Explore the 1840 United States census and find out more about your ancestors.
1840 US Census Date: * June 1, 1840 (All reported data is “as of” this official date chosen by the census agency)
1840 Census Duration: * 18 months
1840 US Census Population: * 17,069,453
President During 1840 Census: * Martin Van Buren
31 States participated. New States in 1840 census: Arkansas and Michigan. Participating territories: Iowa Territory, Wisconsin Territory and Florida Territory.
1840 Census Data: 6th United States Census
Of the 17,063,353 people living in the United States in 1840, 2,487,355 were slaves.
It took $833,000, approximately 1,465 enumerators and 1,465 published reports to complete the 1840 census.
The US population increased by 32.7 percent from the 1830 census to the 1840 census.
Information requested for the 1840 US Census
Name of the head of the family head / head of household
Number of free white males and females broken down into age categories.
Number of slaves and free colored persons in six age groups
Number of deaf and dumb
Number of blind
Number of insane and idiotic in public or private charge
Number of persons in each family employed in seven classes of occupation
Number of schools and number of scholars
Number of white persons over 20 who could not read and write
Number of pensioners for Revolutionary or military service
1840 marked the first year for no major losses of the US census records.
Famous people in history: Samuel Morse
In 1849, inventor Samuel Morse was granted the patent for the telegraph, which transformed long-distance communication. Morse was born in 1791 in Charlestown, Massachusetts, well after the first invention of a 26-wire telegraph by German engineers. However, he improved upon the original telegraph design with the help of partners Leonard Gale and Alfred Vail.
Morse sent the first inter-city message on May 11, 1844 from Washington D.C. to Baltimore on a wire funded by the US Congress. By 1866, the first trans-Atlantic cable was built from the US to Europe. The standard Morse code system uses dots and dashes to represent letters in the English language and the ten digits.
Historical Events Surrounding 1840 US Census
Ireland’s "Potato Famine" forces large numbers of Irish immigrants to come United States beginning in 1845.
Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the first woman to be awarded a medical degree on January 23, 1849.
Frederick Douglass publishes Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave in 1845.