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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.  This is the 35th in a series of blog posts on the 1950 censusAuthor’s Note:  This and all 1950 census posts are subject to revision if further research determines that our understanding of the topic was in error.

 

Every 10 years, “The Big Count” kept getting bigger and more challenging to successfully complete.  Thus, the 1950 Census was the last time enumerators personally visited most households with large multi-family census sheets.  During subsequent censuses, households received enumeration forms in the mail and often mailed them back to the Census Bureau.

 

With an eye toward the future, the Census Bureau in 1950 tested self-enumeration with household forms in Ingham and Livingston Counties, Michigan, and Franklin County, Ohio. Household forms were also tested in selected Enumeration Districts (EDs) in Genesee County, Michigan, and in Coshocton, Defiance, Delaware, Fulton, Henry, Knox, Licking, Lucas, Ottawa, Paulding, Putnam, Richland, Van Wert, and Williams Counties, Ohio, but the enumerators completed the forms for households in those areas.

 

There were actually five different enumeration procedures used during the 1950 census, with Procedures II, III, IV, and V used in the experimental Michigan and Ohio areas:

 

  • Procedure I – The regular census procedure used throughout most of the United States, with households recorded by an enumerator on the standard Form P1, 1950 Census of Population and Housing, that had space for 40 persons per page.
  • Procedure II – Enumeration on a household schedule, Form P10, and Form P11. If the household was not at home or the enumerator was unable to complete the interview on the P11, the enumerator was to leave the form with an explanatory letter (Form P11A) at the household and pick it up later.
  • Procedure III – Enumeration on a household schedule, Form P12A or Form P13A, which the enumerator left at the dwelling unit for later pick up by the enumerator.  Form P12A instructed the recipient:  “A Census Enumerator called at your house but did not find anyone at home.  Accordingly, you are requested to fill out this form.  The enumerator will return to pick it up within 3 days.”
  • Procedure IV – Enumeration on a household schedule, Form P12B or Form P13B, which was “left to be filled out by the head of the household and mailed to the District Office if no one was at home to give the required information to the enumerator on his first visit.”
  • Procedure V – Self-enumeration on a household schedule, Form P12C or P13C.  These were distributed by persons called “listers” shortly before the April 1 census date, with instructions for the household itself to fill out its schedule and mail it to the District Office.  This procedure will be described in more detail below.  The Bureau found that public response to Procedure V was “highly gratifying” and that “over 95 percent of the schedules left were filled out and returned by the respondents.”  This procedure was conducted solely in Ingham and Livingston Counties, Michigan, and Franklin County, Ohio.

 

The Census Bureau concluded that household schedules had several advantages over large multi-household “line schedules” such as: 

  • It was more convenient for the enumerator in the field. It was a better interviewing tool because the enumerator could show the wording of the questions to people without violating the confidential answers of others.
  • It was more convenient for the clerks in Washington, DC, who collated family statistics.
  • It could be left for self-enumeration.

 

On the other hand, household schedules were more costly to print, handle, and process.  This problem was likely also experienced 60 years earlier by the temporary 11th Census Office while handling, compiling, and analyzing the household forms used nationwide during the 1890 census. 

 

Self-enumeration had been done in “many countries” and the Bureau’s own “small-scale pretests” prior to 1950 had indicated that were some cost savings to be achieved by the use of self-enumeration.  However, the Bureau’s not determined whether the quality of data collected by self-enumeration outweighed the extra printing, shipping, and handling costs.  Therefore, in 1950 the Bureau conducted “large scale” experiments with the five different procedures.

 

Procedure V, self-enumeration, was summarized by the Bureau as follows:

 

(1)  Each lister was assigned to canvass and list one or more Enumeration Districts (EDs) – and to complete this process by March 31, 1950.

 

(2)  Training for each lister required about half the time necessary for training the standard census procedure (Procedure I) to regular enumerators because the lister was not trained on the nuances of definitions and concepts involved in the various questions on the schedule. However, he or she was instructed on:

 

(a) Whom to report to and obtain answers from for any questions asked by respondents.

(b) Definition of a dwelling unit.

(c) Definition of places for which an agricultural questionnaire was required. [Questionnaires for individual farms are not extant.]

(d) Specified housing items to be entered by him [her], such as dilapidation.

(e) Circumstances calling for special forms, such as Individual Census Report (ICR), Infant Card, or New Occupant Card.

(f)  Mechanics of listing procedure and entries to be made on the various forms.

 

(3)  The lister visited every dwelling in the Enumeration District to accomplish these tasks:

(a)  The lister Identified dwelling units and left a schedule at each.  If the household was assigned a sample schedule, the lister left Individual Census Reports (Form P2) for any unrelated persons and asked the respondent to also list these persons on the schedule for the household.  Whenever necessary, Infant Cards (Form P3) were also provided.  At each vacant unit, a New Occupant Card was left.  If no one was at home, the lister obtained needed information from neighbors and left the schedules.  A letter printed on the schedule itself requested the respondent to mail it in.

 

(b)  The lister identified non-dwelling unit quarters.  For places on the “T-Night” list, institutions, and other special types of living quarters, the lister returned a schedule marked “Void” to the District Office.  This group of schedules served as a list of special living quarters for follow-up by enumerators.  For other non-dwelling unit quarters, the lister wrote the names of all residents on the schedule before leaving it with Individual Census Reports (ICRs – Form P2).

 

(c)  The lister determined whether to leave an agricultural questionnaire by filling out section I of the Form A1, Agriculture Questionnaire (in both urban and rural areas) for every farm or ranch, every place of three or more acres, and every place with specialized agricultural operations.  A special letter was left with each agriculture questionnaire, requesting the respondent to fill it out and mail it to the local Census Office.  [Questionnaires for individual farms are not extant.]

 

(d)  The lister filled out a line on a listing sheet for each listing unit (dwelling unit, non-dwelling unit quarters, “T-Night” place, institution, or other special type of living quarters, and place for which an Agriculture Questionnaire was required but not tied to a household in the Enumeration District (such as when the farm owner lived in a different Enumeration District).  The information entered on the listing sheet served as a control on the completeness of listing and on the sampling.

 

(e)  The lister prepared a map for the Enumeration District that corresponded to his or her work in the ED as follows:

    • The lister divided the Enumeration District into blocks, street segments, or road segments.
    • If the Enumeration District could not be divided into blocks he or she identified the location of the units listed by entering serial numbers for each street or road segment or for each unit.
    • He made the entry “No D.U.” on his map for each block or street or road segment for which he had no dwelling units listed.

