Source Information Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., African American Census, 1847 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.
Original data: African-American Census of Philadelphia. Swarthmore, Pennsylvania: Friends Historical Library, Swarthmore College.

About Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., African American Census, 1847

The Philadelphia Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends (Quakers) commissioned this census of thousands of free African American families and individuals living in six areas of the Philadelphia. This was done in order to further their efforts to help the African-American population of the city.

The census includes information on a variety of social variables. Included for each family: Name of head of household, household size by gender and age; street address; employment and compensation of everyone working in the home; children’s schools; value of personal property; whether members were born in Pennsylvania, debts, taxes, ability to read and write, how many family members were born as slaves and how much they paid for their freedom (and to whom, when known).

Although this census excludes the substantial number of African Americans living in white households, they provide data not found in the federal population schedules. When combined with the information on African Americans taken from federal censuses, it offers researchers a richly detailed view of Philadelphia's African American community in 1847.