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A: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

The First U.S. Census is Taken

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson's copy of the first U.S. census sold at Sotheby's, New York, April 14, 2010.

The first Census of the United States was conducted on August 2, 1790. The results were used to allocate Congressional seats (congressional apportionment), electoral votes, and funding for government programs.

The federal census records for the first census are missing for five states: Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, New Jersey and Virginia. They were destroyed some time between the time of the census-taking and 1830. The census estimated the population of the United States at 3,929,214, ". . . of which 697,681 were slaves, and . . . the largest cities were New York City with 33,000 inhabitants, Philadelphia, with 28,000, Boston, with 18,000, Charleston, South Carolina, with 16,000, and Baltimore, with 13,000."

In 1791 approximately 200 copies of the census were printed by Childs and Swaine of Philadelphia as:

Return of the Whole Number of Persons with the Several Districts of the United States, According to 'An Act Providing for the Enumeration of the Inhabitants of the United States:,' Passed March the First, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Nintety-One.

♦ A copy of the original edition with the autograph signature of Thomas Jefferson sold for $122,500 in the James S. Copley sale at Sotheby's, New York, on April 14, 2010.

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