 

(4)  The lister worked with pads consisting of 50 Population and Housing schedules and a listing sheet.  There was a one-to-one correspondence between the schedules in the pad and the lines to be filled in on the listing sheet.  The 50 schedules consisted of 10 sets of 5 schedules:  4 non-sample and 1 sample form.  The pad system constituted a major control of the sampling operations.

 

(5)  The lister also addressed a follow-up letter for each dwelling unit at which schedules were left.  These letters were turned in to the District office with his or her portfolio.  The listers were paid on a piece price basis for each listing and for each follow-up letter addressed.  In addition, a mileage allowance was paid in rural areas.

 

(6)  Schedules received in the District Office were checked in and the follow-up letters corresponding to schedules received were discarded.  About a week after April 1, the the remaining follow-up letters were counted and mailed out.  Simultaneously, the schedules received in the District Office were edited (checked) for completeness.  All office personnel for editing and other operations were selected from among the listers and paid an hourly rate. Whenever possible, incompleteness in a schedule was cleared up by making a telephone call to the respondent.  Starting April 10, however, callbacks were also made by enumerators working out of the District office for:

(a) Schedules not received

(b) Incomplete schedules that could not be completed by a telephone call

 

Enumerators for this follow-up operation were selected from among the listers and given the standard Census enumerator training.  They were paid on an hourly rate basis plus mileage allowance.  The number of enumerators used for the follow-up operation was about one-fifth the number of listers.

 

The “T-Night” and “missed persons” procedures were the same as in the standard Census procedure (Procedure I).  Institutions and other special living quarters were covered by a separate centralized follow-up operation.

 

Public response to Procedure V was “highly gratifying” and that “over 95 percent of the schedules left were filled out and returned by the respondents.”  However, “a detailed evaluation of the success of the procedure from a technical point of view” had to “wait on the analysis of the time and cost records—and on the results of the special post-enumeration survey being conducted to obtain information on the quality of the data furnished by the respondents who filled out their own schedules.”

 

____________

 

Main sources of information for this post:

 

(1)  “Binder 98-A – Memorandums Concerning Procedures II and III, 1950 Census” (NAID 208134154), in “Reference Materials, 1948-1950” (NAID 2990119), Record Group (RG) 29, Records of the Bureau of the Census, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC.  Materials in this file describe the differences in all five procedures and outlines Procedure V.

 

(2) “Binder 106-A – Memorandums Concerning Procedure V, 1950 Census” (NAID 208134180), in “Reference Materials, 1948-1950” (NAID 2990119), Record Group (RG) 29. Bureau staff member Charles Merzel served as “Washington trainer and technical adviser” for the Procedure V census operation in Franklin County, Ohio, during March and April 1950.  His 10-page memorandum and related materials provide much insight into the personnel, logistical, and enumeration procedures and problems faced in implementing Procedure V.  In addition, it includes lists of forms used in Procedures II, III, IV, and V.

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.  This is the 34th in a series of blog posts on the 1950 census.

 

Forma P93, Censo de Población y Viviendas:  1950, Puerto Rico (Form P93, Census of Population and Housing:  1950, Puerto Rico) was the form used by enumerators in that U.S. possession.  Written entirely in Spanish, its basic population and demographic questions for 40 persons on each sheet were similar to those asked in the Continental United States.  There were no questions for “sample” persons.  Questions concerning the characteristics of housing were asked on the reverse side.

Front side of Forma 93, Censo de Poblacion y Viviendas:  1950, Puerto Rico (Form 93, 1950 Census of Population and Housing, Puerto Rico)

Image:  Front side, Forma P93, Censo de Población y Viviendas: 1950,  Puerto Rico

 

“Heading Items” at the top of the form identify where the enumeration took place, adjusted to reflect the political subdivisions used in that possession:

  • Item a.  Municipio
  • Item b.  Barrio
  • Item c.  Enumeration District (D. de E.) number
  • Item d.  Hotel, Case de Huéspedes, Institución, Puesto Militar, etc., with name, type, and line numbers
  • Item e.  La enumeración de esta hoja empezó el (date sheet started)
  • Item f.  Firma del enumerador (enumerator’s signature)
  • Item h.  Examinado por (jefe de grupo) on (date) (Checked by (crew leader's name) on (date)).
  • Hoja Numero (Sheet Number)

 

“Para Jefe de Familia" (For Head of Household) items in columns 1 to 3 ask questions about the household’s dwelling place:

  • Item 1.  Nombre de la calle, avenida, carretera o camino  ("Name of street, avenue, or road")
  • Item 2.  Número de la casa (y del apartamiento) ("House (and apartment) number")
  • Item 3.  Número de la vivienda en orden de la visita (“Serial number of dwelling unit” was assigned by the enumerator in order of visitation)

 

“Para Toda Persona" (Questions for All Persons) Items in columns 4 to 15 are similar to those on the Form P1, discussed previously at 1950 Census:  Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule “Questions for All Persons” except for different birthplace options in item 9 and "single" as an additional marital status option in item 10.  In addition, questions concerning educational attainment were asked of all persons in Puerto Rico; in the Continental U.S., the same or similar questions were asked only of persons on sample lines on the Form P1, as discussed in 1950 Census:  Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule Questions 21 to 28 for All Persons on “Sample” Lines

  • Item 4.  Cuál es el nombre del jefe de la familia?  Cuáles son los nombres de todas las otras personas que viven aquí?  A note en el orden siguiente:  Jefe, su esposa, hijos solteros (en el orden de edad), hijos casados y sus familias, otros parientes, otras personas, tales como alojados, sirvientes que viven en la casa, y sus parientes (Apellido paterno y materno (si la persona lo usa) y nombre de pila)
  • Item 5.  Relación.  A note el parentesco, vinculo, o relación de la persona con el jefe de familia, como Jefe, esposa, hija, nieto, suegro, alojado, esposa del alojado, sirvienta, paciente, etc.
  • Item 6.  Color o raza - "B" for Blanco, "Col" for de color, negro o mulato, and Otra raza - especifique
  • Item 7.  Sexo. "M" for masculino o "F" for feminino
  • Item 8.  ¿Qué edad tenía en su último cumpleaños? (Si menos de un año, anote el mes en el cual nació, como abril, mayo, dec., etc.)
  • Item 9.  ¿En qué municipio nació?  Si nació fuera de Puerto Rico, anote el país
  • Item 10.  Estado Civil con "C" for casado, "UC" for en unión consensual, "V" for Viudo, "D" for Divorciado, and "S" for soltero
  • Item 11.  ¿Sabe esta persona leer y escribir?  (Si o No)
  • Item 12.  Cuál es el grado más alto que esta persona ha asistido en la escuela? (Vea clave al pie de la hoja)
  • Item 13.  ¿Fué aprobado este grado?  (Si o No)
  • Item 14.  ¿Ha asistido a la escuela en cualquier período después de febrero 1?
  • Item 15.  ¿Sabe esta persona hablar inglés?  (Si o No)

 

Para Toda Personal de 14 Anos o Mas de Edad (Questions for Persons 14 years of Age and Over) in columns 16 to 25 asked basic employment questions that were similar to those asked on the Form P1 in the continental United States discussed in 1950 Census:  Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule "Questions for Persons Age 14 Years and Over"  Part I.  In addition, males were asked about their military service, and women were asked how many children they had given birth to, and and all persons were asked about their income.

