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Location
Hartford, CT
I just took these pictures from a 1850 census book that I own, that was published in 1854. I know you mentioned 1860 in your post, but maybe this will help you.

20201226_130017.jpg


20201226_130056.jpg


20201226_130258.jpg
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Location
Texas
Do you guys know anything about the age demographics of the country at the time? Does this seem accurate?


Population Distribution by Age, Race, and Nativity, 1860–2010​



The following table lists the U.S. population from 1860 to 2010 according to age, race, and nativity.



Race and nativity​
Age​
White1​
Year​
Total​
Under 5​
5–19​
20–44​
45–64​
65 and
over​
Total​
Native
born​
Foreign
born​
Black​
Other
races1​
Percent distribution
18602​
100.0%​
15.4%​
35.8%​
35.7%​
10.4%​
2.7%​
85.6%​
72.6%​
13.0%​
14.1%​
0.3%​

https://www.infoplease.com/us/population/population-distribution-age-race-and-nativity-1860-2010
 
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