New York Population

Knowing just how many people were living on the land in a given place and time provides an important foundation and demographic context for understanding their lives. Comparing the Albany city population to that of Albany County and to the overall population of the colony helps us to see the early Albany story in larger contexts. Listed below are enumerated and estimated population figures for the province and then State of New York.

1664 ----9,000*

1698 ----- 18,067+

1703 ----- 20,665+

1723 ----- 40,564+

1731 ----- 50,289+

1737 ----- 60,437+

1749 ----- 73,448+

1756 ----- 96,765+

1771 ----- 168,007+

1786 ----- 238,897+

1790 ----- 340,120

1820 ----- 1,372,812+


Sources: These outstanding works chronicle existing population statistics: American Population Before the federal Census of 1790, by Evarts B. Greene and Virginia D. Harrington (New York, 1932), 88-105, a colony-by-colony compendium of very useful population statistics; and Robert V. Wells, The Population of the British Colonies in America before 1776: A Survey of Census Data (Princeton, NJ, 1975), an interesting analysis of those statistics. The core printed source for colonial New York census data is DHNY 1:687-97.

* = estimated population statistic. These often represented an observer's guess! Population estimates for New Netherland are considered by Oliver A. Rink, in Holland on the Hudson: An Economic and Social History of Dutch New York (Ithaca and London, 1986), 164-65. For the overall colonial era, Greene and Harrington, American Population, 88-92 chronicles a number of historic estimates.

+ = population statistic by census. However, please understand that the colonial census was a much more imperfect counting of heads than is the case today.

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