Historical Censuses Shapefiles


I am using the historical censuses of England and Sweden (1880-1910). Are there any shapefiles for the counties / parishes available to map each county / parish?

Or is there some other way to just create a map of selected counties / parishes in England / Sweden of this time?

Thanks a lot!

All the best

These boundary files are not available through IPUMS. You may be able to access the Sweden parishes from the Swedish National Archives (see this summary information on historical GIS maps). For the England parishes, the Great Britain Historical GIS project may have something that is appropriate for your needs. It looks like the original website for this project is no longer operational, but as per the project’s Wikipedia entry, the primary way to access these resources is from the A Vision of Britain through Time webpage (though it seems some resources may also be available through UK Data Archive at the University of Essex and UK Data Service Census Support).

Thanks a lot Kari for your very helpful answer!

The “A Vision of Britain through Time” turned out to be a very helpful resource as one can download county shapefiles there!

Unfortunately, the links in the document you posted for Sweden appear to be broken. Do you know which edition of SCB codes IPUMS uses to denote Swedish parishes? Because I found shapefiles for Swedish parishes (kommuner) here Digitala gränser Also this shapefile uses SCB codes. However, I was just wondering whether those SCB codes are really the same across both datasets.

Thanks again!

As noted in the variable description for PARSE, this 9-digit identifier is based on the official Swedish six-digit code for county, municipality, and parish.

The Swedish National Archives document from my previous post states:

The 9-digit geographical code described above is also used in the Swedish historical censuses from 1880, 1890, 1900 and 1910 that have been delivered to the North Atlantic Population Project (NAPP) (https://www.nappdata.org) hosted by the Minnesota Population Center (MPC) at the University of Minnesota. The 9-digit code is used to identify parish of residence and birth parish in the Swedish censuses. This enables a researcher to map the content in the censuses to the shape-files described in this document.

The NAPP data mentioned in the document are now included in the IPUMS International database; based on the document, I think that kommuner actually stands for municipality rather than parish. If you see the “Ref” row of the G_units_Names table, it notes that columns 1-2 of the 9-digit SCB codes are the county, columns 3-4 are the municipality codes, columns 5-6 are for uniquely identifying parishes, and the final three columns differentiate between different versions of the parish. I cannot speak to the Digitala gränser codes (though I only saw 4 digits in the files available there, which makes me think these are municipality codes rather than parish codes), but hope this information helps you assess their comparability with the IPUMS codes.

Thank you very much Kari, that was very helpful!

As a follow up, what is the quickest way to make a map of all cities in the USA in 1910?

In the IPUMS census “cities” are defined as places with more than 25,000 inhabitants. I saw that NHGIS has a shapefile with places, so I guess I can just select all cities from the censuses from that list. But I was wondering whether there is a quicker way?

Also, is there a way to calculate the size in km2 of those cities?

Thank you very much!

All the best

NHGIS Place Point files, as you suggested, can be used to map the locations of cities in 1910. Calculation of the size (in square km) of cities in 1910 could be more difficult. To my knowledge, there are no IPUMS datasets that contain spatial information about cities (beyond NHGIS place point location data). Population density data may be used to estimate historic sizes of cities, though be aware that many of these datasets will provide population density at the county level which could introduce bias in areas with larger counties. After a quick search online, I found some resources that may be helpful to you, including U.S. Census population distribution maps and LandScan (population density data going back to 2000).