  • Item 16.  ¿Qué estaba haciendo esta persona la semana pasada?  (Vea clave al pie de la hoja)
  • Item 17.  Además durante la semana pasada, ¿hizo algún trabajo por parga o ganancia? (o algún trabajo sin paga para un familiar) (Si o No)
  • Item 18.  ¿Buscó trabajo la semana pasada?  (Si o No)
  • Item 19.  ¿Tenia un empleo o negocio en el cual no trabajó la semana pasada?  (Si o No)
  • Item 20.  Si "T" en la 16 or "Si" en la 17, ¿Cuantas horas trabajo la semana pasada?  (Incluya trabajo sin paga para un familiar)
  • Item 21.  ¿Cuantás semanas trabajó en 1949?  (Haga esta pregunta a toda persona de 14 años o más de edad) (Anote número) o "O")
  • Items 23a, 23b, and 23c, were to be asked of those who answered "T" in item 16; "Si" (yes) in items 17, 18, or 19; or worked at least one week in 1949 (item 21).
    • Item 22a.  ¿Cuál fué su ocupación? [Same as Form P1 Item 20a].
    • Item 22b.  ¿En qué negocio o industria trabajó?  [Same as Form P1 Item 20b].
    • Item 22c.  Clase de trabajador  (Class of Worker) indicated broad employment categories, with “J” por un patrone parivado (private employers); “G” por el gobierno (government employers); “S” por cuenta propia (persons who owned their own business); and "F" por familiar sin paga (persons who worked without pay on a family farm or business).  [Same as Form P1 Item 20c].
  • Items 23a, 23b, and 23c asked about income in 1949:
    • Item 23a.  ¿Cuánto dinero ganó en jornales o sueldos el año pasado? 
    • Item 23b.  ¿Cuánto dinero ganó en su propio negocio, profesión, o finca el año pasado?
    • Item 23c.  ¿Cuánto dinero recibió en intereses, dividendos, asignaciones de veteranos, pensiones, rentas u otros ingresos el año pasado?
  • Item 24.  Para cada hombre, ¿Ha servido en las Fuerzas Armadas de los Estados Unidos durante (24a) II Guerra Mundial, (24b) I Guerra Mundial, and (24c) Otro servicio (Incluye servicio actual)?  [Same as Form P1 Items 33a, 33b, and 33c]. (Military service).
  • Item 25.  ¿Para cada mujer, número de hijos nacidos vivos due ha tenido?  (Number of children born to a woman.)

 

Housing Questions on the reverse side of the form asked about the characteristics of dwelling units occupied by up to 12 households on the front of the form, including condition, whether it included a business unit, exterior materials, decade of construction, ownership, rental value, number of rooms, and type of water supply, toilet, bathtub or shower, refrigerator, and lighting.  The reverse side was not microfilmed by the Bureau of the Census when the front side (population) was filmed.  Therefore, information about specific dwelling units is not available.  Compiled data was published as Census of Housing:  1950 (Washington:  Government Printing Office, 1953), Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, and other publications.

Reverse side of Forma 93, Censo de Poblacion y Viviendas:  1950, Puerto Rico (Form 93, 1950 Census of Population and Housing, Puerto Rico)

Image:  Reverse side, Forma P93, Censo de Población y Viviendas: 1950,  Puerto Rico

 

 

This is the final post in our overseas journey examining forms used in U.S. territories and possessions.  Previous posts discussed:

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.  This is the 33rd in a series of blog posts on the 1950 census.

 

Form P97, 1950 Census of Population and Housing - Virgin Islands (United States), was the form used by enumerators in that U.S. possession.  The form’s basic population and demographic questions for 30 persons on each sheet were similar to those asked in the Continental United States.  There were no questions for “sample” persons.  Questions concerning the characteristics of housing were asked on the reverse side.

 

Front side of Form P97, 1950 Census of Population and Housing - Virgin Islands of the United States.  This side shows the population questions.

Image:  Front side, Form P97, 1950 Census of Population and Housing – Virgin Islands (United States)

Population Questions

 

“Heading Items” at the top of the form identify where the enumeration took place, adjusted to reflect the political subdivisions used in that possession:

  • Item a.  Island
  • Item b.  City or Town, or if outside city limits, indicate "rural."
  • Item c.  Quarter
  • Item d.  Enumeration District (E.D.) number
  • Item d.  Date Sheet Started
  • Item e.  Institution, Hotel, Large Rooming House, etc. - name, type, line numbers on this sheet
  • Item f.  Date Sheet Started
  • Item g.  Enumerator’s Signature
  • Item h.  Checked by (crew leader's name) on (date).
  • Sheet Number

 

 

“For Head of Household” items in columns 1 to 5 ask questions about the household’s dwelling place:

  • Item 1. "Name of street, avenue, or road."
  • Item 2.  "House (and apartment) number."
  • Item 3. “Serial number of dwelling unit” was assigned by the enumerator in order of visitation.
  • Item 4. “Is this house on a farm?" (Yes/No).
  • Item 5.  Agricultural Questionnaire Number [these questionnaires are not extant]

 

“Questions for All Persons” Items in columns 6 to 15 are similar to those on the Form P1, discussed previously at 1950 Census:  Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule “Questions for All Persons” except for fewer race options in item 8, an additional marriage option in item 11, and different birthplace options in item 12.  In addition, questions concerning educational attainment were asked of all persons in the Virgin Islands; in the Continental U.S., the same or similar questions were asked only of persons on sample lines on the Form P1, as discussed in 1950 Census:  Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule Questions 21 to 28 for All Persons on “Sample” Lines.

