Wednesday, 25 June 2014

An Interactive Map of the American Urban Centres that Ranked in the Top 100 Most Populated 1790-1900

Contents



1 Introduction
2 Legend
3 Map
4 Observations
  • 4.1 Urban Centres by Division 
  • 4.2 Urban Centres by Cluster 
5 My Other Population Data Releases
6 References: Complete External List


1 Introduction


Plotted in this article are the top 100 most populated American urban centres for each decade since the 1790 census (first year it was taken). Also included are the Canadian centres that would have ranked among the top 100 American centres. The data for the Canadian centres is less reliable though. When including the Canadian centres I didn't exclude any American ones in their place. This means that the totals for each census add up to more than 100.

One thing to note about the 1790 and 1800 censuses is that at the time in the USA an urban centre was defined as an incorporated community with more than 2,500 inhabitants. Due to this, only 24 places ranked in the 1790 census and 33 for the 1800 census (Hence, the corresponding Canadian data follows the same rules). Another thing to note is that I denote New Orleans as ranking in the top 100 beginning with the 1790 census despite the Louisiana Purchase not occurring until 1803 which means that New Orleans wouldn't have ranked in the top 100 until the 1810 census. In 1750 New Orleans already had around 3,000 inhabitants and by the 1810 census it had 17,242. Therefore it likely would have ranked in the top 100 if it had been part of the USA at the time and that's why I included it.

By clicking on one of the icons on the map a box will load. If you clicked on an icon for a centre that was no longer present in the top 100 by the 1900 census I include which years the centre did rank within the top 100 including the corresponding ranks and populations (sometimes included is the 1900 population without a rank-I may add more data in time). If you click on one of the icons that was present in the 1900 census I include what census the centre first ranked within the top 100.


2 Legend


Icon Shapes:


  • Star: Urban centre was present in the top 100 at the 1790 census. 
  • Diamond: Urban centre was present in the top 100 for the first time in the 1800 census. 
  • Square: Urban centre was present in the top 100 for the first time between the 1810 and 1860 censuses. 
  • Circle: Urban centre was present in the top 100 for the first time between the 1870 and 1900 censuses. 

Icon Colours:


  • Red: Urban centre was no longer present in the top 100 at the 1900 census. 
  • Yellow: Urban centre was present in the top 100 at the 1900 census. 


3 Map


There's a full screen option on the upper right corner of the map interface, clicking on it will give you a search bar to search places on the map. Here's a version of the map with Google Street View enabled. It tends to be less stable and you might have to reload since the layer crashes now and then. Map




4 Observations


4.1 Urban Centres by Division


Below is a table showing urban centres by province/state/territory/district according to how divisions were in the year 1900. The first number following the name represents the number of urban centres in the top 100 present in 1900. The second number represents how many have ranked in the top 100 between 1790-1900. The percentage of how many existed in 1900 out of the total number urban centres since 1790 is included following the two numbers. Also included is the 1900 population. Canada is in red.

  1. Massachusetts, USA: 12/30 | 40% | 2,805,346
  2. Pennsylvania, USA: 10/21 | 48% | 6,302,115
  3. New York, USA: 9/21 | 43% | 7,268,894
  4. Ohio, USA: 7/11 | 64% | 4,157,545
  5. New Jersey, USA: 7/8 | 88% | 1,883,669
  6. Connecticut, USA: 4/7 | 57% | 908,420
  7. Indiana, USA: 3/6 | 50% | 2,516,462
  8. Rhode Island, USA: 2/6 | 33% | 428,556
  9. Virginia, USA: 2/6 | 33% | 1,854,184
  10. Ontario, CA: 3/5 | 60% | 2,182,947
  11. Iowa, USA: 2/5 | 40% | 2,231,853
  12. Maine, USA: 1/5 | 20% | 694,466
  13. California, USA: 3/4 | 75% | 1,485,053
  14. Michigan, USA: 3/4 | 75% | 2,420,982
  15. Texas, USA: 3/4 | 75% | 3,048,710
  16. Kentucky, USA: 2/4 | 50% | 2,147,174
  17. Illinois, USA: 2/4 | 50% | 4,821,550
  18. Maryland, USA: 1/4 | 25% | 1,188,044
  19. New Hampshire, USA: 1/4 | 25% | 411,588
  20. North Carolina, USA: 0/4 | 0% | 1,893,810
  21. Missouri, USA: 3/3 | 100% | 3,106,665
  22. Minnesota, USA: 3/3 | 100% | 1,751,394
  23. Georgia, USA: 3/3 | 100% | 2,216,331
  24. Alabama, USA: 2/3 | 67% | 1,828,697
  25. Kansas, USA: 1/3 | 33% | 1,470,495
  26. Tennessee, USA: 2/2 | 100% | 2,020,616
  27. Quebec, CA: 2/2 | 100% | 1,648,898
  28. Nebraska, USA: 2/2 | 100% | 1,066,300
  29. Washington, USA: 1/2 | 50% | 518,103
  30. District of Columbia: 1/2 | 50% | 278,718
  31. Nova Scotia, CA: 1/2 | 50% | 459,574
  32. South Carolina, USA: 1/2 | 50% | 1,340,316
  33. Louisiana, USA: 1/2 | 50% | 1,381,625
  34. Newfoundland: 0/2 | 0% | 220,984
  35. Wisconsin, USA: 1/1 | 100% | 2,069,042
  36. Manitoba, CA: 1/1 | 100% | 255,211
  37. Arkansas, USA: 1/1 | 100% | 1,311,564
  38. New Brunswick, CA: 1/1 | 100% | 331,120
  39. Delaware, USA: 1/1 | 100% | 184,735
  40. Oregon, USA: 1/1 | 100% | 413,536
  41. West Virginia, USA: 1/1 | 100% | 958,800
  42. Colorado, USA: 1/1 | 100% | 539,700
  43. Hawaii Territory, USA: 1/1* | 100% | 154,001
  44. Utah, USA: 1/1 | 100% | 276,749
  45. Mississippi, USA: 0/1 | 0% | 1,551,270
  46. Vermont, USA: 0 | 343,641
  47. Florida, USA: 0 | 528,542
  48. Indian Territory (Oklahoma), USA: 0 | 790,391
  49. South Dakota, USA: 0 | 401,570
  50. North Dakota, USA: 0 | 319,146
  51. Montana, USA: 0 | 243,329
  52. Wyoming, USA: 0 | 92,531
  53. Idaho, USA: 0 | 161,772
  54. Arizona Territory, USA: 0 | 122,931
  55. New Mexico Territory, USA: 0 | 195,310
  56. Alaska Territory, USA: 0 | 63,592
  57. Nevada, USA: 0 | 42,335
  58. Prince Edward Island, CA: 0 | 103,259
  59. British Columbia, CA: 0 | 178,657
  60. Northwest Territories (includes Saskatchewan, Alberta, Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut), CA: 0 | 211,649
*Honolulu, not included on map.

