Population Census of Egypt, 1848
The individual-level samples of the 1848 and 1868 Population Censuses of Egypt were digitized, created, and codified by Professor Mohamed Saleh, with the help of a data entry team, from the original handwritten Arabic census registers preserved at the National Archives of Egypt. The digitization project took place at the premises of the National Archives of Egypt between 2010 and 2012. The census registers, the census sample design, and the sample characteristics are described in detail in Saleh (2013). Professor Saleh is the copyright holder of the dataset. Hence, users who wish to download and use this dataset in their work are required to use the following citation:
The sample description in this document draws on Saleh (2013). This document and the public dissemination of the census sample have been done in collaboration between Professor Saleh and IPUMS International.
The 1848 and 1868 Egyptian censuses are among the earliest precolonial individual-level population censuses from any non-Western country, and the earliest in the Middle East and North Africa to enumerate females, children, and slaves, and not only adult free men or household heads.
In 1845, the autonomous Ottoman viceroy of Egypt, Muhammad Ali Pasha (1805-1848) ordered the beginning of a nationwide population census (known in Arabic at the time as Ti'dad al-Nufus). The translated original 1848 census order can be found in Cuno and Reimer (1997, 213-6). The census operations started in rural provinces in early 1846 and were then extended to urban provinces in 1847. However, most of the census registers belong to 1848.
Although there were several enumerations that took place in the 1850s under the viceroys Abbas I (1848-1854) and Said (1854-1863), these were geographically scattered and did not constitute a nationwide census. The second nationwide population census of Egypt took place 20 years later between 1865 and 1869, during the reign of Ali's grandson, Khedive Ismail (1863-1879). Most of the second census registers belong to 1868. The 1868 census did not cover the whole country.
The breakdown of the enumeration by province for both censuses is discussed in detail in Saleh (2013). The population universe for both the 1848 and 1868 censuses includes all individuals (Egyptians and foreigners) who were present within the political boundaries of Egypt at the time, including the Nile delta and valley, Sinai, and the Western and Eastern Egyptian deserts. However, the geographic coverage varied across the two censuses.
The 1848 and 1868 population census were never published in census reports with aggregated tabulations, which is the standard practice in modern censuses, probably due to the lack of a statistical bureau. Instead, only the individual-level census returns were recorded in over 7,000 handwritten census registers that have been preserved at the National Archives of Egypt since then. Because they were never published, while the subsequent 1882 census was published, it has been long believed (wrongly) that the first population census of Egypt was conducted in 1882, following the British occupation of Egypt in May 1882, because the 1882 census was published. The 1848 and 1868 censuses were long forgotten before they were "discovered" by Egyptian historians in the 1980s.
The enumeration procedure in both the 1848 and 1868 censuses was direct and followed the de facto concept. Enumeration was done by census takers in cities and by village headmen in rural provinces. The 1848 census was conducted over three years (1846-1848), whereas the 1868 census was conducted over five years (1865-1869). In both censuses, certain geographic units were enumerated more than once, perhaps due to under-enumeration in the earlier attempts. For each geographic unit, only the most recent enumeration (census register) is employed in the sampling frame of the censuses.
No questionnaire form was used in either census. Instead, the census returns were recorded directly by scribes in handwritten registers of household and individual characteristics as well as housing conditions, as. In both the 1848 and 1868 censuses, the smallest geographic unit is the street address in Cairo and Alexandria, the quarter (shiyakha) in other urban provinces, and the village sub-section (hissa) in rural provinces. The dwelling unit definition employed in enumeration is any unit used as a residence, including marginal living quarters not intended as such (e.g., cemeteries). The household definition used is a person or a group of persons, Egyptians or foreigners, connected or unconnected with blood relation, sharing the same living quarter, food and spending the night together. This includes slaves and free people (including servants). The exception to this are military personnel residing in military barracks, who were enumerated by the ministry of defense, foreign non-Ottoman subjects, who were enumerated by their consulates, and Cairo notables in 1848 (the latter were enumerated in 1868), who were enumerated at the household level only. However, military personnel residing outside barracks are enumerated. Also, foreign non-Ottoman subjects are actually recorded in the census registers at the household head level, with a note that they are to be enumerated by their respective consulates. Arab Bedouin tribes whether settled or nomadic are enumerated in separate registers.
The 1848 census covered nearly 92% of the true population in 18 provinces and 52% in 1868 in 10 provinces, where the true population is estimated based on the 1882 census. Both censuses enumerated slaves and Arab Bedouin tribes (settled or nomadic).
The 1848 sample is a 1% sample (8-10% in Cairo and Alexandria), totaling 80,028 observations; and the 1868 sample is a 1% sample (10-12% in Cairo and Alexandria) totaling 78,415 observations. Both samples are stratified by province. The target sample size in each province was decided based on the predetermined sampling rate of 8-10 percent in Cairo and Alexandria and 1 percent in all the other provinces. Because there is not a priori information about the population size of each province in 1848 and 1868, the province population is estimated based on the population share of the province out of Egypt's total population in the 1882 population census. Egypt's total population size in 1848 is 4,476,439, based on Alleaume and Fargues (1998)'s estimate. The population size in 1868 is estimated assuming a constant annual growth rate between 1848 and 1882.
Systematic sampling by page is applied to the entirety of the registers of each province. Specifically, an initial page within a range of pages (x) is randomly chosen, and the successive pages every x pages are selected until the end of the province's registers. The page range (x) is determined a priori based on the target sample size and the average number of individual records in the page for each province.
Person sampling weights are needed to adjust for the different sampling rates across provinces, and for the non-enumeration of certain provinces. Details about their calculation are described below.
 Endowed Waqf
 Private endowment
 Charity endowment
 Owned endowment
 Mosque endowment
 State ownership
 Emancipated slave/Mamluk
 Without disability
 Not enumerated
(2) Al-Qusayr in 1848 is over-weighted to represent the missing Suez.
(3) Al-Arish in 1868 is over-weighted to represent al-Qusayr and Suez.
(4) Al-Daqahliya and al-Sharqiya in 1868 are over-weighted to represent the other missing Lower Egypt provinces (al-Qalyubiya, al-Gharbiya, al-Minoufiya, al-Buhayra).
(5) Giza, Bani-Souayf, Fayuum, and Asyut in 1868 are over-weighted to represent the other missing Upper Egypt provinces (Minya, Girga, Qena, Aswan).