  • Item 6.  Name.  "What is the name of the head of this household?  What are the names of all other persons who live here?  List in this order:  The head; His wife; Unmarried sons and daughters (in order of age); Married sons and daughters and their families; Other relatives; Other persons, such as lodgers, roomers, maids or hired hands who live in, and their relatives." 
  • Item 7.  Relationship, such as head, wife, daughter, grandson, mother-in-law, lodger, lodger’s wife, maid, hired hand, patient, and so forth.
  • Item 8.  Race, with standard abbreviations “W” for white, “Neg” for Negro, and "Mix" for Mixed. Designations of other races were to be written out in full.
  • Item 9.  Sex, with “M” for male and “F” for female.
  • Item 10.  Age.  "How old was he [she] on his [her] last birthday?  (If under one year of age, enter month of birth, as May, June, Dec., etc.)"
  • Item 11.  Marital status.  “Is he [she] now married, consensually married, widowed, divorced, separated, or never married?” Standard abbreviations were “M” for married, "CM" for consensually married, “Wd” for widowed, “D” for divorced, “Sep” for separated, and “Nev” for never married.  “Nev” was to be recorded if a person’s only marriage had been annulled.  "Persons reported as "consensually married" comprise those persons living together as husband and wife by mutual consent," according to 1950 Census of Population: Volume 2, Characteristics of the Population, Part 54 (Washington:  Government Printing Office, 1953), page 65.  "CM" was also a category used in Puerto Rico in the 1950 census, and the term was more fully explained in the introductory material for the statistics of that possession as "persons living together in a common-law marriage without a civil or religious ceremony." 1950 Census of Population:  Volume 2, Characteristics of the Population, Part 53 (Washington:  Government Printing Office, 1953), page VI.
  • Item 12. Birthplace. "Where was he [she] born?" Standard answers were "VI" for Virgin Islands of the United States, "US" for continental United States, or, if born elsewhere, the name of the U.S. Territory, possession, or foreign country.
  • Item 13.  Citizenship status.  "If foreign born, is he [she] naturalized?"  Standard answers were “Y” for yes, “N” for no, or “AP” for born abroad or at sea of American parents.
  • Item 14.  "What is the highest full grade of school that he [she] has attended?"  Standard abbreviations were:
    • O (zero) - none
    • S1 to S12 for 1st to 12th grades
    • C1 to C4 for 1st to 4th years of college or professional school immediately after high school
    • C5 - One or more year of graduate or professional school after the 4th year of college
  • Item 15.  For persons age 5 to 29 years, "Has he [she] attended school or kindergarten at any time since February 1st?"  Standard abbreviations were:
    • S for School or College
    • K for Kindergarten
    • No for None

 

Questions for Persons 14 years of Age and Over in columns 16 to 24c asked basic employment questions that were similar to those asked on the Form P1 in the continental United States discussed in 1950 Census:  Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule "Questions for Persons Age 14 Years and Over"  Part I.  In addition, males were asked about their military service, and all persons were asked about their income.

  • Item 16. Military Service.  If male, did he ever serve in the U.S. Armed Forces during (16a) World War II, (16b) World War I, or (16c) any other time including present service?”  (Yes/No).  [Same as Form P1 Items 33a, 33b, and 33c].
  • Item 17.  "What was this person doing most of last week - working, keeping house, or something else?" "Last week" referred to the last full week (Sunday through Saturday) before the enumerator's visit to this household.  Standard responses were "Wk" for working, "H" for keeping house, "Ot" for other, "U" for unable to work.  [Same as Form P1 Item 15].
  • Item 18.  If "H" or "Ot" in Item 17, "Did this person do any work at all last week, not including work around the house?  (Yes/No).  [Same as Form P1 Item 16].
  • Item 19.  If "No" in Item 18, "Was he looking for work?" (Yes/No).  [Same as Form P1 Item 17].
  • Item 20.  If "No" in item 19, "Even though he didn't work last week, does he have a job or business?"  [Same as Form P1 Item 18].
  • Item 21.  If "Wk" in item 17 or "Yes" in item 18, "How many hours did he work last week?  [Same as Form P1 Item 19].
  • Item 22.  "Last year (1949), in how many weeks did this person do any work at all, not counting work around the house?"
  • Items 23a, 23b, and 23c, were to be asked of those who answered "Wk" in item 17; "Yes" in items 18, 19, or 20; or worked at least one week in 1949 (item 22).
    • Item 23a.  “What kind of work did he [she] do? [Same as Form P1 Item 20a].
    • Item 23b.  “In what kind of business or industry did he [she] work?  [Same as Form P1 Item 20b].
    • Item 23c.  “Class of Worker” indicated broad employment categories, with “P” for private employers; “G” for government employers; “O” for those who owned their own business; and “NP” for those who worked without pay on a family farm or business.  [Same as Form P1 Item 20c].
  • Items 24a, 24b, and 24c asked about income in 1949:
    • Item 24a.  "Last  year, how much money did he earn working as an employee for wages or salary?"  [Same as Form P1 Item 31a].
    • Item 24b.  "Last  year, how much money did he earn working in his own business, professional practice, or farm?"  [Same as Form P1 Item 31b].
    • Item 24c.  "Last year, how much money did he receive from interest, dividends, veteran's allowances, pensions, rents, or other income (aside from earnings?)"  [Same as Form P1 Item 31c].

 

Housing Questions on the reverse side of the form asked about the characteristics of dwelling units occupied by up to 12 households on the front of the form, including condition, whether it included a business unit, exterior materials, decade of construction, ownership, rental value, number of rooms, and type of water supply, toilet, bathtub or shower, refrigerator, and lighting.  The reverse side was not microfilmed by the Bureau of the Census when the front side (population) was filmed.  Therefore, information about specific dwelling units is not available.  Compiled data was published as Census of Housing:  1950 (Washington:  Government Printing Office, 1953), Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, and other publications.

Reverse side of Form P97, 1950 Census of Population and Housing - Virgin Islands of the United States.  This side shows the housing questions.

Image:  Reverse side, Form P97, 1950 Census of Population and Housing – Virgin Islands (United States)

Housing Questions

 

The next post will continue our overseas journey with examination of the form used in Puerto Rico.  Previous posts discussed:

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.  This is the 32nd in a series of blog posts on the 1950 census.

 

Form P91, 1950 Census of Population – Panama Canal Zone, was the form used by enumerators in that U.S. possession.  The form’s basic population and demographic questions were similar to those asked in the Continental United States, but fewer questions were asked.  There were no questions for “sample” persons and few questions concerning the characteristics of the inhabitants' housing.  Instead, both sides of the form contained space for 30 persons.