It's interesting that by the 1900 census North Carolina didn't contain any urban centres within the top 100. What's even more interesting is that it didn't even rank within the top 200 either (U.S. Bureau of the Census (1900)). Despite this, during previous censuses it had a number of urban centres which did rank within the top 100. These included Raleigh, Fayetteville, New Bern, and Wilmington. North Carolina is the only state that was part of the original 13 colonies that didn't have an urban centre rank in the 1900 census.



A pie chart showing the distribution of urban centres per state/province/territory/district that ranked in the top 100 most populated at some point between the 1790-1900 censuses.  



A pie chart showing the distribution of urban centres by state/province/territory/district that ranked in the top 100 most populated at the 1900 census. 

In order for an urban centre to continually rank in the top 100, each decade it would have to have a net increase large enough to keep up with the rate of increase other urban centres are experiencing at the same time.  


4.2 Urban Centres by Cluster


When one looks very closely at the map you can spot a number of areas where urban centres appear to cluster. Typically when there's a city drawing in a number of people the towns immediately surrounding it also experience a growth in population. In the chart below I highlight the clusters you can find on the map. The primary urban centre is named first followed by the urban centres surrounding it.


  • New York City, New York (10): Brooklyn, New York; Williamsburg, New York; Yonkers, New York; Hoboken, New Jersey; Jersey City, New Jersey; Elizabeth, New Jersey; New Brunswick, New Jersey; Newark, New Jersey; Paterson, New Jersey;
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (7): Northern Liberties Township, Pennsylvania; Southwark District, Pennsylvania; Kensington District, Pennsylvania; Spring Garden District, Pennsylvania; Moyamensing Township, Pennsylvania; Camden, New Jersey; 
  • Boston, Massachusetts (7): Charlestown, Massachusetts; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Somerville, Massachusetts; Chelsea, Massachusetts; Roxbury, Massachusetts; Dorchester, Massachusetts; 
  • Providence, Rhode Island (5): Pawtucket, Rhode Island; Cumberland, Rhode Island; North Providence, Rhode Island; Warwick, Rhode Island; 
  • Albany, New York (5): Troy, New York; West Troy (Watervliet), New York; Cohoes, New York; Schenectady, New York; 
  • Salem, Massachusetts (4): Marblehead, Massachusetts; Beverly, Massachusetts; Danvers, Massachusetts; 
  • Washington, DC (3): Georgetown, DC; Alexandria, Virginia; 
  • Cincinnati, Ohio (3): Covington, Kentucky; Newport, Kentucky; 
  • Springfield, Massachusetts (3): Chicoppe, Massachusetts; Holyoke, Massachusetts; 
  • San Francisco, California (2): Oakland, California; 
  • New Orleans, Louisiana (2): Lafayette, Louisiana; 
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (2): Allegheny, Pennsylvania; 
  • Kansas City, Missouri (2): Kansas City, Kansas; 
  • Louisville, Kentucky (2): New Albany, Indiana; 
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota (2): St. Paul, Minnesota; 
  • Seattle, Washington (2): Tacoma, Washington; 
  • Scranton, Pennsylvania (2): Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; 

Many times the centres which grow around larger urban centres aren't even in the same state. Over time many of these surrounding urban centres are absorbed by the growing primary urban centre. The introduction of new technologies like the electric streetcar and subsequently the automobile accelerated this process. All of this later led to suburbanization. For more information on that topic you can read one of my other articles: Using Population Data & Google Street View to Illustrate how Many of North America's Beautiful Buildings were Destroyed and What we can do Now 

In the peculiar case of Philadelphia, its city boundaries stayed the same for a very long time and the way the city grew (north and south) didn't correspond to its boundaries which stretched east from the Delaware River west towards the Schuylkill River.



Colton, G. W. (1856) The United States of America. Retrieved from the David Rumsey Collection.


5 My Other Population Data Releases


For links to all of my related writings you can visit my Population Data and Architecture Articles page.

You can help support me and my work by becoming a patron: http://www.patreon.com/billywilson

6 References


To keep things neat and manageable, I utilize one universal reference list for all of my population and architecture related articles: Reference List for Population Data and Architecture Articles

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