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CENSUS

Then, on that night, the enumerator, reinforced if necessary by aid drafted from outside, revisits his beat, and brings the record up to date by striking out the absent and entering the new arrivals. The average extent of each beat is arranged to include about 300 persons. Thus, in 1901, not far from a million men were required for enumeration alone. To this army must be added the controlling agency, of at least a tenth of the above number, charged with the instruction of their subordinates, the inspection and correction of the preliminary record, and the transmission of the schedule books to the local centre after the census has been taken. The supply of agency for these duties is, fortunately, not deficient. Irrespective of the large number of clerks, village scribes and state and municipal employés which can be drawn upon with but slight interruption of official routine, there is a fair supply of casual literary labour up to the moderate standard required. The services, too, of the educated public are often voluntarily placed at the disposal of the local authorities for the census night, with no desire for remuneration beyond out-of-pocket expenses, and the addition, perhaps, of a personal letter of thanks from the chief official of the district. By means of a well-organized chain of tabulating centres, the preliminary totals, by sexes, of the 294 millions enumerated in 1901 were given to the public within a fortnight of the census, and differed from the final results by no more than 94,000, or .03%. The schedule adopted contains in addition to the standard subjects of sex, age, civil condition, birthplace, occupation and infirmities, columns for mother-tongue, religion and sect, and caste and sub-caste. It is printed in about 20 languages. The results for each province or large state are tabulated locally, by districts or linguistic divisions. The final compilation is done by a provincial superintendent, who prepares his own report upon the operations and results. This work has usually an interest not found in corresponding reports elsewhere, in the prominent place necessarily occupied in it by the ethnographical variety of the population.

Foreign Countries

Inquiries by local officials in connexion with measures of taxation, such as the hearth-tax in France, were instituted in continental Europe as early as the 14th century; but as the basis of an estimate of population they were intrinsically untrustworthy. Going outside Europe, an extreme instance of the results of combining a census with more definite administrative objects may be found in the census of China in 1711, when the population enumerated in connexion with a poll-tax and liability to military service, was returned as 28 millions; but forty years later, when the question was that of the measures for the relief of widespread distress, the corresponding total rose to 103 millions! The notion of obtaining a periodical record of population and its movement, dissociated from fiscal or other liabilities, originated, as stated above, in Sweden, where, in 1686, the birth and death registers, till then kept voluntarily by the parish clergy, were made compulsory and general, the results for each year being communicated to a central office. A census, as a special undertaking, was not, however, carried out in that country until 1749. The example of Sweden was followed in the next year by Finland, and twenty years later, by Norway, where the parish register was an existing institution, as in the neighbouring state. Several other countries followed suit in the course of the 18th century, though the results were either partial or inaccurate. Amongst them was Spain, though here a trustworthy census was not obtained until 1857, or perhaps 1887. Some of the small states of Italy, too, recorded their population in the middle of the above century, but the first general census of that country took place in 1861, after its unification. In Austria, a census was taken in 1754 by the parish clergy, concurrently with the civil authorities and the military commandants. Hungary was in part enumerated thirty years later. The starting-point of the modern census, however, in either part of the dual monarchy, was not until 1857. Speaking generally, most of the principal countries began the current series of their censuses between 1825 and 1860. The German empire has taken its census quinquennially since its foundation, but long before 1871 a census at short intervals used to be taken in all the states of the Zollverein, for the purpose of ascertaining the contribution to the federal revenue, the amount of which was revisable every three years. The last great country to enter the census field was Russia. From 1721, what are known as revisions of the population were periodically carried out, for military, fiscal and police purposes; but these were conducted by local officials without central direction or systematic organization. In 1897 a general census was taken as synchronously throughout the empire as was found possible. It embraced a population second to that of India alone, as China, probably the most populous country in the world, has not yet been subjected to this test. The inquiry was made in great detail, under central control, and on a plan sufficiently elastic to suit the requirements of so varied a country and population. As in India, the schedules had to be issued in an unusual number of languages, and were dealt with locally in the earlier stages of tabulation. The principal regions of which the population is still a matter of mere conjecture are the Turkish empire, Persia, Afghanistan, China and the Indo-Chinese peninsula, in Asia, nearly nine-tenths of Africa, and a considerable portion of South America.  (J. A. B.) 

United States

Modern census-taking seems to have originated in the United States. Professor von Mayr declares in a recent and authoritative work, “It was no European state, but the United States of America that made a beginning of census-taking in the large and true sense of that word,” and Professor H. Wagner, writing of the censuses of Sweden, said to have been taken in the 18th century, uses these words, “Since 1749 careful parish registers have been kept by the clergy and have in general the value of censuses.” The same authority, although mentioning a reported census of Norway in 1769, indicates his conviction that the first real census of that country was in 1815. Sweden, Norway and the United States are the only countries with any claim to have taken the first modern census, as distinguished from a register of tax-payers, &c., the lineal descendant of the old Roman census, and the innovation seems to be due to the United States. If so, the first modern census was the American census of 1790. At the present date more than three-fifths of the estimated population of the world has been enumerated in this way. It is of interest accordingly to note how and why the device originated.

The Federal census, which began in 1790 and has been taken every ten years since under a mandate contained in the Constitution of the United States, was the outgrowth of a controversy in the convention which prepared the document. Representatives of the smaller states as a rule claimed that the vote, and so the influence, of the states in the proposed government should be equal. Representatives of the larger states as a rule claimed that their greater population and wealth were entitled to recognition. The controversy ended in the creation of a bicameral legislature in the lower branch of which the claim of the larger states found recognition, while in the upper, the Senate, each state had two votes. In the House of Representatives seats were to be distributed in proportion to the population, and the convention, foreseeing rapid changes of population, ordained an enumeration of the inhabitants and a redistribution or reapportionment of seats in the House of Representatives every ten years.

The provision of the Constitution on the subject is as follows:— “Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this Union according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other persons. The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct.”

In 1790 the population was reported classed as slaves and free, the free classed as white and others, the free whites as males and females, and the free white males as under or above sixteen