Front Side - Form P1, 1950 Census of Population - Panama Canal Zone

Image:  Front side, Form P91, 1950 Census of Population – Panama Canal Zone (Lines 1-30)

 

“Heading Items” at the top of the form identify where the enumeration took place, adjusted to reflect the political subdivisions used in that possession:

  • Item a.  Court District
  • Item b.  Name of Town
  • Item c.  Enumeration District (E.D.) number
  • Item d.  Date Sheet Started
  • Item e.  Enumerator’s Signature
  • Item f.  Checked by (crew leader's name) on (date).
  • Sheet Number (number) plus “A” (front) or “B” (back)

 

“For Head of Household” items in columns 1 to 5 ask questions about the household’s dwelling place:

  • Item 1. "Name of street, avenue, or road."
  • Item 2.  "House (and apartment) number."
  • Item 3. “Serial Number of Dwelling Unit” was assigned by the enumerator in order of visitation.
  • Item 4. “How many rooms are in this unit, not counting bathrooms?
  • Item 5. “What is the monthly rent for this unit?"

 

“Questions for All Persons” Items in columns 6 to 15 are similar to those on the Form P1, discussed previously at 1950 Census:  Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule “Questions for All Persons” except for fewer race options in item 8 and different birthplace options in item 12.  In addition, questions concerning educational attainment were asked of all persons in Panama Canal Zone; in the Continental U.S., the same or similar questions were asked only of persons on sample lines on the Form P1, as discussed in 1950 Census:  Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule Questions 21 to 28 for All Persons on “Sample” Lines.

  • Item 6.  Name.  What is the name of the head of this household?  What are the names of all other persons who live here?  List in this order:  The head; His wife; Unmarried sons and daughters (in order of age); Married sons and daughters and their families; Other relatives; Other persons, such as lodgers, roomers, maids or hired hands who live in, and their relatives.  Have we missed anyone away traveling?  Babies?  Lodgers?  Other persons staying here who have no home anywhere else?
  • Item 7.  Relationship, such as head, wife, daughter, grandson, mother-in-law, lodger, lodger’s wife, maid, hired hand, patient, and so forth.
  • Item 8.  Race, with standard abbreviations “W” for white and “Neg” for Negro and Negro-mixed. Designations of other races were to be written out in full.
  • Item 9.  Sex, with “M” for male and “F” for female.
  • Item 10.  Age.  "How old was he [she] on his [her] last birthday?"  (Enter "Un 1" for child under one year of age.")
  • Item 11.  Marital status.  “Is he [she] now married, widowed, divorced, separated, or never married?” Standard abbreviations were to be used:  “M” for married, “Wd” for widowed, “D” for divorced, “Sep” for separated, and “Nev” for never married.  “Nev” was to be recorded if a person’s only marriage had been annulled.
  • Item 12. Birthplace. "Where was he [she] born?" Standard answers were "CZ" for Panama Canal Zone, "US" for continental United States, or, if born elsewhere, the name of the U.S. Territory, possession, or foreign country.
  • Item 13.  Citizenship status.  If foreign born, is he [she] naturalized?  Standard answers were “Y” for yes, “N” for no, or “AP” for born abroad or at sea of American parents.
  • Item 14.  "What is the highest full grade of school that he [she] has attended?"  Standard abbreviations were:
    • O (zero) - none
    • S1 to S12 for 1st to 12th grades
    • C1 to C 4 for 1st to 4th years of college or professional school immediately after high school
    • C5 - One or more year of graduate or professional school after the 4th year of college
  • Item 15.  For persons age 5 to 24 years, "Has he [she] attended kindergarten, school, or college at any time since February 1st?"  Standard abbreviations were:
    • K for Kindergarten
    • S for School or College
    • Sp for Special School
    • No for None

 

Questions for Persons 14 years of Age and Over in columns 16 to 23 asked basic employment questions that were similar to those asked on the Form P1 in the continental United States discussed in 1950 Census:  Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule "Questions for Persons Age 14 Years and Over"  Part I.  In addition, males were asked about their military service.

  • Item 16. Military Service.  If male, did he ever serve in the U.S. Armed Forces during (16a) World War II, (16b) World War I, or (16c) any other time including present service?”  (Yes/No).  [Same as Form P1 Items 33a, 33b, and 33c].
  • Item 17.  "What was this person doing most of last week - working, keeping house, or something else?" "Last week" referred to the last full week (Sunday through Saturday) before the enumerator's visit to this household.  Standard responses were "Wk" for working, "H" for keeping house, "Ot" for other, "U" for unable to work.  [Same as Form P1 Item 15]. 
  • Item 18.  If "H" or "Ot" in Item 17, "Did this person do any work at all last week, not including work around the house?  (Yes/No).  [Same as Form P1 Item 16].
  • Item 19.  If "No" in Item 18, "Was he looking for work?" (Yes/No).  [Same as Form P1 Item 17].
  • Item 20.  If "No" in item 19, "Even though he didn't work last week, does he have a job or business?"  [Same as Form P1 Item 18].
  • Item 21.  If "Wk" in item 17 or "Yes" in item 18, "How many hours did he work last week?  [Same as Form P1 Item 19].
  • Item 22.  "Last year (1949), in how many weeks did this person do any work at all, not counting work around the house?"
  • Items 23a, 23b, and 23c, were to be asked of those who answered "Wk" in item 17; "Yes" in items 18, 19, or 20; or worked at least one week in 1949 (item 22). 
    • Item 23a.  “What kind of work did he [she] do? [Same as Form P1 Item 20a].
    • Item 23b.  “In what kind of business or industry did he [she] work?  [Same as Form P1 Item 20b].
    • Item 23c.  “Class of Worker” indicated broad employment categories, with “P” for private employers; “G” for government employers; “O” for those who owned their own business; and “NP” for those who worked without pay on a family farm or business.  [Same as Form P1 Item 20c].

Reverse side - Form P91, 1950 Census of Population - Panama Canal Zone

Image:  Reverse side, Form P91, 1950 Census of Population – Panama Canal Zone  (Lines 31-60)

 

Future posts will continue our overseas journey with examination of the forms used in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Previous posts discussed:

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.  This is the 31st in a series of blog posts on the 1950 census.  [Updated Nov. 7, 2021].

 

Form P85, 1950 Census of Population – Guam, was the form used by enumerators in that U.S. possession.  The form’s basic population and demographic questions were similar to those asked in the Continental United States, but fewer questions were asked.  There were no questions for “sample” persons and few questions concerning the characteristics of the inhabitants' housing.  Instead, both sides of the form contained space for 25 persons.

