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 third in a series of blog posts on the 1950 census.

 

The 1950 censuses of population, housing, and agriculture were intended to provide comprehensive, authoritative, and official records of the people, their homes, and their farming activities.  Many uses were made of the compiled data:  

 

  • Congress determined the number of members of the House of Representatives to which each State was entitled.
  • State legislatures established Congressional districts and apportioned representation in state legislative bodies.
  • Cities and towns determined the need for expansion of schools and other public services.
  • Governmental and private agencies analyzed characteristics and location of the labor force, occupational skills, extent of unemployment, sources of new workers, and so forth.
  • Businessmen could decide where and how much of their product they could sell and measure other features of their market.
  • The quantity and quality of our housing supply and numbers and characteristics of low-income families were useful to governmental and private agencies concerned with economic and social problems.
  • Information on land values, farm acreage, farm tenancy, types and quantities of crops, and so forth, was useful for farm organizations, public agencies, and others, and often formed the basis for legislative and administrative programs.
  • Comparing 1950 census data with those of previous censuses would provide information about changes in the characteristics and geographical distribution of our population.
  • The results of the 1950 census would help the Bureau of the Census assure greater accuracy in surveys conducted between decennial census years.

 

Note:  Of the various data collection forms used during the 1950 census, only the population schedules survive - as microfilmed by the Bureau of the Census in 1952. The 1950 agricultural schedules for individual farms are not extant.  Housing information for individual households is also not extant; this information was collected on the reverse (back) side of the population schedule, but that side of the form was not microfilmed in 1952.

 

Adapted from Urban and Rural Enumerator’s Reference Manual, 1950 Census of the United States, pages 1-2.