Historical Census Data: Champaign County Since 1900

In August, CCRPC staff expanded the Total Population: Champaign County Municipalities and Total Population: Champaign County Townships datasets to include not just Decennial Census data since 1960, but going all the way back to 1900 in most cases. One of the major population trends of the early 20th century was urbanization, the migration of people from rural areas to urban ones. In this blog post, we’ll look at the expanded historical data and see if it supports this trend occurring in Champaign County.

Migration is one of the three components of net population change; births and deaths are the other two components. Net population change is simply the difference in total population from one year to another, and is comprised of the number of individuals who were born in the area plus the number of individuals who migrated into the area, minus the number of individuals who died in the area and minus the number of individuals who migrated out of the area.

Net population change(Year 1-Year 2) = Population(Year 2) – Population(Year 1)

Net population change = (Births(Year 1-Year 2) + In-Migration(Year 1-Year 2)) – (Deaths(Year 1-Year 2)) – (Out-Migration(Year 1-Year 2))

Why is this important to this discussion? Because what we see in the tables below indicates net population change. From one decade to the next, we can tell if the population of a given municipality grew or shrank, but we can’t be sure from this data alone how much of the increase or decrease was driven by migrations, births, or deaths.

Although we can’t pinpoint the drivers of population change from this data, we can still look at any emerging patterns or trends in both municipalities and townships.

Table: Total Population: Champaign County Municipalities, 1900-2010Download table data for Total Population: Champaign County Municipalities, 1900-2010.

According to the table above, five Champaign County municipalities lost population between 1900 (or their first decade of Decennial Census data) and 2010: Bondville, Broadlands, Foosland, Ivesdale, and Longview. None have had more than 500 residents during any Decennial Census, and four of them (Broadlands, Ivesdale, Longview, and Foosland) make up four of the five municipalities with the smallest populations at the 2010 Census.

The remaining 18 municipalities increased in population, with the largest numerical increases seen in the City of Champaign and City of Urbana. Champaign, Urbana, Savoy, and St. Joseph were the only four municipalities to have uninterrupted growth trends, with a larger population at each Decennial Census than the previous one. The Village of Rantoul saw some of the most pronounced trends over the period of analysis, steadily increasing after 1900, peaking in 1970, and decreasing between 1970 and 2010.

Three of the five municipalities (Broadlands, Ivesdale, and Longview) are located in townships whose populations also decreased between 1900 and 2010 (Ayers, Sadorus, and Raymond, respectively), while Foosland and Bondville are located respectively in Brown Township and Scott Township, both of which saw population increases between 1900 and 2010.

This dataset can also give us an idea of when municipalities first incorporated by showing what Decennial Census they first appeared in. Nine of the 23 municipalities were not incorporated as of 1900, and therefore have no associated data for part of the study period: although there probably were individuals living in the areas that would become those municipalities, municipal data could not be collected for municipalities that did not yet exist. Four of these municipalities were incorporated by 1910: Broadlands, Longview, Pesotum, and Thomasboro. Foosland, Gifford, Royal, and Savoy were incorporated between 1950 and 1960, appearing first in the 1960 Census. Bondville incorporated most recently, between 1960 and 1970, appearing in the 1970 Census.

Table: Total Population: Champaign County Townships, 1900-2010Download table data for Total Population: Champaign County Townships, 1900-2010.

More townships than municipalities shrank in population over the course of the study period: 13 of 30 townships had fewer residents in 2010 than in 1900. The 11 townships with the smallest populations in 2010 were all among the 13 shrinking townships.

Some irregularities exist with the population trends of Champaign, City of Champaign, Urbana, and Cunningham Townships. City of Champaign Township, established between 1920 and 1930, is coterminous with the City of Champaign, and Cunningham Township, established between 1930 and 1940, is coterminous with the City of Urbana. Before these urban townships were established, we see Champaign Township’s population increase between the 1900 Census and 1920 Census, before making a steep drop between 1920 and 1930. Similarly, we see an increase between 1900 and 1930 in Urbana Township, followed by a significant decrease between 1930 and 1940. Given that this was a changing landscape, we’ll be focusing on the other 26 townships in the remainder of our analysis.