 

Front side, Form P85, 1950 Census of Population - Guam (Lines 1 to 25)

Image:  Front side, Form P85, 1950 Census of Population – Guam (Lines 1-25)

 

“Heading Items” at the top of the form identify where the enumeration took place, adjusted to reflect the political subdivisions used in that possession:

  • Item a.  Municipality
  • Item b.  Place (Specify whether city, town, or village)
  • Item c.  Enumeration District (E.D.) number
  • Item d.  Date Sheet Started
  • Item e.  Enumerator’s Signature
  • Item f.  Checked by (crew leader's name) on (date).
  • Sheet Number (number) plus “A” (front) or “B” (back)

 

“For Head of Household” items in columns 1 to 7 ask questions about the household’s dwelling place:

  • Item 1. “Lot Number”
  • Item 2. “Serial Number of Dwelling Unit” was assigned by the enumerator in order of visitation.
  • Item 3. “Is this house on a farm?”  (Yes/No).
  • Item 4. “Agricultural Questionnaire Number” was a sequential number assigned by the enumerator to the agricultural questionnaire for that household.  These questionnaires are not extant, but the compiled statistical data was published in United States Census of Agriculture:  1950, Volume 1, Part 34, Territories and PossessionsA direct link to the Guam statistics is here.
  • Item 5. “Is this dwelling unit occupied by owner (O) or by renter (R)? (Enter “V” if vacant).”
  • Item 6. If occupied by owner (O in Item 5):  “How much would this property sell for?”  If occupied by renter (R in Item 5):  “What is the monthly rent for this unit?”  These amounts were to be entered to the nearest dollar.
  • Item 7. “How many rooms are in this unit, not counting bathrooms?”

 

“Questions for All Persons” Items in columns 8 to 17 are similar to those on the Form P1, discussed previously at 1950 Census:  Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule “Questions for All Persons” except for different race options in item 10 and different birthplace options in item 16.  In addition, questions concerning educational attainment were asked of all persons in Guam; in the Continental U.S., the same or similar questions were asked only of persons on sample lines on the Form P1, as discussed in 1950 Census:  Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule Questions 21 to 28 for All Persons on “Sample” Lines. In addition, all persons were asked if they could speak English.

  • Item 8.  Name
  • Item 9.  Relationship, such as head, wife, daughter, grandson, mother-in-law, lodger, lodger’s wife, maid, hired hand, patient, and so forth.
  • Item 10.  Race, with standard abbreviations such as “Cha” for Chamorro, “W” for white, “F” for Filipino, “Chi” for Chinese, “Jap” for Japanese, “Neg” for Negro and Negro-mixed, and “Ot” for other. Designations of other races were to be written out in full.
  • Item 11.  Sex, with “M” for male and “F” for female.
  • Item 12.  Age:  “How old was he [she] on his [her] last birthday?  For children under one year of age, the enumerator was to write “Un 1.”
  • Item 13.  Marital status:  “Is he [she] now married, widowed, divorced, separated, or never married?” Standard abbreviations were “M” for married, “Wd” for widowed, “D” for divorced, “Sep” for separated, and “Nev” for never married.  “Nev” was to be recorded if a person’s only marriage had been annulled.
  • Item 14.  "What is the highest full grade of school that he [she] has attended?"  [Similar to P1 Item 26].  Grade codes are indicated at the bottom of each Form P85.  They are:
    • O (zero) - none
    • E1 to E8 for 1st to 8th grades
    • H1 to H4 for 1st to 4th year of high school
    • C1 to C 4 for 1st to 4th years of college or professional school immediately after high school
    • C5 - One or more year of graduate or professional school after the 4th year of college
  • Item 15.  For persons age 5 to 24 years, "Has he [she] attended primer class, school, or college at any time since February 1st?"  Codes are indicated at the bottom of each Form P85.  They are:
    • P for Primer
    • S for School or College
    • Sp for Special School
    • No for None
  • Item 16.  Birthplace
  • Item 17.  Citizenship:  “Is he [she] a United States citizen?” Codes are indicated at the bottom of each Form P85:
    • B for United States Citizen by birth
    • Na for Naturalized U.S. Citizen
    • AN for United States National
    • Al for Alien

 

Questions for Persons 14 years of Age and Over were military service and basic employment questions.

  • Item 18. Military Service.  If male, did he ever serve in the U.S. Armed Forces during (18a) World War II, (18b) World War I, or (18c) any other time including present service?”  (Yes/No).
  • Item 19.  "Last year (1949), did this person do any work at all, not counting work around the house?" (Yes/No).
  • Item 20a.  If “Yes” in item 19:  “What kind of work did he [she] do?  [Similar to Form P1 Item 20a].
  • Item 20b.  “In what kind of business or industry did he [she] work?  [Similar to Form P1 Item 20b].
  • Item 20c.  “Class of Worker” indicated broad employment categories, with “P” for private employers; “G” for government employers; “O” for those who owned their own business; and “NP” for those who worked without pay on a family farm or business.  [Similar to Form P1 Item 20c].

 

Reverse side, Form P85, 1950 Census of Population - Guam (Lines 26 to 50)

Image:  Reverse side, Form P85, 1950 Census of Population – Guam (Lines 26-50)

 

Future posts will continue our overseas journey with examination of the forms used in Panama Canal Zone, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands. For Alaska, see 1950 Census:  Form P82, 1950 Census of Population and Housing - Alaska; Hawaii, see 1950 Census:  Form P87, 1950 Census of Population and Housing - Hawaii; and American Samoa, see 1950 Census:  Form P80, 1950 Census of Population – American Samoa.

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.  This is the 30th in a series of blog posts on the 1950 census.

 

Form P80, 1950 Census of Population – American Samoa, was the form used by enumerators in that U.S. possession.  The form’s basic population and demographic questions were similar to those asked in the continental United States, but with fewer questions.  There were no questions for “sample” persons and no questions concerning the characteristics of the inhabitants' housing.  Instead, both sides of the form contained space for 25 persons.

Front side - Form P80, 1950 Census of Population - American Samoa (This contains lines 1 to 25).Image:  Front side, Form P80, 1950 Census of Population – American Samoa (Lines 1-25)

 

“Heading Items” at the top of the form identify where the enumeration took place, adjusted to reflect the political subdivisions used in that possession:

  • Item a.  District
  • Item b.  County
  • Item c.  Village
  • Item d.  Enumeration District (E.D.) number
  • Item e.  Date Sheet Started
  • Item f.  Enumerator’s Signature
  • Item g.  Checked by (crew leader's name) on (date).
  • Sheet Number (number) plus “A” (front) or “B” (back)

 

“Household Identification” (Item 1) is the “serial number of dwelling unit” that was assigned by the enumerator in order of visitation.

 

“Questions for All Persons” Items in columns 2 to 11 are similar to those on the Form P1, discussed at 1950 Census:  Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule “Questions for All Persons”, except for different race options in item 4 and different birthplace options in item 11.  In addition, questions concerning educational attainment were asked of all persons in American Samoa; in the Continental U.S., the same or similar questions were asked only of persons on sample lines on the Form P1, as discussed in 1950 Census:  Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule Questions 21 to 28 for All Persons on “Sample” Lines.  In addition, all persons were asked if they could speak English.

