Ever wonder why US Census data may be different from one Census to the next?

+5 votes
Found a good read on why your 1870 Census doesn't correspond to your 1880 Census.  Just food for thought.


Update to post.

Sorry I wasn't clear.  This is more of an informative post.  Read the link.  It helps to explain why there can be a difference, sometimes a gross error, in Census data.
asked in The Tree House by L J Russell G2G6 Pilot (105k points)
edited by L J Russell

1 Answer

+3 votes
It depends on who was home to talk to the census taker and how good their memory was as far as birth year and location and so forth were concerned.

It also depends on what time of year each census was taken as to whether it was before or after and individual's birthday.
answered by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (1.8m points)
Sorry, I wasn't clear.  I didn't say why "I" wondered about the difference, I stated "your".  This was meant to be an informative question.

Please read the link.  It explains why there can be differences in the census data.  It is really informative and expounds on the point you made.

Thanks though for your reply.
The article provided a lot of good insight into the process and how things could go wrong.  But I have to agree that a big source of bad info was the person responding. He or she may have been misinformed or uninformed.  I suspect that some of my ancestors were less than truthful in their responses.  It's human beings interacting with their government.
Oh yeah, our ancestors may not have been all that truthful  Had one great aunt that the older she got, the more years were shaved of her age.  Had she lived another 100 years, she would have returned to childhood.  LOL

Didn't mean this was the definitive answer, just one of a myriad of possibilities.

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