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Philadelphia Social History Project: Grid Data, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 (ICPSR 34982)

Principal Investigator(s):


This component of the Philadelphia Social History Project examines the demographic composition of city grid squares using census data from years 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880. The collection consists of two types of data files: (1) grid tallies, and (2) grid dictionaries. The grid tally files consist of counts of individuals living in PSHP grid squares, with totals broken down by race/ethnicity, sex, and age. The grid dictionary files link lines in the census manuscripts to PSHP grid squares, allowing users to follow the movements of census-takers as they moved house-to-house on foot, adding individuals to the printed census manuscript forms. The "grid" network consists of a set of vertical and horizontal lines drawn at fixed intervals across a city map, forming the foundation for the spatial organization of the data. The grid dictionary files show when census-takers crossed from one grid square to another; each row in the grid dictionary describes a set of rows that are in a specific grid square by listing the starting page/line and the ending page/line.

Series: Philadelphia Social History Project Series

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.


DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS1:  1850 Grid Tally - Download All Files (12.7 MB)
DS2:  1860 Grid Tally - Download All Files (13.3 MB)
DS3:  1870 Grid Tally - Download All Files (14.9 MB)
DS4:  1880 Grid Tally - Download All Files (15.5 MB)
DS5:  1850 Grid Dictionary - Download All Files (10.7 MB)
DS6:  1860 Grid Dictionary - Download All Files (11.6 MB)
DS7:  1870 Grid Dictionary - Download All Files (10.8 MB)
DS8:  1880 Grid Dictionary - Download All Files (11.8 MB)

Study Description


Hershberg, Theodore. Philadelphia Social History Project: Grid Data, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880. ICPSR34982-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2014-07-30. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR34982.v1

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This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Mental Health (MH 16621)
  • Institute of Museum and Library Services (LG-05-09-0084-09)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   age, demographic statistics, ethnic groups, population, population characteristics, population density, population distribution, population growth, population migration, population trends, race, racial integration, racial segregation, residential segregation

Smallest Geographic Unit:   grid coordinates

Geographic Coverage:   Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States

Time Period:  

  • 1850
  • 1860
  • 1870
  • 1880

Unit of Observation:   grid unit

Universe:   Grid units constructed over a city map of Philadelphia, PA, with census data integrated from years 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880.

Data Types:   census/enumeration data


Study Purpose:   The purpose of the grid data component of the Philadelphia Social History Project is to allow historic demographic researchers to analyze changes in the city's residential patterns; the data are especially useful for analyses of the evolving degree of residential integration versus segregation amongst various population subgroups.

Study Design:   For a detailed overview of the study design, including information regarding the development of the grid system, please see the Original P.I. Documentation section of the ICPSR Codebook.

Time Method:   Cross-sectional

Weight:   The data are not weighted.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:  

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