The first federal census conducted in California was taken in 1850, while the Gold Rush was in full swing. Adventurers were pouring into the state, and they were very mobile in their search for the next paydirt. As a result, the accuracy of the count was questionable. Also, records for the counties of Contra Costa, San Francisco, and Santa Clara were lost or destroyed.

To obtain a more reliable picture of the population, the State of California conducted its own census in 1852, the only one in the state’s history. The original census is housed at the State Archives, but it is available on microfilm in the California History Room. Because the microfilm is difficult to read, the Daughters of the American Revolution of California created a transcription of the census, as well as an index. The California History Room has both print and microfilm copies of the transcription.

1850 United States Census for California

1852 State Census for California

1860 United States Census for California

1870 United States Census for California

1880 United States Census for California

1890 United States Census for California

1900 United States Census for California

1910 United States Census for California

1920 United States Census for California

1930 United States Census for California

California Census Information

California QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau