A New Census.
Returns Will be More Complete Than Ever Before.

In accordance with a statutory provision for a state census each ten years Iowa will, in 1895, have a faithful accounting of all the people, resources, industries and institutions of which the state boasts. The preliminary work of the census is in the hands of Capt. Landers, secretary of the executive council, who is already sending out blanks and will send others as soon as they are received from the printers. These blanks are sent to the county auditors who in turn distribute them to the township assessors, upon whose shoulders devolve the work of collecting the census returns in connection with their regular duties.

The assessors begin their work Jan. 20 and are requested to finish by June 1. The assessors are to file their returns with the county auditors, who must make up county tables and forward them to the secretary of state by Sept. 1. The experience of 1885 was that each county auditor made up a table different from other county tables. To obviate this difficulty the assessors will send duplicate copies of their returns to the secretary, so it will not be necessary to depend on the auditor's tables. The compilation of the county returns into a state report will be made in the offices of the secretary of state as soon as possible after Sept. 1.

The census this year will be more complete than ever before, especially as relates to manufacturing industries and the value of farm and other products. The scope of the census, although covering all essential facts with regard to the state is not so broad as that of the national census. The returns will include an enumeration of inhabitants by sex, color, nationality, the percentage of illiteracy, the school statistics in detail, church and charitable statistics, statistics of private schools for higher education, crop returns for 1895 by acreage, yield and local value statistics as to land under cultivation, in meadows, forest and waste land; manufacturing and mining statistics in detail, capital invested, people employed, value of output, etc., and numerous other features.

~Davenport Daily Leader, January 6, 1895

Third State Census


The taking of the third state census, according to law began yesterday, but very few of the assessors who are to do the work of collecting facts have received their blanks. The census work of the assessors must be finished by June 1, and thereafter the tabulations will be made in the office of the secretary of state as rapidly as possible. The first state census was taken in 1875 under the supervision of Secretary of State J.T. Young and the second in 1885 under Secretary Frank D. Jackson. Secretary of State William M. McFarland will find his name on the title page of the book of statistics produced this year, and which is expected to be much more exhaustive than its predecessors. The blanks, which were prepared under the direction of Capt. Landers of Secretary McFarland's office have been sent to the various county auditors, who are requested to distribute them to the assessors. The assessors in collecting statistics will fill up two sets of blanks, one for the county auditors and one for the secretary of state. This is a slight deviation from the law which only requires one set to be left with the auditors, which officials are to transmit county summaries to the secretary of state. The system provided by law caused so much confusion that the secretary of state will this year compile his statistics from original sources.

Three of the four sets of blanks for the use of assessors have been sent out. The other for compilations will go later. The schedules in use are:

(1) "Statistic of population"

(2) Statistics of Agriculture

(3) Statistics of mining, manufacture, literature, education, and religious organizations.

In addition to the work under the above heads, certain special returns will be required, but the nature of them has not been agreed upon by the executive council. The blanks are accompanied by a letter to the assessors from the executive council of 1894, consisting of Governor Jackson, Secretary McFarland, auditor McCarthy and Treasurer Beeson. The letter reads in part as follows:

"In transmitting to you the blanks for the census of 1895, the executive council has completed the preparatory work, and the responsibility now rests with you to make it a success. We are aware of the depressed condition of many Iowa industries, especially those of the farm, owing to the excessive drouth of 1894, which will have a tendency to make a showing below the real prosperity of the state. You are urged to use every effort to procure any data asked for in the schedules, no matter how small may appear the product or its value. A small product from many a farm, mine or factory will in the aggregate make a commendable showing for the whole state.

Care should be taken to satisfy any who seems to need assurance that the information obtained is not to be made public so far as the same relates to any individual, and that the census has no relation whatever to the assessment for taxation."

~Davenport Daily Leader, January 21, 1895

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Newspaper article transcriptions: Sharyl Ferrall, former coordinator of Iowa Old Press.

Page published: 28 Oct 2008



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