THE CENSUS.—By the report of J. Neely Johnson, appointed to take
the census of the State of California, the population of the twenty-six
counties of this State is only 117,597. The returns from Los Angeles, San
Diego and Tuolumne have not been received, but they would not make muck
[sic] difference. They might possibly run the population up to 130,000.
There is not a man in the State, probably, who has had an opportunity of
seeing for himself and judging by actual observation, who will for a moment
take that number as anything like an approximation to the truth. Any one
acquainted with the manner in which public trusts have been fulfilled need
not wonder at any inaccuracies. A return by a deputy census taker, of five
hundred habitants in a county would answer his purpose as well as if he
took the trouble of obtaining the real numbers, especially when there is
little chance for refuting his errors. We doubt not that many of these
returns are of this class—mere guess work, and exceedingly bad guessing
at that. We believe the population of the State is at least twice as great
as is represented by Col. Johnson's Report. There are many difficulties
in the way of obtaining a correct census—of this there can be no doubt.
But we are inclined to believe that the greatest difficulty has been a
want of energy and attention on the part of deputies. Some of the counties
throw a vote as large, almost, as this report represents the entire population.
The result of this meagre return will be that California will be cut out
of one member of Congress, for it will require a population of nealry one
hundred and ninety thousand to entitle us to two members, as in the last
Congress. In this city alone there is a floating population one-half as
great as the whole reported population of the county. And this is probably
not reckoned at all. This is probably a specimen of the State at large.
Source: Daily Alta California, 20
April 1851, page 2.
San Francisco Genealogy
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