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1950 Census of Population and Housing

"As in 1930 and 1950, the 1950 Census was conducted according to the terms of the Fifteenth Census Act. The enumeration began on April 1, 1950, with 90 percent of the population having been enumerated by the end of the month (weather delayed enumeration in some areas until mid-May). All but 1 percent of the population had been enumerated by the end of June 1950.

The 1950 census encompassed the continental United States, the Territories of Alaska and Hawaii, American Samoa, the Canal Zone, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands of the United States, and some of the smaller islands and island groups within the United States possession. The census also made special provisions for the enumeration of American citizens living abroad (and their dependents), including the armed forces of the United States, employees of the United States Government, and the crews of vessels in the American Merchant Marine at sea or in foreign ports.

The census of Americans living abroad was attempted through cooperative arrangements with the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the United States Maritime Administration, and other federal agencies concerned. These agencies took the responsibility for the distribution and collection of specially designed census questionnaires for individuals and households. Other persons living abroad were to be reported by their families or neighbors in the United States; however, the quality of these data was considered suspect and they were not included in the published statistics.

Procedures to improve coverage. Several aids were employed to improve the completeness of the 1950 Census coverage. The most prominent were as follows:

  • A longer and better planned period of training was provided for enumerators.
  • Each enumerator was furnished with a map of his enumeration district, showing the boundaries of the area for which they were responsible.
  • An infant card had to be completed for each baby born after January 1, 1950 (since experience had shown that babies are easily missed).
  • A crew leader was assigned to supervise each group of approximately 15 enumerators. The crew leader was responsible for helping enumerators with "problem cases" and for spot-checking a sample of the dwelling units assigned to them.
  • A special enumeration of persons in hotels, tourist courts, and other places where transients usually pay for quarters was made the night of April 11, 1950. "Missed Person" forms were published in newspapers at the end of the field canvassing operations so persons who thought they had been missed could complete a form and mail it to the district supervisors.
  • District supervisors made preliminary announcements of the population counted so that any complaints concerning the completeness of the enumeration could be submitted before the field offices were closed. If the evidence indicated an appreciable undercount, a re-enumeration of the area was conducted.
  • Rates of population change were studied to evaluate the enumerations completeness.
  • Vital and immigration statistics were used in conjunction with census data. (Since the population at a given census should represent the population at the previous census, with additions and subtractions resulting from births, deaths, and immigration, it is possible to calculate the expected population on a given census date and compare the actual total received.)

Following these procedures improved the coverage of the 1950 census over that of the 1950 census.29 (The components of population change were probably estimated more accurately during the 1950s than for the 1930s because not all states were consistently registering births and deaths until 1933.)

Post-Enumeration Survey. The 1950 census was further checked using a post-enumeration survey, in which a re-enumeration, on a sample basis, was conducted. The Census Bureau recanvassed a probability sample of about 3,500 small areas and compared these to the original census listings to identify households omitted from the enumeration. In addition to the check for omitted households, a sample of about 22,000 households was reinterviewed to determine the number of persons omitted in cases where the household had been included.

The Post-Enumeration Survey interviewers were given intensive training and supervision. Efforts were made to limit respondents to the person who was presumably best informed regarding the information desired, i.e., the person themselves. These precautions resulted in an expense per case in the Post-Enumeration Survey many times that of the original enumeration, and affordable only on a sample basis."

--Description from Measuring America: The Decennial Censuses From 1790 to 2000 (April 2002), p. 136-7.

For online access to the 1950 data, please go to the Historical Census browser.

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Publications for 1950 Census

United States Census of Population, 1950. Volume 1: Number of Inhabitants

C 3.950-7/5: 1 (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Population, 1950, Population. Volume 2: Characteristics of the Population, United States Summary.

C 3.950-7/5: v.2 pt.1 (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Population , 1950, Population. Volume 2: Characteristics of the Population. Part 2-51

There are 50 parts in this series, one for each state. See the State census page for individual records.

United States Census of Population , 1950, Population. Volume 3: Census Tract Statistics

C 3.950-7/2: (GOVPUB US)
This is a 64 part series, each tract has its own volume.

United States Census of Population , 1950, Special Reports. Employment and Personal Characteristics

C 3.940-7/6:1A (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Population , 1950, Special Reports. Occupation by Industry

C 3.950-7/6:1C (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Population, 1950, Special Reports. Industrial Characteristics.

