Population - Challenge 5 Key

Challenge 5 Key

What Do You Think? Key

* In 1870 and in 1940 population declined contrary to estimates.
* In general, both white and African American populations have grown over the years.
* White and African American population trends are somewhat parallel until post-World War II. After World War II, white population grew dramatically faster than African American population.
* The Civil War and Reconstruction may help explain population decline reported in the 1870 census. The Great Depression may help explain population decline reported in the 1940 census. More research is needed to verify factors contributing to population declines during these years.
Other thoughts

Total population doubled roughly every 40-50 years in the 19th and early to mid 20th centuries. Pretty cool, but in the 1960s and 70s, total population doubled in less than 20 years!

Important to note, white and African American population trends diverged greatly after 1940-white population growth was dramatic while African American population trends remained seemingly flat. Of course, African American population increased, but notice how line graph scales can misrepresent historical accuracy. For example, when comparing the different population trends on the same graph-according to one scale on the vertical axis-it appears African American growth remained flat. Examining African American growth trends on a suitable scale, however, tells a different story. In particular, the 1980s and 90s saw the type of steep growth patterns seen in white growth trends.

Why is it important to reference sources? Well, one must remember that history is not just the facts. Rather, history is an interpretive art that challenges historians to tell the most accurate story they can craft from known facts. Historians carefully footnote all claims on the facts by giving accurate bibliographic citations. Citations of secondary and primary sources allow other historians to check the accuracy of fact usage. Bibliographic citations also help us know about the interpretive lenses through which historians analyze the facts. Citations help us judge the credibility of historical research. Further, historians carefully write citations to give credit to other historians for their contributions to knowledge.

An important source for learning about Lexington County population trends comes from the U.S. Census Bureau. South Carolina's State Library was very helpful in helping me complete my research. The bibliographic citation for census records is as follows:

U.S. Bureau of the Census. 1872. A Report of the Ninth Census, 1870, Volume I, The
Statistics Characteristics of the Population, Sex, Age, Race, Nativity, Citizenship,
Country of Birth of Foreign-Born white, School Attendance, Education,
Employment Status, Class of Worker, Major Occupation Group, and Industry
Group, Part 6, Pennsylvania-Texas. Washington D.C.: United States Government
Printing Office.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. 1943. A Report of the Sixteenth Decennial Census of the
United States, Census of Population, 1940, Volume II, Characteristics of the
Population, Sex, Age, Race, Nativity, Citizenship, Country of Birth of Foreign-Born white, School Attendance, Education, Employment Status, Class of Worker, Major Occupation Group, and Industry Group, Part 6, Pennsylvania-Texas. Washington D.C.: United States Government Printing Office.

Return to Population Challenge