San Francisco History

Census Editorial

THE CENSUS.—By the report of J. Neely Johnson, appointed to take the census of the State of California, the population of the twenty-six counties of this State is only 117,597. The returns from Los Angeles, San Diego and Tuolumne have not been received, but they would not make muck [sic] difference. They might possibly run the population up to 130,000. There is not a man in the State, probably, who has had an opportunity of seeing for himself and judging by actual observation, who will for a moment take that number as anything like an approximation to the truth. Any one acquainted with the manner in which public trusts have been fulfilled need not wonder at any inaccuracies. A return by a deputy census taker, of five hundred habitants in a county would answer his purpose as well as if he took the trouble of obtaining the real numbers, especially when there is little chance for refuting his errors. We doubt not that many of these returns are of this class—mere guess work, and exceedingly bad guessing at that. We believe the population of the State is at least twice as great as is represented by Col. Johnson's Report. There are many difficulties in the way of obtaining a correct census—of this there can be no doubt. But we are inclined to believe that the greatest difficulty has been a want of energy and attention on the part of deputies. Some of the counties throw a vote as large, almost, as this report represents the entire population. The result of this meagre return will be that California will be cut out of one member of Congress, for it will require a population of nealry one hundred and ninety thousand to entitle us to two members, as in the last Congress. In this city alone there is a floating population one-half as great as the whole reported population of the county. And this is probably not reckoned at all. This is probably a specimen of the State at large.

 Source: Daily Alta California, 20 April 1851, page 2.

Return to San Francisco Genealogy
Public Commons License