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Africa Gotoarrow.png Democratic Republic of the Congo Gotoarrow.png DRC Census

Census records

Research use: A primary source for family relationships.

Record type: Population enumeration.

Time period: 1884 to present.

Contents: Individual names, relationships, number of households for each village, unmarried males, widows who are heads of households, brief physical descriptions and estimates of the value of crop yields and income from livestock. Also listed were contributions to the military forces.

Location: National Archives in Brazzaville and provincial and department archives. Paris may have records of their nationals who were living in the Congo during the colonial period.

Population coverage: May be as high as 55% of the native Congolese population and possibly up to 70% of the French colonial population.[1]

The last population census in the DRC had been conducted in 1981, making existing demographic records unreliable and outdated. This situation was made more complicated by the fact that there was no system in place to control the flow of refugees, caused by the region’s recurring wars, across the DRC’s borders.

As a result, during the transition, it was debated whether or not voter registration should be preceded by a national census. Although it was recognized that conducting a general census before voter registration would be ideal, technical and financial challenges (as well as the relatively short duration of the transition period) forced the CEI to opt instead for voter registration using strict criteria to identify and register prospective voters. To register, a person had to be a Congolese citizen and reside in the DRC during the registration process. As dual citizenship is prohibited in the DRC, only people holding Congolese citizenship (and no other) were allowed to register. The minimum voting age is 18.

Out of an initial estimate of 28 million potential voters, a total of 25,021,703 citizens registered to participate in the referendum and the general elections.

1870 US Federal Census

The vast majority of Americans of African ancestry in the United States are descendants of the 400,000 black slaves forcibly brought to the New World prior to 1860. Most of these slaves came from a small section (approximately 300 miles long) of the Atlantic coast between the Congo and Gambia rivers in East Africa.

The 1870 census is the first U.S. federal census to list formerly enslaved African Americans by name (in previous censuses they were included only as tally marks on a page). In addition, census takers were presented with printed instructions, which accounts for the greater degree of accuracy in this census as compared to earlier censuses.

Enumerators were asked to include the following categories in the census: name; age at last birthday (if a child was under one year of age, months of age were to be stated as fractions, such as 1/12); sex; color; profession; occupation or trade of every male and female; value of real estate; place of birth; whether mother and father were of foreign birth; whether born or married within the year and the month; those who could not read; those who could not write; whether deaf, dumb, blind, or insane or "idiotic".


  1. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Congo,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 2000.


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  • This page was last modified on 2 June 2015, at 19:48.
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