Again this April, Hamdenites, along with others across the state and the nation, will respond to the federal census. The town of Hamden was just four years old when the first census was taken in 1790. The complete record of Hamden in that census filled just ten small handwritten pages, with the names of the head of each household and the number of persons in it broken down in five categories. These last two pages show the names of many families who remained in Hamden long after, some of them names of streets today: Munson, Woodin, Gilbert, Alling, Mix, Dickerman, Humiston, Attwater, Cooper, and Ford. The total number of inhabitants was 1422.
CLICK on the image to enlarge it.
Since Hamden was primarily an agricultural town in the early nineteenth century, the population remained fairly constant, less than 2000. The growth of manufacturing later in that century led to steady population growth. Immigration in the early twentieth century led to much faster growth, which then slowed in the Great Depression and World War II. The postwar baby boom accelerated growth again, which has since leveled off.
Racial DistributionThe census records demographic data for every resident, including race, gender, and age. Totals in each of these categories are reported for states, counties, cities, and other incorporated areas. Unfortunately, Hamden is not fully recognized as an incorporated area, so some of this information is not readily available for some census years. Race has been characterized in various ways over the history of the census. The only categorization possible over all censuses is White and non-White. These graphs show the number of each for the censuses for which the data is available, indicated by the dots, and the percentage of non-White.
Gender DistributionThe following graph shows the percentage of male population. It grew with the rise of agriculture in the early nineteenth century, then dropped sharply due to Civil War casualties. More men joined the industrial workforce late in that century, before steady decline in the twentieth century.
Age Distribution Population by age is readily available for only a few censuses, and not always for the same age ranges. The very high percentage of children at the founding of the town fell in the following decades. It rose again in the post-World War II baby boom, and declined at the start of this century.
Neighborhood DistributionHamden, more than most towns, is composed of separate villages and neighborhoods. The 1880 census recorded the population of unincorporated places, noting that “the figures can be considered as only approximate, as the limits of such places are not sharply defined.” Hamden had more such places than most towns, five:
Most town residents lived outside these areas. Subtracting these figures from the total population that year leaves 2008 people in the rest of the town.
Hamden was first divided into nine census tracts for the 1960 census. One of them was divided in two for the 1970 census, and there were twelve tracts by 2000, as shown on this map:
CLICK on the image to enlarge it.
This graph shows the population in each tract since 1960. The tracts that were combined in the 1960 census are kept together in all years, and the two Spring Glen tracts are combined since they are considered one neighborhood with approximately the same population as the others. The tracts north of the parkway grew rapidly throughout the period, while the southern ones remained about the same or decreased slightly.
Hamden in 2020
How has the population changed this year? The most recent population estimate, for 2017, was 61,493, up less than 1% from the count of 60,960 in 2010. We will have to wait until April 2021 for final figures of the 2020 census to be released.