Definition for civil divisions in 1870 US Census

I’m looking at the 1870 Census, statistics of the US population. Under the heading Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties, there’s a breakdown of Native/Foreign/White/Colored/Chinese/Indian. What did these racial distinctions mean, specifically the Native/Foreign/White categories? Since there’s a separate category for Indian, I’m guessing Native did not mean Native American. I’m zeroing in on Chicago data (Cook County). What did those racial definitions mean at the time.

Taking a look, it seems that “native” in this case is defined as the opposite of “foreign”. In the document you linked, native and foreign sum to the total population. Moreover, this table groups individuals into native, foreign-born, and having some foreign-born parents. “Native” in this sense refers to native-born (i.e. born in the US). This table shows that the designation “Indian” evolved into “American Indian”.

I hope that helps!

This working paper notes that the 1850 census introduced questions about place of birth. It states that “individuals who were born in a state or territory of the United States (and the small number of individuals for whom place of birth was not reported) were defined as native, and individuals born in a foreign country were defined as foreign born.”