Three townships with decreasing populations (Crittenden, Stanton, and Kerr Townships) have no municipalities falling fully or partially within their boundaries. Ayers Township and Raymond Township, both with decreasing populations, also include municipalities with decreasing populations (Broadlands and Longview, respectively). The remaining nine townships with decreasing populations have municipalities with increasing populations either partially or wholly within their boundaries.

This presents an analytical quandary. Township population totals include the populations of any municipalities or parts of municipalities that fall within their boundaries. For example, the population of South Homer Township includes the population of the Village of Homer. The population of East Bend Township includes the population of the portion of the Village of Fisher that is located in East Bend Township.

This means that we can’t look at a shrinking township and the growing municipality within its boundaries and say that township’s population is decreasing because township residents are moving inside the corporate limits: township residents that move to a municipality within the township’s boundaries have not left the township, and would still be counted toward that township’s population total at the next Decennial Census. These same residents would also be counted toward the municipality’s population total at the next Decennial Census: their migration would increase the municipal population without decreasing the township population.

This also means that the populations of the 15 growing townships in the county include the populations of the municipalities (largely also growing) within their boundaries. In some cases, the increase in township population may be driven by increases in municipal populations: more residents moving to the municipality from outside the township would increase the total township population just as residents moving to the unincorporated township from outside the township would.

We can do a simple calculation to see how a township’s population growth in a given decade is affected by municipal population growth in the same decade.

A note before we start: we can only validly make this comparison if the municipality is completely within the township we’re looking at. If a municipality falls into multiple townships, its population includes residents who are also counted toward the population totals of multiple townships. It also isn’t appropriate for townships that include multiple municipalities. So we’ll look at Sidney Township, which includes the Village of Sidney and no other municipalities, between 1960 and 1970.

Population Change(Sidney Township) = 1,378 – 1,215

Population Change(Sidney Township) = 163

Population Change(Village of Sidney) = 915 – 686

Population Change(Village of Sidney) = 229

Population Change(Village of Sidney) – Population Change(Sidney Township) = 66

We see here that the population growth of the Village of Sidney between 1960 and 1970 is greater than the population growth of Sidney Township in that same time period. One hundred sixty-three people either moved to or were born in Sidney Township between 1960 and 1970. If we assume that all of them moved to or were born in the Village of Sidney (which is highly unlikely), that still leaves an additional growth of 66 individuals that were added to the village, but were not added to the township.

This suggests that at least 66 residents of Sidney Township moved into the Village of Sidney, adding to the municipal population without decreasing the township population. Where municipal population growth is larger than township population growth, we can posit that some residents moved within the township, into the municipality: an urbanizing population. Where township growth is larger than municipal growth, we can posit that the municipality added residents through birth or migration, and that the township’s unincorporated areas did as well.

Similar calculations can be done to assess how a growing municipal population affected a shrinking township (e.g., the Village of Homer and South Homer Township), how a shrinking municipal population affected a shrinking township (e.g., the Village of Broadlands and Ayers Township), and how a shrinking municipal population affected a growing township (e.g., the Village of Foosland and Brown Township).

But it’s important to remember that, for municipalities across multiple townships and townships that include multiple municipalities, it is difficult to allocate population flows to the correct area with any certainty. Even in our example above, we only get an estimate: at least 66 people moved from unincorporated Sidney Township to the Village of Sidney, but, depending on where the township’s total population growth took place, it may have been more.

It’s also important to restate that migration is not the only component of total population change. As we noted above, total population change includes births and deaths as well as migrations. Without other data that details birth and death figures for municipalities and townships, we can’t calculate exact numbers for historical migration.

Historical Census data can be interesting, but challenging to work with. It can give residents and planners a different perspective on growth and development in a county by allowing them to track the long-term population changes of municipalities and townships, suggesting dates of incorporation and boundary changes, and showing where population centers were located in any given decade. But for detailed analysis of population trends, it needs to be supported by other datasets.

