Reading-Anderson+-+1988+-+American+Census+Intro+and+Ch+1

Reading-Anderson+-+1988+-+American+Census+Intro+and+Ch+1 -...

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Unformatted text preview: MARGO J. A N D E R S O N The American Census: A Social History YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS NEW HAVEN AND LONDON PROPERTY OF RUTGERS UNIV: CONTENTS List of Illustrations ix Acknowledgments xi List of Abbreviations xiii Introduction 1 L The Census and the New Nation: 7 Apportionment, Congress, and the Progress of the United States 2. Sectional Crisis and Census Reform in 32 the 1850s 3. Counting Slaves and Freed Blacks: 58 War and Reconstruction by the Numbers 4. The Census and Industrial America in 83 the Gilded Age 5. Building the Federal Statistical System 116 in the EarlyTwentieth Century 6. The Tribal Twenties Revisited: 131 National Origins, Malapportionment, and Cheating by the Numbers 7. Counting the Unemployed and the 159 Crisis of the Great Depression 8. The High-Tech Census and the 191 Growth of the Welfare State 9. The 1980 Census and the Politics of 213 Counting Conclusion 236 Appendix: Census Costs, Population 241 and Apportionment Data, 1790 to 1980 Bibliographic Essay 247 Index 251 Introduction During a congressional committee hearing in the late 1960s, as a Census Bureau official told it, a congressman was questioning statisti- cians from the bureau about the projected scope and costs of the 1970 census. The tenor of his questions was highly critical. Why did the bureau need to ask so many questions? Did not the projected ques- tions constitute an invasion of individual privacy by the government? And why did the census cost so much? Bureau officials responded patiently to each question, although it was clear that the congressman was unconvinced. Why did the federal government have to get so involved in collecting statistics in the first place, the congressman asked. After all, he continued, whenever he needed statistical information, he just went and looked it up in an almanac:. I Census officials told this story to illustrate the enormous ignorance they felt they faced when they tried to explain to the general public what they did, why they did it, and how important their work was. Census data are taken for granted. They seem to most of us given, obvious, uncontroversialpart of the background information we all absorb in our everyday lives. It does not occur to us to question where the almanac gets its information. And yet the census officials knew that taking the decennial censusor many of our other modern statistical surveysis an enormous organizational, intellectual, and financial exercise. One one level it is the simplest of effortsa count- ing of noses, a headcountnecessary for the apportionment of the Congress and state legislatures. On another, it is a most complex exercise, involving the collection of many bits of information on among other thingsfamilies, households, housing, consumer pat- 1.William Petersen related this story in "The Protection of Privacy and the United States Census," in Censuses, Surveys, and Privacy, ed. Martin Bulmer (London: Mac- millan, 1979), p. 273. 2 INTRODUCTION terns, work, mobility, race, and ethnicity. All this information is pub-terns, work, mobility, race, and ethnicity....
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Reading-Anderson+-+1988+-+American+Census+Intro+and+Ch+1 -...

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