I meant to ask how I can calculate (or get) median WEALTH figures for each state from the 1860 census.

Trying to find the median wealth (not income) in combined real estate and personal property, in each state, for families enumerated on the 1860 census. No filters seem to produce it, but I’m not even sure what data to ask for.

It is possible to calculate median wealth by state using the IPUMS Online Data Analysis System. After selecting the 1860 1% sample, you will need to choose “Create Variables - Compute a new variable” from the dropdown menu. Then define a variable with the following syntax: wealth = persprop + realprop

Next, navigate to “Analysis - Frequencies or crosstabulation”. Enter the following:
Row: wealth
Control: statefip(1-10)
Selection Filters: pernum(1)
Weight: hhwt - Household weight

Due to row restrictions, you will be unable to run all states at the same time; however, you can simply change statefip(1-10) to statefip(11-20), etc. Make sure to check the “Summary Statistics” option, which will produce a weighted median household wealth for each statefip value.

Note that there are a small number of households (approximately 2% of the sample) where a member besides the head of household owns wealth. The results generated from following the above method will not capture these persons. If you are interested in calculating a median that includes non-head of household wealth, you would need to create a microdata extract and sum wealth at the household level in a statistical package.

Hope this helps.

Dear Dr. Marvel,

I am an American Civil War historian (finalizing my PhD dissertation) working at Saint Petersburg Electrotechnical University, Russia. I study the economic imagination and practices of the Union Army officers and men (in the camp, on the march, economic relations with their families at home etc.). While the main sources used in my dissertation are their diaries and letters, I follow your steps in providing the antebellum economic background for the Federal servicemen I am writing about. For the most soldiers and officers in my survey, I am going to use your Median Wealth by State data from Table 2 of the “Lincoln’s Mercenaries…” (of course, with proper citation - official Russian ГОСТ standard).

My issue is that there is a one Unionist Tennessean whose letters I analyze in my diss. I followed the kind and helping advice by the IPUMS employee Tim Moreland who answered to your OP and calculated the median wealth for the State of Tennessee. The problem is referring to these data. IPUMS recomends to cite the whole database. How do I cite the calculated table? Cannot find an example in your book (maybe my own inobservance).

Dear Artem, if I may,

Please call me Bill; my only doctorate is honorary.

This may be the answer to your question. I deposited all the various files for median wealth from the 1860 census, as I requested them from IPUMS, on the Harvard Dataverse website. The data for the states I studied, as well as for those I did not, all seem to be preserved here:

I hope this will give you an acceptable citation. Good luck,


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Thank you so much, Bill. That’s exactly what I needed.