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1830: first Florida census

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By Toni C. Collins, Levy County Historian

By TONI C. COLLINS
Levy County Historian

The Federal government has conducted a census or account of its population every year since 1790. In that year the census takers, who were U.S. marshals on horseback, counted 3.9 million inhabitants.
Why did the government undertake such a huge project? As America expanded, the nation’s interests grew more complex and the government needed to plan for that new growth.
The Territory of Florida was interested in the number of people who lived within its borders because a minimum population was required for statehood. The first federal census of the Territory of Florida was taken in 1830. The total population of the territory was 34,730 or 0.6 inhabitants per square mile. By 1840, the population of the twenty counties formed to date had grown to 54,477.
In 1845, the minimum population requirements must have been met as Florida was admitted to the Union on March 3 and Levy County was formed one week later on March 10.


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