  • Item 2.  Name
  • Item 3.  Relationship, such as head, wife, daughter, grandson, mother-in-law, lodger, lodger’s wife, maid, hired hand, patient, and so forth.
  • Item 4.  Race, with standard abbreviations such as “Pol” for Polynesian, “W” for white, “M” for mixed, and “Ot” for other. Designations of other races were to be written out in full.
  • Item 5.  Sex, with “M” for male and “F” for female.
  • Item 6.  Age
  • Item 7.  Marital status
  • Item 8.  "What is the highest grade of school that he [she] has attended?"

o   0 (zero) - none

o   E1 to E8 for 1st to 8th grades

o   H1 to H4 for 1st to 4th year of high school

o   C1 to C 4 for 1st to 4th years of college or professional school immediately after high school

o   C5 - One or more year of graduate or professional school after the 4th year of college

  • Item 9.  For persons age 5 to 24 years, "Has he [she] attended school or college at any time since February 1st?"
  • Item 10.  For those age 25 years and over, “Is he [she] able to speak English?
  • Item 11.  Birthplace:  “Where was he [she] born?” Standard answers were “AS” for American Samoa; “WS” for Western Samoa, “C” for continental United States; or, if born elsewhere, the name of the U.S. Territory, possession, or foreign country.

 

Questions for Persons 14 years of Age and Over are two basic employment questions.

  • Item 12.  "Last year (1949), did this person do any work at all, not counting work around the house?"
  • Item 13.  If “Yes” in item 12:  “What kind of work did he do?   Examples included mat weaver, teacher, matai (chieftain or leader), farmer, and farm laborer. [Similar to Form P1 Item 20a].

 

Agriculture Questionnaire Number (Item 14) was a sequential number assigned by the enumerator to the agricultural questionnaire for that household.  These questionnaires are not extant, but the compiled statistical data was published in United States Census of Agriculture  1950, Volume 1, Part 34, Territories and Possessions (Washington:  U.S. Government Printing Office, 1952).  A direct link to the American Samoa statistics is here.

 

Reverse sie:  Form P80, 1950 Census of Population - American Samoa (Lines 26-50)

Image:  Reverse side, Form P80, 1950 Census of Population – American Samoa  (Lines 26-50)

 

 

Future posts will continue our overseas journey with examination of the forms used in Canal Zone, Guam, and Puerto Rico.  For Alaska, see 1950 Census:  Form P82, 1950 Census of Population and Housing - Alaska, and Hawaii, see 1950 Census:  Form P87, 1950 Census of Population and Housing – Hawaii.

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.  This is the 29th in a series of blog posts on the 1950 census.  [Updated Nov. 7, 2021].

 

Form P87, 1950 Census of Population and Housing – Hawaii, was the form used by enumerators in that Territory.  The form and its population questions were very similar to those asked in the Continental United States, but there were a few differences indicated below.  Both forms had space for 30 persons and included several questions asked only of persons on sample lines.

Front side, Form  P82, 1950 Census of Population and Housing - Hawaii (Population Questions)

Image:  Front side, Form P87, 1950 Census of Population and Housing - Hawaii

Population Questions

 

“Heading Items” at the top of the form identify where the enumeration took place, adjusted to reflect the political subdivisions used in that Territory:

  • Item a.  Island
  • Item b.  County
  • Item c.  Census Tract
  • Item d.  Enumeration District (E.D.) number
  • Item e.  Hotel, Large Rooming House, Institution, Military Installation, etc., indicating name(s), type(s), and line number(s) for individuals at those facilities.  Thus, this item would only to apply to persons on specified lines on the sheet, not necessarily the entire page.
  • Item f.  Date Sheet Started
  • Item g.  Enumerator’s Signature
  • Item h.  Checked by (crew leader's name) on (date).
  • Sheet Number.

 

“Household Identification” items in columns 1 to 6 were the same as those on the Form P1, discussed previously at 1950 Census:  Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule “Household Identification”:

  • Item 1.  Name of street, avenue, or road
  • Item 2.  House (and apartment) number
  • Item 3.  Serial number of dwelling unit
  • Item 4.  Is this house on a farm (or ranch)? (Yes/No)
  • Item 5.  (If no in Item 4) Is this house on a place of three or more acres?  (Yes/No)
  • Item 6.  Agricultural Questionnaire Number [these questionnaires are not extant]

 

“Questions for All Persons” Items in columns 7 to 14 were nearly the same as those on the Form P1, discussed previously for the P1 at 1950 Census:  Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule “Questions for All Persons” except for additional race options in items 9 and 9b, different birthplace options in item 13, and different citizenship questions in item 14.

  • Item 7.  Name.  What is the name of the head of this household?  What are the names of all other persons who live here?  List in this order:  The head; His wife; Unmarried sons and daughters (in order of age); Married sons and daughters and their families; Other relatives; Other persons, such as lodgers, roomers, maids or hired hands who live in, and their relatives. 
  • Item 8.  Relationship, such as head, wife, daughter, grandson, mother-in-law, lodger, lodger’s wife, maid, hired hand, patient, and so forth.
  • Item 9.  Race, was a two-part question.
    • (9a)  Race - The person's race was to be indicated with standard abbreviations such as "Ha" for Hawaiian, "Cau" for Caucasian, “Ch” for Chinese, “Fil” for Filipino, and “PR” for Puerto Rican.  Designations of all other races were to be written out in full.
    • (9b)  "Is this person of mixed race?"  (Yes/No). 
  • Item 10.  Sex, with “M” for male and “F” for female.
  • Item 11.  Age:  “What was his [her] age on last birthday?  For children under one year of age, the enumerator was to write in the child’s birth month.
  • Item 12.  Marital status:  “Is he [she] now married, widowed, divorced, separated, or never married?” Standard abbreviations were to be used:  “M” for married, “Wd” for widowed, “D” for divorced, “Sep” for separated, and “Nev” for never married.  “Nev” was to be recorded if a person’s only marriage had been annulled.
  • Item 13.  Birthplace:  “Where was he [she] born?” Standard answers were “H” for Hawaii; “US” for continental United States; or, if born elsewhere, the name of the U.S. Territory, possession, or foreign country.
  • Item 14.  Citizenship status of persons born outside of the United States: 
    • (14a) "If born in a possession or foreign country - Is he [she] naturalized?” Standard answers were “Y” for yes, “N” for no, or “AP” for born abroad or at sea of American parents.
    • (14b) "Is he a Territorial Citizen? (Yes/No)

 

