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Antebellum Period Statistics

By the Numbers

Number of distilleries in the United States in 1810: 14,000
Annul alcohol production of American distilleries in 1810: 25 million gallons
Number of Americans who drank liquor in 1810: 7 million
Amount of alcohol industry produced per American in 1810, including men, women, and children: 3 gallons (not counting cider, beer, or wine, so you can imagine how much the adults were drinking!)1

Population of the United States in 1850: 23,191,876
…White population as a percentage of the total: 84.3%
…Black population as a percentage of the total: 15.7%2
Year in which races other than black and white were first listed in the US census: 1860 Number of free blacks in America in 1850: 434,495
…Number of slaves: 3,204,313
Male population as a percentage of the total in 1850: 51.02%
…Male population as a percentage of the white total: 51.28%
…Male population as a percentage of the black total: 49.78%

Average number of children born to women in antebellum America: 6-7
Average number of children born to women in America today: about 2
Decline in American birthrate from 1800 to 1850: 23%3

Increase in per capita income of American families from 1820-60: 100%
Increase in proportion of Americans living in cities and towns from 1820-60: 200%4

Number of newspapers (nationwide) in 1833: 1,200
…in 1860: 3,0005

Miles of rail laid in the US by 1850: 9,000 (the most in the world)
Miles of rail laid between 1850-60: 21,000 (giving the country a larger rail network than the rest of the world combined; train wrecks soon exceeded steamboat explosions as a prime cause of accidental death)6

Ratio of Americans living in cities in 1860: 1 in 6 (6.2 million out of about 30 million total)
Number of passengers on public transit in 1860: 70 million7

Average annual income for male manufacturing workers in urban New England from 1820-60: $323.25
…in rural New England: about $303.25
…in urban Middle Atlantic states (New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey): $337.10
…in rural Middle Atlantic states: $292.588

Number of German Jews who immigrated to America during the 19th Century: 250,000 (additionally, several hundred thousand Germans, most of them Protestant, arrived in the 1850s after the failed revolutions of 1830 and 1848)
9

Number of Chinese in America by 1860: 35,000 (most of them in the West and thousands of them at work building the rapidly spreading railroad network)10

Number of Irish immigrants who came to America annually from 1847-1855: Over 100,000
Number of Irish immigrants who came in 1851: 221,000
Irish population as a percentage of the total foreign-born population in 1853: 43%
Rank of Catholicism among denominations in the United States in 1860: 1st

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