Login | Register
Member List | Publish
Heritage Education Blog Home


Teachers and community members can help young community members explore and contribute to their cultural heritage by arranging learning expeditions that include the ALERT processes.

The Heritage Project is an educational initiative that began as a partnership between the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, the Montana Historical Society, and the Montana Office of Public Instruction. Teachers work with these cultural agencies and with their communities to conduct learning expeditions that explore large and enduring questions through the medium of local knowledge.

Most recent entries


Table of Contents

Organized by Topics



ALERT Processes

Ask  Listen  Explore  Reflect  Teach

TeacherLore | Heritage Online (Student Writing) |

Using Census Data in the Classroom

The U.S. population census records contain a wealth of information about people. The federal manuscript (population) census records are the actual handwritten names of individuals. These records provide in depth data for each individual in a census tract.

The census records are an especially helpful source for someone writing community history and for someone interested in the local social and economic conditions.

Some basic analysis of the data can help bring life in your town in 1910 into sharper focus. Students can use the document to answer the following:

What was the average age and range of ages of residents?
Compare the percentage of residents that were male or female.
What percentage of residents are foreign born?
What percentages of residents come from which countries?
What is the literacy rate among adults?
What is the most common occupation?
What is the apparent average life span in this town in 1910?
What is the typical family structure in this town in 1910?

The answers to any of these questions can be compared to the 1900 census or to the 1920 census so that trends become visible. Of course, other questions can be asked as well:

What percentage of the adult population was married?
What are the average number of children?
Are there patterns in different neighborhoods of family migration?
When do most women begin having children? What is the divorce rate?
What percentage of the population are in the lower, middle, and upper classes?
Are these classes segregated by neighborhood?
How many women have jobs outside the home?
How many men and women are unemployed, uneducated?
How does this vary by race, gender and ethnicity?

The questions vary in each census. Questions asked on the 1910 Census include:

Name of every person in the household;
relationship to the head of the household;
marital status;
number of years married;
the number of children born to the mother;
the number of those children living;
birthplaces of parents;
year of immigration (if foreign born);
if naturalized or alien;
language spoken;
nature of trade;
if employer, worker or self-employed;
ability to read and write;
if attended school during the year;
if home was owned or rented;
if owned, if free or mortgaged;
if home was a house or a farm;
if a veteran of the Civil War;
if blind or deaf-mute.

The web site for the U.S. Census Bureau is:

Posted by Michael L Umphrey on 06/25 at 05:50 PM

Previous entry: Fine Art

<<Home - ALERT Processes

State Heritage Projects

Support for Expeditions

Landmarks for Schools

The Digital Classroom (National Archives)

A Biography of America with Primary Documents (Annenberg)

A Chronology of U.S. Historical Documents (University of Oklahoma School of Law)

Words and Deeds in American History Chronological list of primary documents (Library of Congress)

Civics Timeline American history timeline with primary documents (National Endowment for the Humanities)

American Journeys Eyewitness accounts of historical expeditions by the Wisconsin Historical Society and National History Day

Expeditions (National Geographic)

Radio Documentaries American RadioWorks