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Census Resources: Historical Resources

Last Updated: Jan 8, 2024 3:41 PM

Historical Resources

General Information

Lockwood Library has copies of selected historical publications in paper and microform format. Search the Library's Catalog as call numbers vary.  Lockwood Library's Reference Department has selected publications dealing with New York State counts from 1900 through the present.  You may also browse the HA 201 call number section for additional sources.


Bibliography of American Demographic History: the Literature from 1984 to 1994
Lockwood Reference HB 3505 G432 1995

Historical Statistics of the South, 1790-1970; A Compilation of State-Level Census Statistics For the Sixteen States of Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia (University of Alabama Press)
Lockwood Reference HA218 .D63

Historical Statistics of the States of the United States: Two Centuries of the Census, 1790-1990 (Greenwood Press)
Lockwood Reference HA214 .H57 1993
Covers population, agriculture, and manufacturing.

Population Information in Nineteenth Century Census Volumes
Lockwood Reference HA 201 S44 1983

Population Information in Twentieth Century Census Volumes, 1900 to 1940
Lockwood Reference HA 201 S45 1985

Population Information in Twentieth Century Census Volumes, 1950 to 1980
Lockwood Reference HA 201 S46 1988

Retrospective Bibliography of American Demographic History from Colonial Times to 1983 (Greenwood Press)
Lockwood Reference HB 3505 G43 1989
Presents useful references for studying ethnicity, immigration, and family patterns. An updated volume covers 1984-1994.

United States Census Publications, 1820-1945 (Exclusive of Decennial Census Publications) (Greenwood Press)
Lockwood Library Microform  MicFiche HA195 .U5 1972
Microfiche accession numbers correspond to those in Bureau of the Census Catalog of Publications.

Measuring America: The Decennial Censuses From 1790 to 2000
Census Bureau publication detailing the evolution of the decennial Census.

Statistical Abstract of the United States

Demographic and Housing


Data Sources

Federal Population Census Rolls (Microform Collection)

The Federal Population Census Rolls reproduce the names and details of individuals as recorded at the time of the census.

The Libraries have the following rolls for Erie County:

  • 1820 (reel 114, as part of Niagara County)

  • 1830 (reel 114)

  • 1840 (reel 90)

  • 1850 (reels 189-192)

  • 1860 (reels 166-167)

  • 1870 (reels 133-135)

  • 1880 (reels 826-832)

  • 1900 (reels 1024-1034, 1210)

  • 1910 (reels 35, 938-948)

  • 1920 (reels 1099-1111)

Use the Bibliography and Reel Index : A Guide to the Microfilm Edition of United States Decennial Census Publications, 1790-1970 , to identify reel and title numbers. UB has 1790-1950  (Lockwood Reference HA195 .R47 1975).  Another copy located in Lockwood Library General Collection.  UB has 1790-1950

CensusCD Neighborhood Change Database (NCDB) (GeoLytics, Inc.)

Reproduces and maps census tract data from 1970 to 2000. Census tracts are generally comparable to neighborhoods. Although intended to be stable, tract boundaries sometimes change depending upon population shifts. NCDB includes 2 types of tract boundaries, those existing during each census and those "normalized' to the 2000 census. That is, the publisher provides data for 1970, 1980, and 1990 based upon 2000 boundaries, enabling users to compare geographies that are as identical as possible. Silverman Multimedia Audio Visual Collection   CD-ROM 51980: HA181 .C462 2001

Historical Statistics of the United States Millennial Edition Online (Cambridge University Press)
Topics cover population characteristics (92 tables); vital statistics; domestic and international migration; family and household composition; Native Americans; and cohorts-groups sharing common characteristics.

Social Explorer (Oxford University Press)
Provides statistics and thematic maps for census data for the nation, states, and counties, from 1790 to date, and the same for census tract information from 1940 to date.    Social Explorer also includes selected information collected by the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA).

Vital Statistics of the United States (VSUS) (US Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)  (1890-)
Lockwood Documents US HE 20 6210: (1971-1993)
Lockwood Documents US FS 2.112: (1946-1969)
Lockwood Documents US C 3.139: (1937-1940)
Reproduces birth and death statistics at national and selected local

Decennial Census Publications
Full volumes of decennial publications produced by the Census Bureau from 1790 - 2010.


Subject Index to the 1980 Census of Population and Housing

Lockwood Reference HA 201 .F3 1980  (Another copy in Lockwood Library General Collection)
The most comprehensive index to the 1980 Census.

