1850 STATEICP and BPL for territories

I am using 100% count of the 1850 US census. My goal is to find the number of people who lived in every state in contingent USA, by their place of birth (preferably using the modern-day definitions of states).

I have 2 questions that are very related to each other (hence one post).

  1. Am I correct in my understanding that STATEICP should reflect the modern-day borders, while BPLD may be cruder for older Censuses?

  2. Is there a description of how STATEICP and BPLD variables were coded? My concern is that I find 0 people who lived in modern-day Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Idaho, and some other states. I do, however, find people who have those coded as their birthplaces, so I can’t assume they were completely uninhabited. Is that an issue with the coverage of the Census, or an artifact of how STATEICP or BPLD were altered to be coded to correspond to modern-day definitions?

For example, 259 individuals have BPL=40 (Oklahoma). Of them, in the detailed version of birthplace, 24 have BPLD = 4000 (Oklahoma), and 235 have BPLD=4010 (“Indian Territory”). How does IPUMS distinguish between the two, if Oklahoma was not a separate entity at the time?

If we look at the STATEICP for those individuals, 142 were enumerated in STATEICP=67 (Utah). Utah was not a part of Indian territory in 1850 (from a map from NHGIS), so they moved after being born. 40 lived in Missouri, 20 lived in New Mexico. None of them lived in STATEICP = 53 (Oklahoma) or any states that correspond to the (huge) Indian Territory. Was the 1850 Census not conducted in that area?

I can’t edit the original question, unfortunately. I found an excellent resource that shows the coverage of all the US Federal Censuses:http://www.us-census.org/states/map.htm. 1850 Census was not conducted in “Indian Territory”, which explains my concern.

I would still appreciate some information on the procedures used to create STATEICP and BPLD. How does IPUMS distinguish between “Oklahoma” and “Indian Territories”? How do we see STATEICP=67 (Utah) if there was only Utah territory?

It looks like you found a helpful resource regarding state/territory maps corresponding to historical decennial census data. An additional resource on this topic can be found here. Regarding the procedures used to code STATEICP and BPL for the 1850 full count file: First, the STATEICP variable identifies the contemporaneous state or territory for each year. That is, historical changes in state or territory boundaries are not harmonized across census years in the IPUMS USA data. Second, the comparability tab for the BPL variable notes that in 1850 enumerators simply recorded the birthplace as reported by respondents. At times these reported areas represent areas that were not officially recognized yet. This can explain the slight discrepancies between the STATEICP and BPL variables.