IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Use of Historical Census Data for Mortality and Fertility Research


  • Michael R. Haines


This paper illustrates the application of indirect techniques of fertility and mortality estimation to historical census data, both in published form and as micro census samples derived from the original enumerators' manuscripts. There are many instances in which census data exist but adequate vital registration data do not, such as in the United States prior to 1933, when the Birth and Death Registration Areas finally covered the entire nation. Since the United States has taken decennial censuses since 1790, and since all the original population schedules except those for 1890 have been preserved, it is possible to apply these indirect methods. For example, the censuses of 1900 and 1910 asked questions on children ever born, children surviving, and duration of current marriage, but this information was never tabulated or used for 1900 and only partly tabulated for 1910. The Public Use Samples of the 1900 and 1910 censuses make possible the utilization of those data to estimate levels, differentials, and even recent trends in childhood mortality. Application of own-children methods to samples of the censuses since 1850 permits estimation of age-specific overall and marital fertility rates. Finally, the use of the 1900 Public Use Sample in conjunction with published data on parity from the 1910 census (or tabulations from the 1910 Public Use Sample) allows application of the two-census, parity increment method of birth rate estimation.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael R. Haines, 1991. "The Use of Historical Census Data for Mortality and Fertility Research," NBER Historical Working Papers 0031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberhi:0031
    Note: DAE

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paul David & Thomas Mroz & Warren Sanderson & Kenneth Wachter & David Weir, 1988. "Cohort parity analysis: Statistical estimates of the extent of fertility control," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 25(2), pages 163-188, May.
    2. Wilson Grabill & Lee Cho, 1965. "Methodology for the Measurement of Current Fertility From Population Data on Young Children," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 2(1), pages 50-73, March.
    3. Atack, Jeremy & Bateman, Fred, 1992. "How Long Was the Workday in 1880?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(01), pages 129-160, March.
    4. Haines, Michael R., 1980. "Fertility and Marriage in a Nineteenth-Century Industrial City: Philadelphia, 1850–1880," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 40(01), pages 151-158, March.
    5. Michael Haines, 1979. "The use of model life tables to estimate mortality for the United States in the late nineteenth century," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 16(2), pages 289-312, May.
    6. Cho, Lee-Jay & Grabill, Wilson H., 1965. "Methodology for the measurement of current fertility from population data on young children," Series Históricas 31, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberhi:0031. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.