Subject Index to the 1990 Census of Population and Housing (Epoch Books)

Lockwood HA201 1990 L385 (stacks and Reference)
Arch/Plan Reference HA201 1990 .F3 1997
Part 1 covers the Table Finding Guides in the printed volumes, and part 2 covers Summary Tape File (STF 1) and STF 3 CD-ROMS.


Economic Censuses

Census of Agriculture (U.S. Department of Agriculture. National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)  NASS conducts the Census of Agriculture every 5 years ending with 2 and 7 (e.g., 2002, 2007). Organization of data are by states and counties.  

Census of Business
Included parts of what became the Censuses of Wholesale Trade, Retail Trade, and Service Industries.
1933 and 1935 (Lockwood Documents C3.120/1:)
1939 (Lockwood Documents US C3.940-5:B96 1939)
1930, 1948, 1954, 1958, 1963, and 1967 (Lockwood Documents US C3.202/5:)

Census of Construction Industries
Covers establishments engaging in construction of new homes and other buildings; heavy construction, such as highways; and special trades, such as plumbing and electrical work. Construction undertaken by homeowners or by non-construction businesses are excluded. Selected data cover metropolitan areas, but most statistics deal with the nation and states. See Construction: Guide to Data Sources from the US Census Bureau  for additional information.
1930 (Lockwood Documents US C3.202/5:)
1967, 1977, 1982, 1987, and 1992 (Lockwood Documents C3.245

Census of Financial, Insurance, and Real Estate Industries
Covers establishments providing financial, insurance, and real estate services. These data are available for the first time in 1992. Statistics deal with the nation, states, and metropolitan areas. Example: establishments offer accounting and insurance services to other companies
1992 (Lockwood Documents US C3.291:)

Census of Governments (U.S. Census Bureau. Governments Division)   The Census Bureau conducts the Census of Governments every 5 years ending with 2 and 7 (e.g., 2002, 2007). Selected topics cover government organization; public employment and payrolls; finances; public employee retirement systems; tax collections; expenditures of state and local governments, and school districts

Census of Manufactures  Covers establishments that mechanically or chemically transform materials or substances into new products. Information is for the nation, states, metropolitan areas, counties, places, and zip codes. Example: the food processing industry transforms fresh fruit into the canned product. Data for the fruit itself, the raw material, are part of the Census of Agriculture.     1927, 1929, 1931, 1933, 1939, 1947, 1954, 1958, 1963, 1967, 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987, and 1992 (Lockwood Documents US C3.24).

Census of Mineral Industries
Covers establishments that extract minerals, prepare them on site as necessary, and explore and develop mineral properties. Statistics are for the nation, states, and counties. Example: mining establishments dig for tin from which cans are manufactured.
1963, 1967, 1977, 1982, 1987, and 1992 (Lockwood Documents US C3.216)
1972 (Lockwood Documents US C56.236/6:)

Census of Retail Trade (Lockwood Documents US C3.255)
Covers retail establishments that sell merchandise for personal or household consumption. Coverage is for the nation, states, metropolitan areas, counties, and places of greater than 2,500 population. Example: covers sales of department stores. However, as with retail trade, we cannot determine how many shirts department stores sold. The data measure sales of all products in department stores. The basis of these data are types of establishments, not products.
1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, and 1997 (Lockwood Documents US C3.227/2:)
1972 (Lockwood Documents US C56.251/6:)

Census of Service Industries
Includes establishments providing services for individuals, businesses, governments, and other organizations. Information covers the nation, states, metropolitan areas, counties, and places. Example: establishments offering recreation and amusement services.
1977 (paper and MicFiche), 1982, 1987, and 1992 (Lockwood Documents US C3.257:)
1972 (Lockwood Documents US C56.253/5:)

Census of Transportation, Communications, and Utilities
Traditionally covers trucking, warehousing, water transportation, transportation services, and truck inventory and use. For the first time, the 1992 Census includes communications, electric and gas utilities, sanitary services, buses,airlines, and pipeline transportation. Data are for the nation, states, and metropolitan areas. Example: food warehouses and shipping food to supermarkets and restaurants. 1963, 1967, 1977 (MicFiche), 1982, and 1987 (Lockwood Documents US C3.233/5:)

Census of Transportation and Warehousing
1992 (Lockwood Documents C3.292:)
1997 (Lockwood Documents C3.277:)

Census of Transportation, Communications, and Utilities
1992 (Lockwood Documents C3.292:)

Census of Transportation. Truck Inventory and Use Survey
1977, 1982, 1987, and 1992 (Lockwood Documents C3.233/5:)
1972 ( Lockwood Documents C56.246/3:)Census of Wholesale Trade  Covers establishments that sell to retailers; to commercial, industrial, farm, and institutional users; and to other wholesalers. Information covers the nation, states, metropolitan areas, counties, and places of greater than 2,500 population. Example: wholesalers sell tin cans made by metal manufacturers to the food processing industry. They also sell canned products supermarkets and restaurants.1972 (Lockwood Documents US C56.252/5:)
1977, 1982, 1987, 1992 (Lockwood Documents US C3.256/2:)
1997 (Lockwood Documents US C3.277/2).

