The Censo General de Población y Vivienda (General Census of Population and Housing, or National Census of…) is the main national census for Mexico. It is produced by the national statistics agency INEGI, a decentralized agency of the Mexican Federal government, with the purpose of collating and reporting detailed demographic, socioeconomic and geographical data from across the nation. Since 1900 the censo general has been conducted on a decennial basis, taking place the year ending in zero of each decade. The only variation to this schedule thus far occurred with the fourth census (IV censo general), where difficulties arising from the Mexican Revolution resulted in its deferral from 1920 to 1921. As of 2014 there have been a total of 13 censos generales taken at the national level, the most recent completed in 2010.
From the 1990s INEGI began to produce an intermediate series of national population and housing censuses, surveying only a smaller and selected subset of key demographic indicators. This intermediate series—the Conteo de Población y Vivienda (Count of Population and Housing)—is also conducted decennially, in the years ending in "5" midway between two successive censos generales. These conteos allow the planning for public policy and services to be based on data that is more current than would otherwise be the case, as the alternating conteos and censos provide a refresh of key population indices that is no more than five years old.
The practice of census-taking in Mexico may have precedents dating back to the late pre-Columbian period. According to traditions recorded in several of the post-conquest historical sources, Xolotl—a 12th-century ruler of a "Chichimec" polity in the Valley of Mexico—ordered that a review be undertaken to enumerate the populace under his control. This survey, carried out at a place adjoining his capital Tenayuca, is supposed to have been conducted by the addition of stones to a pile representing each person counted.
During the later Aztec Empire, it is known that written census-like records were used to keep track of land ownership and the tribute obligations of individual city-states (altepetl) across central Mexico.
In the decades after the conquest and Spanish colonial expansion, the administrators and missionaries for the Real Audiencia of Mexico began the systematic collection of population data for the new territories. One such was the document known as the Suma de visitas de pueblos por orden alfabético from 1548, which contained a survey and description of 907 villages and settlements in central Mexico. A census taken twenty years later in 1568, taking in some 90% of the towns and villages of Central Mexico, is probably the most comprehensive of the 16th-century records still extant. During the later Colonial period in the 17th century a number of other demographic counts and compilations were made. In general the data from these—likely incomplete and rudimentary—are no longer preserved.
It was not until the late 18th century that an accounting of the population was conducted, known as the Revillagigedo census, that could be said to resemble a "censo general" with something approaching a national extent. Conducted under viceroy Juan de Güemes Padilla, Count of Revillagigedo between 1790 and 1791, some forty volumes of data from this census are conserved in the Mexican national archives.
When Mexican independence from Spain was achieved in 1824, the new Republic sought a process to enumerate the citizens in each of its constituent federative states and entities. Article 12 of the 1824 Constitution of Mexico expressed the intention:
A census of the whole confederation shall be taken within five years, and shall be renewed afterwards every ten years, which shall serve to designate the number of deputies to which each state is entitled. In the meantime the elections are to be regulated on the basis established in the preceding article, and the census which served to regulate the election of deputies in the congress now in session.
Official census dates
The following table lists the official dates of all the national population censuses conducted, since the first formally recognised one in 1895.
|I Censo General||1895||October 20|
|II Censo General||1900||October 28|
|III Censo General||1910||October 27|
|IV Censo General||1921||November 30|
|V Censo General||1930||May 15|
|VI Censo General||1940||March 6|
|VII Censo General||1950||June 6|
|VIII Censo General||1960||June 8|
|IX Censo General||1970||January 28|
|X Censo General||1980||June 4|
|XI Censo General||1990||March 12|
|XII Censo General||2000||February 14|
|XIII Censo General||2010||June 12|
- INEGI (n.d.)
- This locality subsequently named Nepōhualco in Classical Nahuatl, signifying "the place of enumeration".
- See for example the retelling of this tradition in Clavigero (1807, p.92), and the version of this given in INEGI (n.d.). Clavigero's account, written in the late 18th century, was based on Fray Juan de Torquemada's Monarchia Indiana, first published in 1615. Clavigero himself goes on to doubt some of what Torquemada wrote on the tale, citing aspects of it as "incredible". Nepohualco and the survey is also referenced in the codex Historia Tolteca-Chichimeca (folio 33R); see Wimmer (2006).
- Smith (2003, p.54)
- Carrera Stampa (1968, pp.6–7 [in reproduction]).
- INEGI (n.d.), Smith (2003, pp.57–58).
- Vera Bolaños & Pimienta Lastra (1998, p.4)
- Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States (1824) Archived March 18, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- Carrera Stampa, Manuel (January 1968). "Relaciones geográficas de Nueva España siglos XVI y XVIII" (PDF online reproduction). Estudios de historia novohispana (in Spanish). México, D.F.: Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas – Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. 2: 233–261. ISSN 0425-3574. OCLC 1771954.
- Clavigero, Francesco Saverio (1807) . The history of Mexico. Collected from Spanish and Mexican historians, from manuscripts, and ancient paintings of the Indians. Illustrated by charts, and other copper plates. To which are added, critical dissertations on the land, the animals, and inhabitants of Mexico, 2 vols. Translated from the original Italian, by Charles Cullen, Esq. (2nd ed.). London: J. Johnson. OCLC 54014738.
- INEGI [Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Geografía e Informática] (n.d.). "Caracterización general". Censos y conteos: Censo general de población y vivienda 2000 (in Spanish). INEGI. Archived from the original on 2011-06-13. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
- Kennedy, William (1841). Texas: The Rise, Progress, And Prospects Of The Republic Of Texas. In Two Volumes. Vol. 2 (2nd ed.). London: R. Hastings. OCLC 1547326.
- Smith, Michael E. (2003). The Aztecs (2nd ed.). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 0-631-23015-7. OCLC 48579073.
- Vera Bolaños, Marta; Rodrigo Pimienta Lastra (1998). El registro de la población en el Estado de México durante el siglo XIX (PDF online reproduction). Documentos de Investigación, No. 12. Zinacantepec, Mex.: El Colegio Mexiquense. OCLC 62300903. (in Spanish)
- Wimmer, Alexis (2006). "NEPOHUALCO" (online version, incorporating reproductions from Dictionnaire de la langue nahuatl ou mexicaine , by Rémi Siméon). Dictionnaire de la langue nahuatl classique. Retrieved 2008-07-10. (in French) (in Nahuatl)