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This text "Unlike cards used for census work, in which punched-hole locations represented personal characteristics such as age or marital status, the new cards were entirely numeric; a single digit could be recorded in each column by a hole in one of ten positions." seems to confuse the new card layout with the data recorded.
The new card layout has a numeric description of each punched location, column number and row number, but that does not mean "the new cards were entirely numeric". Just like cards used for census work punched-hole locations can represent personal characteristics such as age or marital status -- or anything else! For example, represented in one column of the new card could be (row number followed by the represented personal characteristics): 1 female single, 2 female married, 3 male single, 4 male married, 5 female child, 6 male child. All personal characteristics, no digits.