Census In Manhattan 1900

Eleven Hundred Men Will Be Employed to Count the People in That Borough
The work of accumulating the statistics for the twelfth census was begun in Manhattan at 9 o'clock this morning. At that hour 1,100 enumerators under the direction of Supervisor Charles S. Wilbur and Twenty-five district inspectors, started out on routes mapped out for them to ask the questions which have been in preparation for months by the Census Bureau of the United States. Of the 1,100 who had been appointed as enumerators but two failed to report this morning for the work. Those two handed in their resignations late yesterday and their places were quickly filled from the long list of applicants.

When seen at his office in the Pulitzer Building this morning, Supervisor Wilbur expressed himself as well pleased with the preparations that have been made. "Everything is in fine order," he said, "and at 9 o'clock, prompt to the minute, 1,100 enumerators started to work. These men are under the direction of twenty-five district inspectors who will report to me daily on the progress being made and who will report any infractions or violations of the census rules. These inspectors are in the harness all day long, going from place to place in their district and keeping a close scrutiny over the individual men. The territory under my supervision is divided into nearly 1,100 districts and in each one is assigned a man. In the case of some of the larger institutions, notably Ludlow street jail, we will give them the courtesy of designating some one whom they wish to perform the work and he will be appointed.

" The very first work in this census will be the criminal statistics. This is done because of the fact that the numbers of people in the police stations, jails and the like is subject to frequent change. In institutions where the number is comparatively stable the work will be left for a time, and in many cases special enumerators will be appointed. The men who went out this morning and in whose districts there are police stations or jails will go to those places first.

"The rules under which the enumerators work are very strict and will be rigidly enforced. It is against the rules for an enumerator to allow anyone to go around with him on his district. It is against the law for anyone to follow an enumerator and the offense is punishable by a fine of $500. Our inspectors will keep close watch for any infringements of the regulations governing the work and make daily reports to me.

"It is gratifying to see the interest that is being taken in the work by the people of the city. They appear not only willing to help us in every possible way, but anxious as well. We have tried to offset the complaint made the last census when it was said that about 200,000 people were out of town by sending out blanks that those who were leaving the city could fill out and forward to us. Even from those whom one would expect to display the least interest there have been hundreds of blanks filled out and the most hearty spirit of co-operation shown. In many instances though, these blanks are not properly filled out and we will have to go over the work again. many of those who sent in blanks failed to put in some of the principal answers and some cases even the address was omitted.

"I do not anticipate any trouble in taking the census. Of course, there will be the usual number of people who will object to answering the questions and enumerators may have some difficulty in getting answers. I do not think there will be many such instances. The law makes it a misdemeanor for a person to refuse to answer questions asked by the enumerator and upon conviction the offender is liable to a fine of not to exceed $100. The government has no desire to prosecute anyone, but, if necessary, this clause will be enforced. The enumerators have been instructed to inform all persons that their answers are confidential and only for the information of the government in compiling statistics.

"The enumerators will work ten hours a day, although there is no prescribed time of working given. The best hours are probably in the early morning and late afternoon. Each enumerator is expected to send into headquarters every evening a card, stating the days' progress and asking for any advice or assistance he may need."

Supervisor Wilbur stated that about eighty-five interpreters had been employed to accompany the enumerators who are assigned to the sections where the foreign population lives. Five of them are Chinamen.

Website: The History Box.com
Article Name: Census In Manhattan 1900
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


Brooklyn Daily Eagle June 1, 1900
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