Russian Empire Census

Russian Empire Census

The Russian Empire Census of 1897 was the first and the only census carried out in the Russian Empire. It recorded demographic data as of OldStyleDate|28 January|1897|15 January.

Previously, the Central Statistical Bureau issued statistical tables based on fiscal lists (ревизские списки).

The second Russian Census was scheduled for 1915, but was cancelled because of the World War I (and never happened in the Russian Empire because of the Russian Revolution of 1917).


The census project was suggested by famous Russian geographer and chief of the Central Statistical Bureau Pyotr Semenov-Tyan-Shansky in 1877, and was approved by Tsar Nicholas II in 1895.

The census was performed in two stages. In the first stage (December 1896 — January 1897) the counters (135,000 persons: literate soldiers, teachers and priests) visited all households and filled in the questionnaires, which were verified by local census managers. In the second stage (OldStyleDateDY|9 January|1898|28 December 1897) the counters simultaneously visited all households to verify and update the questionnaires.

The data processing took 8 years using Hollerith card machines. Publication of the results started in 1898 and ended in 1905. In total, 119 volumes for 89 "guberniyas", as well as a two-volume summary, were issued.

The questionnaire contained the following questions:
*Family name, given name, patronymic or nickname (прозвище)
*Relation with respect to the head of the family or household
*Marital status
*Social status: "sosloviye" (estate of the realm), rank or title (сословие, состояние, звание)
*Place of birth
*Place of registration
*Usual place of residence
*Notice of absence
*Mother language
*Occupation (profession, trade, position of office or service), both primary and secondary

In the census summary tables, nationality was based on the declared mother language of respondents.

Census results

The results of the census are too broad to publish, but its online Russian version can be found here: [] .

The total population of the Russian Empire was recorded to be 125,640,021 people (50.2 % female, 49.8 % male).

By native tongue

The most spoken languages, from which nationality was determined were:
*Slavic tongues:
**Russian language: 83,933,567
***Great Russian (i.e., Russian): 55,667,469
***Little Russian (i.e.,Ukrainian):22,380,551
***White Russian (i.e., Belarusian): 5,885,547
**Polish: 7,931,307
**Czech (inc. Slovak): 50,385
**Serbian, Croatian and Slovenian: 1,815
**Bulgarian: 172,659
*Lithuanio-Latvian tongues:
**Lithuanian: 1,210,510
**Zhmud (Samogitian): 448,022
**Latvian: 1,435,937
*Roman tongues
**Moldavian and Romanian: 1,121,669
**French: 16,433
**Italian: 4,760
**Spanish and Portuguese: 138
*Germanic tongues
**German: 1,790,489

Largest cities

Largest cities of the Empire according to the census (thousands of inhabitants):

* Saint-Petersburg — 1264,9
* Moscow — 1038,6
* Warsaw — 626
* Odessa — 403,8
* Łódź — 314
* Riga — 282,2
* Kiev — 247,7
* Kharkov — 174
* Tiflis (Tbilisi) — 159,6
* Wilno (Vilnius) — 154,5
* Saratov — 137,1
* Kazan — 130
* Rostov-on-Don — 119,5
* Tula — 114,7
* Astrakhan — 112,9
* Yekaterinoslav (Dnepropetrovsk) — 112,8
* Baku — 111,9
* Kishinev (Chişinău) — 108,5
* Helsingfors (Helsinki) — 93
* Nikolayev — 92
* Minsk — 90,9
* Nizhny Novgorod — 90,1
* Samara — 90
* Orenburg — 72,4
* Yaroslavl — 71,6
* Vitebsk — 65,9
* Yekaterinodar (Krasnodar) — 65,6
* Tsaritsyn (Volgograd) — 55,2
* Ivanovo-Voznesensk (Ivanovo) — 54,2
* Tomsk — 52,2
* Omsk — 37,3


* "Первая всеобщая перепись населенiя Россiйской Имперiи". Под редакцiею Н. А. Тройницкаго. — СПб.: Изданiе центральнаго статистическаго комитета министерства внутреннихъ делъ, 1905. (The First Total Census of Russian Empire. A publication of the central statictical bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Editor N. A. Troynitsky.)
* "РОССИЯ. Полное Географическое Описание Нашего Отечества". Под ред. П. П. Семенова-Тян-Шанского. — СПб., 1913. (Semenov-Tyan-Shanskiy, P. P. (Ed.): "RUSSIA. Complete Geographical Description of our Fatherland". — St. Petersburg, 1913. This latter work reproduces most of the results of the census, and is a good deal easier to find in western libraries than the original publication.)
* [ Первая всеобщая перепись населения Российской Империи 1897 г. Распределение населения по родному языку и регионам] (First General Russian Empire Census of 1897. Population breakdown by mother tongue and regions) ( ru icon

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