Census and Math
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The rapid arrival of immigrants between 1880 and 1890 made apparent the need for quick and accurate data processing. The 1880 census was a disaster. It took 9 years and $5.8 million to transfer raw data to tally sheets which were then counted by hand!

The census was obsolete at the exact second it was completed. Herman Hollerith, a German immigrant, molded math, science, and engineering into the first practical "computer" to process data.

Select a link below to learn more about this revolution in data processing and its impact on technology.

Math Skills and Census Data
Math Connection: Population Shifts
An Internet Connect activity that uses census data. View data from the census and reinforce concepts regarding the rounding of numbers.
Web site by: Holt, Rinehart and Winston Math
It's Not Magic....It's Math!
Apportionment Formula
An explanation of the complex mathematical formula used to compute how many House seats a state receives.
Web site by: U.S. Census Bureau
The World's First Statistical Engineer
Herman Hollerith: Savior of the Census
An exhaustive site on Herman Hollerith's counting machine, an early prototype for the modern computer. Many of his techniques are still employed today.
Web site by: University of Rochester
Punched Cards Define Early Data Processing
A brief article on Hollerith's use of punched cards to record data. Punched cards became the industry standard for over half a century.
Web site by: Maxfield & Montrose Interactive
Hollerith and IBM
The 1890 census and IBM are connected by Hollerith's tabulating machine.
Web site by: IBM Corporation
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