Horse and Mule Population Statistics

U.S. Census data shows how the horse and mule population of the United States grew dramatically between 1840 and 1920. In 1840, census records documented 4.3 million horses and mules. The population peaked in 1910 at 27.5 million, more than 600% higher than in 1840. What does the overall growth of horses and mules during the nineteenth century suggest about the relationship between animal power and the introduction of new mechanical technologies, including the steam engine?

Rather than a steady increase, the census data shows periods of relatively lower and higher population growth between censuses. Why do you think certain decades might have witnessed more rapid population growth while others relatively lower?

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