Is the enumeration date when data was collected for the census?

+5 votes
Is the date of enumeration the same as when the data was collected in the field or is the date a supervisor edits/ verifies their work? I am wondering if I can use the date to narrow down infant births with fractional ages or to verify where an individual was and their personal relationships at that specific date.
asked in Policy and Style by Ron Moore G2G6 Mach 1 (13.3k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
Thank you for asking this question! I just ran into this scenario last night..A census enumerated 26 Sept 1960 with a missing child born 19 Nov 1859. It is making me doubt the times I know I've estimated birth years using those fractional dates.

3 Answers

+4 votes
Best answer
It is neither the date of collection (in most cases) nor the date of edit/verification.

Because it is practically impossible to count all the people on a single day, the enumeration date is used as an "as of" date, meaning no matter when the census data is recorded, it was supposed to be "as of" a certain date. For example, the 1920 U.S. Census enumeration date was January 1, 1920 meaning the information on the forms was theoretically as of that date; however, there is no certainty that every census taker adhered to this rule.
answered by JT Strong G2G6 Mach 6 (60.5k points)
selected by Ron Moore
+4 votes
My understanding is the enumeration date is the night on which the Census is taken, and reflects the people staying in the household.

In England & Wales in 1851 for instance, the enumeration date was 31 March, the Census reflecting the night of 31 March -1 April
answered by R W G2G6 Pilot (257k points)
+1 vote
If one looks at a census in the United States, one will see that the census is "as of" a certain date, for example 1 June 1850. That is the date on which the abode of the individual is based. At the top of the census form you will see a line, e.g., "enumerated by me on the 1st day of October 1850" and the census takers name. So the enumeration date is the date people were actually counted, but as of the date of the census, 1 June 1850.

The enumeration date should not be used to determine a person's residence or whether or not they are living. The "as of" is the date one should use for that.
answered by Shirley Dalton G2G6 Pilot (409k points)

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