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The History of The Population
of the United States



US Population Timeline

Links to Population Sites



US Population Timeline

First English settlement: Roanoke, Va 1785
Jamestown in 1607
1600-1619:         est. 210
Pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock in 1620
1620-1629:        est. 2499
1,000 Puritans arrive in Massachusetts in 1630
1630-1639:        est. 5700
Within 10 years, 20,000 Puritans arrive in Massachusetts
1640-1649:     est. 27,947
1650-1659:     est. 51,700
1660-1669:     est. 84,800
1670-1679:    est. 114,500
1680-1689:    est. 155,600
1690-1699:    est. 213,500
1700-1709:    est. 275,000
1710-1719:    est. 357,500
1720-1729:    est. 474,388
1730-1739:    est. 654,950
1740-1749:    est. 889,000
1750-1759:  est. 1,207,000
1760-1769:  est. 1,610,000
The Revolution
1770-1779:  est. 2,205,000
1780-1789:  est. 2,781,000

1790 Census:  3,894,000

1800 Census:   5,309,000

1810 Census:   7,239,000

1820 Census:   9,638,453

1830 Census: 12,866,000

1840 Census: 17,069,453

1850 Census: 23,191,867
Potato famine immigrants 1846-1856
1860 Census: 31,443,321

1870 Census: ??..........??

1880 Census: 50,156,000

1890 Census: 62,948,000

1900 Census: 75,995,000
......
......
1980 Census: 226 Million

1990 Census: 248 Million

1997 Est: 267 Million


Although Roanoke, Jamestown, and the Plymouth Colonies preceded the Puritans, the Puritan immigration was the first "en masse" immigration to the America's. It was spearheaded by Winthrop's Fleet in 1630 of 1,000 souls. The population of the other settlements in America probably didn't exceed 2,500 souls before they landed. Two hundred people died the first winter, two hundred gave up and went back to England the next spring. In the next 10 years, 20,000 Englishmen immigrated to Massachusetts, primarily fueled by the Puritan exodus.

Encarta Encyclopedia tells us: "In 1700 the population was about 250,000; seven decades later there were about 2,500,000 inhabitants, a tenfold increase. This phenomenal growth was a prerequisite for a successful independence movement. In 1700 there were 20 people in Britain for every American colonist; by 1775 this ratio had fallen to 3 to 1." "American Revolution," Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 98 Encyclopedia. (c) 1993-1997 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. (Note: In a current day comparison, the population of Wichita, Kansas, approximates 250,000; while the population of Kansas City approximates 2,500,000.)

Note: The single largest immigration of people to the United States was the Irish immigration due to the potato famine in the ten year period from 1846-1856. There were an estimated 2 million Irish immigrants during this period. Note the population of the U.S. in 1850 was 23,191,867, thus accounting for a 10% increase in the country's population in ten years from immigration alone.

Source for dates before 1790:  The Encyclopedia of American Facts and Dates



Links
Population of the World, from beginning, at US Census Site.

Links to sites about populations - Population links from US Census Bureau

Links - Six Billion and Beyond - Links to population sites from PBS.

Source for dates 1800 and later: The Westward Expansion time-line history on the US Parks web site.

A "slide show" map of the US - with census states in a different color than territories, showing territories and when they became states.
 

For clues to look for while performing your census work, see the Clues in Census Records Page.

Read the story of the fire that destroyed the 1890 census.



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Copyright, Norris Taylor, 2000