Enterprise Statistics
Regroups establishment-based data to show characteristics of owning or controlling firms.
1958, 1963, 1967, 1972, and 1987, (Lockwood Documents US C3.230:)
1977 and 1992 ( Capen Multimedia Center US MicFiche C3.230:)

Minority and Women Owned Business
Describes characteristics of businesses owned by Blacks, Hispanics, Asian Americans, American Indians, other minorities, and women.

1972 (Lockwood Documents C56.260:)

1977 and 1987 (Lockwood Documents C3.258:)

1977 1982, and 1992 Capen Multimedia Center US MicFiche c3.258:)

1997 (Lockwood Documents C3.277/3



Geography and Maps

CensusCD 1980 (Geolytics, Inc)
Silverman Multimedia Audio Visual Collection  CD-ROM HA214 .C45 1999
Reproduces 1980 census data and maps for the nation, states, counties, cities, towns, villages, and census tracts. Topics cover demographic and socioeconomic issues. Selected examples include age; race; labor force and income; education; and migration.

CensusCD+Maps (Geolytics, Inc)
Arch/Plan AV Collection CD-ROM HA201 1990 .C462 1999
Silverman Multimedia Audio Visual Collection  CD-ROM 5191: HA201 1990 .C42
Reproduces 1990 census data and maps for the nation, states, counties, cities, towns, villages, and census tracts. Topics cover demographic and socioeconomic issues. Selected examples include age; race; labor force and income; education; and migration.

Geographic Products: Earlier Censuses of Population and Housing

2000 Block Maps (US. Census Bureau)
Reproduces block maps for the entire nation in PDF format.

2000 Tract Maps (US. Census Bureau))
Reproduces tract maps for the entire nation in PDF format.

Census Atlas of the United States (US. Census Bureau)
Reproduces approximately 800 maps most of which cover the 2000 census. Nearly 150 maps pertain to historical data. Topics deal with population distribution; race and hispanic origin; age; sex; living arrangements; place of birth, citizenship, and ancestry; migration; language; education; income and poverty; and housing. Information includes text and charts, as well as maps.

Erie and Niagara Counties, New York : An Index to Census 2000 Block Maps compiled by Giann A. Palachuvattil, student, School of Library and Information Studies, University at Buffalo.
An index to the 2000 Erie and Niagara County block maps. Organization is by tract numbers and by names of places and MCDs. Lockwood Reference G3803.E6E25 2000 .P34

Erie and Niagara counties, New York:  an Index to the 1990 Census of Population and Housing Block Maps.  Lockwood Library Reference  G 3803 .E6E25 1990 .W44'

Erie and Niagara County Block Maps (2000 Census of Population and Housing) (US. Census Bureau)
Located in Lockwood Library Reference Department outside the Reference Office.
Lockwood Library's Reference Department has large printed reference copies of block maps for Erie and Niagara Counties used with the 2000 Census.

National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS) (University of Minnesota. Population Center)
Download state and county boundary files covering 1790-2015, and census tract boundary files covering 1940-2010 for use with GIS software. Intended users are those experienced with or seriously learning GIS packages. People who need an occasional map, but are uninterested in learning GIS systems, should use Social Explorer. NHGIS also offers statistical data for the censuses of 1790-2010.

Social Explorer - demographic information about the United States including historical data back to 1940.

US Census Bureau Maps and Cartographic Resources
Links connect to geographic products suitable for both novice and more advanced data users. Options cover new developments; "Map Products" covers outline maps in PDF format, and "Boundary Files" includes data for use with GIS packages. Other choices lead to online mapping sites and related Web pages.



Featured Resources

The National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS) provides access to historical statistics for census tracts.Provides selected population statistics for states and counties from 1790-2015

Resource Highlight


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Carolyn Klotzbach-Russell
422 Lockwood Library, North Campus
(716) 645-9178