Read through the descriptions of what was published in each section.
- Was the data gathered by the census that year?
- Was the data published for very small towns, only towns over a certain population, or only at the county, or state level?
Within the descriptions, the guide will mention the lowest geographic level represented (e.g. 1,000 or more inhabitants, 10,000 to 25,000, etc.) When it doesn't mention the geographic level covered (e.g. when it doesn't say something like "for states, counties, minor civil decisions with X number of inhabitants"), it is describing a section that has more general, summary-level statistics for the nation.
Print and PDF sources of historical census tables
Note: For 1910, Social Explorer and other online databases of older census information display data only down to the county level.
PDFs of the print volumes:
The Census Bureau Census of Population and Housing page includes pdfs for many of the census years along with information about what is included.
Over the years, as the census becomes increasingly complex, it is published in various parts (i.e. Census of Manufactures, Census of Agriculture, etc.)
Print volumes in the Olin Library Stacks:
Please note: Searching the library catalog to find call numbers for the decennial census can be tricky because there are so many different census products and reports. See Print and PDF sources below for links to online pdfs, where available, and a local call number for the Census of Population.
Beginning around 1930, if you are looking for housing, manufactures, agriculture, etc., use a subject heading search: United States Census, (census number), (census year). Example: United States Census, 15th, 1930. [subject heading]. to browse through the census products available for that year.
You might also combine the subject phrase with a keyword in the Guided Keyword search, however, you will need to know what terms were used (for example, manufactures rather than manufacturing, etc.). The U.S. Bureau of the Census, Catalog of Publications (Olin Reference, Z 7554.U5 U58) can sometimes be helpful for identifying these.
See Print, Microform (and online pdfs) for Historical Census Counts in Olin Library.