C 3.950-7/6:1D (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Population, 1950, Special Reports. General Characteristics of Families

C 3.950-7/6:2A (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Population, 1950, Special Reports. Institutional Population

C 3.950-7/6:2C (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Population, 1950, Special Reports. Marital Status

C 3.950-7/6:2D (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Population, 1950, Special Reports. Duration of Current Marital Status

C 3.950-7/6:2E (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Population, 1950, Special Reports. Nativity and Parentage

C 3.950-7/6:3A (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Population, 1950, Special Reports. Puerto Ricans in Continental United States

C 3.950-7/6:3D (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Population, 1950, Special Reports. State of Birth

C 3.950-7/6:4A (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Population, 1950, Special Reports. Population Mobility--States and State Economic Areas

C 3.950-7/6:4B (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Population, 1950, Special Reports. Population Mobility--Farm-Nonfarm Movers

C 3.950-7/6:4C (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Population, 1950, Special Reports. Population Mobility--Characteristics of Migrants

C 3.950-7/6:4D (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Population, 1950, Special Reports. Characteristics by Size of Place

C 3.950-7/6:5A (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Population, 1950, Special Reports. Education

C 3.950-7/6:5B (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Population, 1950, Special Reports. Fertility

C 3.950-7/6:5C (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Population, 1950. Infant Enumeration Study: 1950

C 3.950-10:1 (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Population, 1950. The 1950 Censuses--How they were taken

C 3.950-10:2 (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Population, 1950. Alphabetical Index of Occupations and Industries: 1950 (revised)

C 3.950-2:Oc1/rev 950 (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Population, 1950. Classified Index of Occupations and Industries

C 3.950-2:Oc1/2 (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Population, 1950. Farms and Farm People

C 3.950-2:F22 (GOVPUB US)

American Agriculture: Its Structure and Place in the Economy

HD 1761.M48 (Norlin Stacks)

Income of the American People

HC 110.I1 M5 (Pascal Offsite)

Social Characteristics of Urban and Rural Communities

323.35 D912s (Pascal Offsite)

American Families

HQ 535.G6 (Norlin Stacks)

American Housing and Its Use: The Demand for Shelter Space

HD 7293.W58 (Pascal Offsite)

Farm Housing

HD 7289.V6 B4 (Pascal Offsite)

The Changing Population of the United States

HB 3505.T3 (Norlin Stacks)

America's Children

301.1584 B457a (Pascal Offsite)

The Older Population of the United States

HB 1545.S5 (Pascal Offsite)

The Fertility of American Women

HB 903.F4 G7 (Pascal Offsite)

The American Labor Force: Its Growth and Changing Composition

HD 5724.B33 (Pascal Offsite)

Portfolio of U.S. Census Maps: 1950

C 3.950-2:M32 (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Housing, 1950. Volume 1: General Characteristics, Part 1: United States Summary

C 3.950-8/5:v1 pt.1 (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Housing, 1950. Volume 1: General Characteristics, Part 2: Alabama-Georgia

C 3.950-8/5:v1 pt.2 (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Housing, 1950. Volume 1: General Characteristics, Part 3: Idaho-Massachusetts

C 3.950-8/5:v1 pt.3 (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Housing, 1950. Volume 1: General Characteristics, Part 4: Michigan-New York

C 3.950-8/5:v1 pt.4 (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Housing, 1950. Volume 1: General Characteristics, Part 5: North Carolina-Tennessee

C 3.950-8/5:v1 pt.5 (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Housing, 1950. Volume 1: General Characteristics, Part 6: Texas-Wyoming

C 3.950-8/5:v1 pt.6 (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Housing, 1950. Volume 1: General Characteristics, Part 7: Territories and Possessions

C 3.950-8/5:v1 pt.7 (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Housing, 1950. Volume 2: Nonfarm Housing Characteristics, Part 1: United States and Divisions

C 3.950-8/5:v2 pt.1 (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Housing, 1950. Volume 2: Nonfarm Housing Characteristics, Part 2: Akron-Des Moines

C 3.950-8/5:v2 pt.2 (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Housing, 1950. Volume 2: Nonfarm Housing Characteristics, Part 3: Detroit-Memphis

C 3.950-8/5:v2 pt.3 (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Housing, 1950. Volume 2: Nonfarm Housing Characteristics, Part 4: Miami-Salt Lake City

C 3.950-8/5:v2 pt.4 (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Housing, 1950. Volume 2: Nonfarm Housing Characteristics, Part 5: San Antonio-Youngstown

C 3.950-8/5:v2 pt.5 (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Housing, 1950. Volume 3: Farm Housing Characteristics--United States and Economic Subregions

C 3.950-8/5:v3 (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Housing, 1950. Volume 4: Residential Financing, Mortgaged Nonfarm Properties, Part 1: The United States

C 3.950-8/5:v4 pt.1 (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Housing, 1950. Volume 4: Residential Financing, Mortgaged Nonfarm Properties, Part 2: Large Standard Metropolitan Areas and Comparable Data for the United States

C 3.950-8/5:v4 pt.2 (GOVPUB US)

United States Census of Housing, 1950. Volume 5: Block Statistics

There are 213 individual reports on the blocks used in the 1950 Census, see C 3.950-8: (GOVPUB US) for these reports.

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