Urban Transition Project

This page links to a web-based mapping system that shows census data for 1880 based on the 100% sample made available by the Minnesota Population Center. It includes several geographical layers:

    • Counties: all counties in the U.S. except in areas (e.g., Oklahoma) that were not enumerated. County data are displayed at zoom levels that include large regions of the country, and they are replaced with enumeration district data when you zoom into a specific city. Click on a county to see the actual value of the selected variable for that county.
    • Enumeration districts (EDs), similar but smaller than contemporary census tracts. Click on an ED to see the actual value.
    • Street segments, based on data for all residents of a street between two intersections. To see data for the street, select “identify street” at the top of the window, then click on the street. The system is sensitive to placement of the cursor; if you get a “no information” message, move slightly and try again. There is a glitch in the software: on the first click, the value of the variable is blank, but another click retrieves the datum. When done, click on “Reset.”
    • Buildings, coded by color to show their composition and by symbol to identify single-family buildings (circles) and multifamily buildings (stars). To see data for the building, select “identify point” at the top of the window, then click on the building (keep trying if you get “no information”). A balloon will appear giving the address of the building. IGNORE THE “ZOOM TO” MESSAGE. Click on “Data Information” in the upper right box. A new window will open that lists up to ten residents of the building, including their name, relation to head of household, age, race, occupation, birthplace, and parents’ birthplaces..

      NOTE: The system initially lists the residents in random order. Click on the “identifier” heading, to order people by household (you may have to repeat this TWICE to achieve the correct order). They can also be reordered by any other column. Click once to order highest to lowest, click again to reverse the order. Note that this window is too small to show all variables – use the slider to scroll to the right.

Selecting a variable to display: When you open the map system, you will not see the variable selection menu. To open the menu, find the ≡ icon on the upper left of the window. Click on it to open the menu. The menu can be closed after selecting a variable by clicking on the X, giving more space to display the map.

Navigation: Zoom in or out with your mouse or the +/- tool. Type a street address or place name, even a landmark, in the box to go directly to that location (this is based on a contemporary geocoder). Click “Switch Basemap” to change between contemporary satellite imagery and white background.

A “Freehand Select” tool is available at the top of the window. To use this tool, click a location on the map, and keep clicking to establish the vertices of a polygon; double-click to complete the polygon. Then select “Download Data – Selected Area). This will create a spreadsheet (.csv file) with all data for the EDs within the polygon, found in your \download folder, and also shown on the bottom left corner of your screen. For variable names (top row of the file) see the codebook here.

A tool is available along the top border to print the map as displayed. Unfortunately the system is unable to print all the legends (there is a separate legend for each data layer). Use your computer’s snipping tool or other software to grab a legend or any other image from the screen. We are working to improve the print function.

Click here to see the complete variable list with abbreviations used in the data file.

Click here to enter the Urban Transition Project web-mapping system.

Click here to download shapefiles and data for the 1880 counties and cities.