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Census Resources

Are you interested in "newer" material (1990-present) or historical material? Most 1990-present information is listed immediatley below; historical material is listed a bit farther down the page. These resources are a mixture of print, microfilm, and electronic that are available at NMU and the WWW.


The U.S. Census Bureau, more specifically their American Fact Finder, is the starting point for data about people in the United States. Information ranges from the easy Fact Sheets of locales down to very detailed block and tract level data for your neighborhood.

The Census has a pretty complete A-Z list of topics available from their website. Within each topic selected from that list, data and reports will be available in most cases.

Are you looking for only Michigan numbers? Often, answers about Michigan can be found at these websites. The Census Bureau's State & County QuickFacts Michigan page has the 2010 numbers (and later estimates).

Historical (with many links to present data)

For the detailed, personal information about individuals (address, occupation, place of birth, ancestry, etc), please refer to the census rolls, or schedules. The library has microfilm copies of these for Michigan dating from 1820-1880 and 1900-1930 (the call number is HA 201 YEAR). These are arranged by year of census and county name. This same information (for the nation as well as Michigan) can be found in the Heritage Quest Online database courtesy of the Michigan Electronic Library.

The 1884-1894 Michigan State Census is available from the SeekingMichigan website.

The National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS) provides, free of charge, aggregate census data and GIS-compatible boundary files for the United States between 1790 and 2010.

We have print copies from 1900-present on the Census Shelves in the Government Documents area (the right side of this map; a bit hard to see) (organized alphabetically by subject and then year), and from 1790-1960 in microfilm (call number HA 201 YEAR).

Subject: Year
Agriculture: 1950, 1964-present. Links to current and historical data are avaialble form the Census Bureau.
Business: 1933-1967 (became the Economic Census in 1967)
Construction: 1967-1992 (included now with the Economic Census; publications can be found here)
County Business Patterns 1962-1997 (most current data is here)
Economic: 1967-present (most current data is here)
Governments: 1957-1992 (online from 1992)
Housing: 1970-1990 (2000 data and beyond at this link).
Manufacturers: 1923-1990 (publications can be found here)
Mineral Industries: 1940-1992 (1992-2002 data can be found at this link, recent data can be found in the Economic Census off the Manufacturing & Costruction page)
Population: 1900-1990 (1990 onward available from the American FactFinder)
Population & Housing: 1960-present (see American FactFinder for current data)
Retail Trade: 1972-1992 (available now in the Economic Census)
Service: 1972-1992 (available now in the Economic Census)
Transportation: 1963-1992 (available here in several topics)
Wholesale Trade: 1972-1992 (available now in the Economic Census)

Some of the above publications (back as far as 1790) have been digitized as .pdfs and are available for download from the University of Michigan or the Census Bureau. The links are embedded within the excel files under the "UMich Inventory" hotlink. They also have a very good webpage of Census resources.

The NMU Archives has the following Indian census rolls on microfilm. These are only viewable in the Archives:

1. Bay Mills School (Chippewa Indians), 1909- 1911, 1913- 1915, Birch Cooley Agency (Mdewakanton, Sioux Indians), 1891- 1893, 1895- 1898, Bishop Agency (Paiute and Other Indians) 1916- 1926.
2. Great Lakes (Chippewa and Potawatomi Indians) 1936, 1937.
3. Great Lakes (Chippewa and Potawatomi Indians) 1938- 1940.
4. Mackinac (Chippewa Indians) 1902, 1903, 1910, 1915- 1927.
5. Consolidated Chippewa, 1923.
6. Consolidated Chippewa, 1924.
7. Consolidated Chippewa, 1925.
8. Consolidated Chippewa, 1926.
9. Consolidated Chippewa, 1927.
10. Consolidated Chippewa, 1928.
11. Consolidated Chippewa (White Earth Subagency), 1929.
12. Consolidated Chippewa (Fon du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, and Nett Lake (Bois Forte) Subagencies) 1929.
13. Consolidated Chippewa (White Earth Reservation) (1930).
14. Consolidated Chippewa (Bois Forte (Nett Lake) Cass and Winnigigoshish, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Mille Lac and White Oak Point Reservations) 1930.
15. Chippewa Indians 1910- 1927.
16. Lac du Flambeau, Bad River and Red Cliff Chippewa Indians and Potawatomi Indians 1928- 1930.
17. Lac du Flambeau, Bad River and Red Cliff Chippewa Indians and Potawatomi Indians 1931- 1932 (with birth and death rolls, 1924- 1932).
18. Lac du Flambeau, Bad River, La Courte Oreilles and Red Cliff Chippewa Indians and Potawatomi Indians 1933- 1935.

The difficulty in obtaining accurate population counts of Native Americans over the years in the Census (and other counts) is such that The National Archives has created a lengthy webpage explaining it. A good article to read posted on that webpage is Native Americans and the Census, 1860-1890 by James P. Collins.

Additional statistical data on population (as well as other subjects listed here) can be found in the Statistics portion of the library's Electronic Reference Sources webpage.

Publications about the Census.

Measuring America: the decennial censuses from 1790 to 2000. Includes questionnaires and instructions and histories of each census. In Government Documents (C 3.2:M 46/2) and online. A shorter read (at only 13 pages) is Factfinder for the Nation: History and Organization.

200 years of U.S. Census taking: population and housing questions, 1790-1990. An older edition of the book mentioned above. Also in Government Documents (C 3.2:T 93)

Decennial census overview of historical census issues. A 1998 publication (but still relevant) from the Government Accountability Office.

The U.S. Census has a good online history page. The tabbed menu at the top of that page includes "Through the Decades", which as the title indicates, a section on each Census from 1790, and "Programs", which explains the different kinds of Censuses taken: Agriculture, Economic, and Governments.


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