Find your ancestors in Search the 1840 US Census

1840 US Census 6th United States Census

Information requested for the 1840 Census

  • Name of the head of the family head / head of household
  • Number of free white males and females broken down into age categories.
  • Number of slaves and free colored persons in six age groups
  • Number of deaf and dumb
  • Number of blind
  • Number of insane and idiotic in public or private charge
  • Number of persons in each family employed in seven classes of occupation
  • Number of schools and number of scholars
  • Number of white persons over 20 who could not read and write
  • Number of pensioners for Revolutionary or military service

What was lost from the 1840 Census?

1840 marked the first year for no major losses of the US census records.

1840 Census Quick Facts

  • Of the 17,063,353 people living in the United States in 1840, 2,487,355 were slaves.
  • It took $833,000, approximately 1,465 enumerators and 1,465 published reports to complete the 1840 census
  • The US population increased by 32.7 percent from the 1830 census to the 1840 census.
  • Political debates arose after the 1840 census was published because of the percentage of “insane negroes” seemed to increase the further North one went and reaching very large numbers in Massachusetts and Maine. Slavery supporters used this as a reason to not abolish slavery. These statistics were later revealed to be false.

Historical Events Surrounding 1840 Census

  • Ireland’s "Potato Famine" forces large numbers of Irish immigrants to come United States beginning in 1845.
  • Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the first woman to be awarded a medical degree on January 23, 1849.
  • Frederick Douglass publishes Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave in 1845.