 

Sources, Table 1: U.S. Census Bureau; Census 2000, Summary File 1, Table DP-1; generated by CCRPC staff; using American FactFinder; <http://factfinder2.census.gov>; (30 December 2015). U.S. Census Bureau; Census 2010, Summary File 1, Table P1; generated by CCRPC staff; using American FactFinder; <http://factfinder2.census.gov>; (30 December 2015). U.S. Census Bureau; 1980 Census of Population, Volume 1: Characteristics of the Population, Chapter A: Number of Inhabitants, Part 15: Illinois, PC80-1-A15, Table 4, Population of County Subdivisions: 1960-1980. Department of Commerce and Labor Bureau of the Census; Thirteenth Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1910, Statistics for Illinois, Table 1. – Population of Minor Civil Divisions: 1910, 1900, and 1890.; <https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial-census/decade/decennial-publications.1910.html>; (23 August 2018). Department of Commerce Bureau of the Census; Fourteenth Census of the United States, State Compendium Illinois, Table 3. – Population of Incorporated Places: 1920, 1910, and 1900. <https://www.census.gov/library/publications/1924/dec/state-compendium.html>; (23 August 2018). U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of the Census; Fifteenth Census of the United States: 1930, Population: Volume III, Reports by States, Illinois and Idaho, Tables 12, 22; <https://www.census.gov/library/publications/1932/dec/1930a-vol-03-population.html>; (23 August 2018). United States Department of Commerce Bureau of the Census, Sixteenth Census of the United States: 1940, Population: Volume 1, Number of Inhabitants, Total Population for States, Counties, and Minor Civil Divisions; for Urban and Rural Areas; for Incorporated Places; for Metropolitan Districts; and for Census Tracts; Tables 2, 5; <https://www.census.gov/library/publications/1942/dec/population-vol-1.html>.; (23 August 2018), U.S Department of Commerce Bureau of the Census; Census of Population: 1950, Volume I Number of Inhabitants, Table 7; <https://www.census.gov/library/publications/1952/dec/population-vol-01.html>; (23 August 2018).

Sources, Table 2: U.S. Census Bureau; Census 2000, Summary File 1, Table DP-1; generated by CCRPC staff; using American FactFinder; <http://factfinder2.census.gov>; (30 December 2015). U.S. Census Bureau; Census 2010, Summary File 1, Table P1; generated by CCRPC staff; using American FactFinder; <http://factfinder2.census.gov>; (30 December 2015). U.S. Census Bureau; 1980 Census of Population, Volume 1: Characteristics of the Population, Chapter A: Number of Inhabitants, Part 15: Illinois, PC80-1-A15, Table 4, Population of County Subdivisions: 1960-1980, Department of Commerce and Labor Bureau of the Census; Thirteenth Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1910, Statistics for Illinois, Table 1. – Population of Minor Civil Divisions: 1910, 1900, and 1890.; <https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial-census/decade/decennial-publications.1910.html>; (23 August 2018). Department of Commerce Bureau of the Census; Fourteenth Census of the United States, State Compendium Illinois, Table 2. – Population of Minor Civil Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1900. <https://www.census.gov/library/publications/1924/dec/state-compendium.html>; (23 August 2018). U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of the Census; Fifteenth Census of the United States: 1930, Population: Volume III, Reports by States, Illinois and Idaho, Table 21; <https://www.census.gov/library/publications/1932/dec/1930a-vol-03-population.html>; (23 August 2018). United States Department of Commerce Bureau of the Census, Sixteenth Census of the United States: 1940, Population: Volume 1, Number of Inhabitants, Total Population for States, Counties, and Minor Civil Divisions; for Urban and Rural Areas; for Incorporated Places; for Metropolitan Districts; and for Census Tracts; Table 4; <https://www.census.gov/library/publications/1942/dec/population-vol-1.html>.; (23 August 2018). U.S Department of Commerce Bureau of the Census; Census of Population: 1950, Volume I Number of Inhabitants, Table 6; <https://www.census.gov/library/publications/1952/dec/population-vol-01.html>; (23 August 2018).

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