Historical census information comes in two formats: raw census schedules and public reports. The raw census schedules contain information about specific individuals. The public reports contain demographic information about geographic areas.
Census, 1840-1920, Iowa
UNI Microfilm HA 371.5
The raw census schedules on microfilm contain information specific to individuals. These schedules are released 72 years after each census. For the 1880, 1900, and 1920 censuses, there is an index/soundex to individuals which helps researchers locate individuals when they know a geographic location of a person but not the exact spelling of that person's name. For 1890, there are no raw census schedules available, as most of this census was destroyed in a fire.
Data available from these schedules varies from year to year, and may include such items as name and age, number of years in the U.S., marital status, whether a convict, birthplace of parents, and number of children born.
Census of the United States
UNI Docs Ref C 3.15:
Library has 1790-1960
UNI Docs Ref C 3.223:
Library has 1970-1990
Iowa was included in the U.S. Census beginning in 1840. Each of the public reports from the early censuses lists data by state. To find information about Iowa, first locate the year of interest. Then locate the report of interest. Reports include: population, race, age, nationality, occupation, agriculture, mining, manufactures, education, and many more.