NARA expects to digitally release the 1950 population census schedules for researcher use on April 1, 2022, which is 72 years after the official 1950 census day of April 1, 1950. This is the second in a series of blog posts on the 1950 census.

 

The career employees of the Bureau of the Census planned the questions, forms, procedures, enumeration district boundaries, and a myriad of other necessary things for the taking of the 1950 census. However, it took a lot of people – "boots on the ground" – to actually accomplish the counting of the 152.3 million people in the United States plus its territories and possessions.

 

Item, "Technical Training Program - 1950 Census" from "[Folder 2] Flow Charts, 17th Decennial Census, 1950" (NAID 195980236), in series "Narrative Histories, Committee Minutes, and Procedural Manuals Primarily Relating to the 17th Decennial Census" (NAID 5634057).

 

Solid systematic training of field personnel was essential to a successful census, so the Bureau of the Census established a four-step plan to accomplish this critical task. First came the "Chief Instructors School" during December 12-30, 1949, for the 26 chief instructors who would be expert trainers in field operations, population, agriculture, personnel, social statistics, and geography.

 

Next came the "Instructors Schools" from January 9 to March 3, 1950. Classes were held in Washington, DC, to teach 250 instructors; in Saint Louis, Missouri, to teach 100 instructors; and in San Francisco, California, to teach 50 instructors.

 

Third, most of the newly trained instructors fanned out across the country to train 8,300 Crew Leaders at 508 locations from March 8 to 22, 1950. Census district supervisors and assistant supervisors also attended these classes.

 

Finally, the newly-mined Crew Leaders trained 140,000 Enumerators at "not more than 5,000 training locations" from March 27 to 31, 1950, which was just in time to begin the enumeration on the official census day of April 1, 1950!  This, by the way, was about 20,000 more enumerators than were needed for the 1940 census!

 

Enumerator interviewing a family for the census: "Enumeration," 1940 Census (NAID 6200775).