Questions for Persons 14 years of Age and Over are similar to those on the Form P1 used in the Continental U.S. For discussion of these questions on the P1 and the related instructions to enumerators, see 1950 Census:  Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule "Questions for Persons Age 14 Years and Over"  Part I and 1950 Census:  Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule Questions for Persons Age 14 Years and Over:  Part II

  • Item 15.  "What was this person doing most of last week – Working, keeping house, or something else?"  “Last week” referred to the last full week (Sunday through Saturday) before the enumerator’s visit to this household, not the 7 days prior to the official census day of April 1!  Standard responses were “Wk” for working, “H” for keeping house, “Ot” for other, or “U” for unable to work.  [Same as Form P1 Item 15].
  • Item 16"Did this person do any work at all last week, not counting work around the house?" This question was to be asked only of those coded as Keeping House (“H”) or Other (“Ot”) in Item 20.  [Same as Form P1 Item 16].
  • Item 17.  "Was this person looking for work?" (Yes/No) was to be asked only of those for whom “No” was recorded in Item 16.  [Same as Form P1 Item 17].
  • Item 18.  "Even though he didn’t work last week, does he have a job or business?" (Yes/No) was to be asked only of those for whom “No” was recorded in Item 17.   [Same as Form P1 Item 18].
  • Item 19.  "How many hours did he work last week?"was to be asked of those persons for whom "Wk" was recorded in Item 15 or "Yes" in Item 16.  [Same as Form P1 Item 19].
  • Item 20a.  "What kind of work was he [she] doing?"  [Same as Form P1 Item 20a].
  • Item 20b.  "What kind of business or industry was he working in?"  [Nearly identical to Form P1 Item 20b].
  • Item 20c.  Class of Worker, indicated broad employment categories, with “P” for private employers; “G” for government employers; “O” for those who owned their own businesses; and “NP” for those who worked without pay on a family farm or business. [Same as Form P1 Item 20c].


Questions for all persons on sample lines (items 21-28)
are similar to those on the Form P1 used in the Continental U.S., with the exception of the question relating to prior residence.  Hawaii residents were asked about their place of residence on V-J Day (August 14, 1945) while continental United States residents were asked about their place of residence "one year ago" in 1949. For discussion of these questions on the P1 and the related instructions to enumerators, see 1950 Census:  Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule Questions 21 to 28 for All Persons on “Sample” Lines.

  • Items 21-23 asked about residence on August 14, 1945, which was Victory in Japan Day (V-J Day), the end of World War II in the Pacific Ocean.
    • Item 21.  "Was he [she] living in this same house on V-J Day?"  (Yes/No).
    • Item 22.  If No in Item 21, "Was he [she] living on this same island?"  (Yes/No).
    • Item 23.  If No in Item 22, "Where was he [she] living on V-J Day?" The enumerator was to write in the the name of the Hawaiian island, State, Territory, U.S. possession, or foreign country.
  • Item 24.  "In what country were his [her] father and mother born?"  Standard answers were "H" for Hawaii or "US" for the continental United States, or the name of the U.S. Territory, U.S. possession, or foreign country.  [Similar to P1 Item 25].
  • Item 25.  "What is the highest grade of school that he [she] has attended?" [Same as P1 Item 26].  Grade codes are indicated at the bottom of each Form P87.  They are:
    • "0" (zero) - none
    • "K" - Kindergarten
    • S1 to S12 for 1st to 12th grades
    • C1 to C 4 for 1st to 4th years of college or professional school immediately after high school
    • C5 - One or more year of graduate or professional school after the 4th year of college
  • Item 26.  "Did he [she] finish this grade?" (Yes/No). [Same as P1 Item 27]
  • Item 27.  "Has he [she] attended school at any time since February 1st?"  (Yes, No, or age 30 or over).  [Same as P1 Item 28].

 

Questions for all persons on sample lines who were age 14 years or older (items 28-33) are the same as Items 29-33c and 38 on the Form P1 used in the Continental U.S.  For discussion of these questions on the P1, see 1950 Census:  Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule Questions 29 to 33 for All Persons on “Sample” Lines Who Were 14 Years of Age and Over and 1950 Census:  The 3 1/3 Percenters:  Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule Questions for the Person on the Last “Sample” Line Who Were 14 Years of Age and Over.

  • Item 28.  If "Yes" in Item 17, "How many weeks has he [she] been looking for work?"  [Same as P1 Item 29].
  • Item 29.  "Last year, in how many weeks did this person do any work at all, not counting work around the house?"  [Same as P1 Item 30].
  • Item 30a.  "Last year (1949), how much money did he [she] earn working as an employee for wages or salary?"  (Enter amount before deductions for taxes, etc., or “0”).  [Same as Form P1 Item 31a (sample questions)].
  • Item 30b.  "Last year, how much money did he [she] earn working in his own business, professional practice, or farm?"  (Enter net income or “0”).  [Same as Form P1 Item 31b (sample questions)].
  • Item 30c.  “Last year, how much money did he [she] receive from interest, dividends, veteran’s allowances, pensions, rents, or other income (aside from earnings)?”  (Enter amount or “0”).  [Same question as Form P1 Item 31c (sample questions)].
  • Item 31.  If this person was the family head (under the definition given at the bottom of the Form P87, then additional income questions were asked.  The "family head" was "either (a) head of household with related persons present in the household or (b) person unrelated to household head but with persons related to him listed below him on the schedule--for example:  Lodger with wife present in household."
    • Item 31a. "Last year (1949), how much money did his [her] relatives in this household earn working as an employee for wages or salary?"  (Enter amount before deductions for taxes, etc.).  [Same as Form P1 Item 32a].
    • Item 31b. "Last year, how much money did his [her] relatives in this household earn working in his own business, professional practice, or farm?"  (Enter net income).  [Same as Form P1 Item 32b].
    • Item 31c. "Last year, how much money did he [her] receive from interest, dividends, veteran’s allowances, pensions, rents, or other income (aside from earnings)?”  [Same as Form P1 Item 32c].
  • Item 32.  If male, did he ever serve in the U.S. Armed Forces during (32a) World War II, (32b) World War I, or (32c) any other time including present service?  (Yes/No).  [Same as Form P1 Items 33a, 33b, and 33c].
  • Item 33.  If female and ever married (Mar, Wd, D, or Sep in Item 12), "How many children has she ever borne, not counting stillbirths?" (Number or none).  [Same as Form P1 Item 38].

 

The reverse side of the P87 asked questions concerning the characteristics of the inhabitants' housing.  The housing (reverse) side was not microfilmed (in 1952) as the same time as the population (front) side of the form, so they are no longer extant.  Only the aggregate statistical data remains preserved in the published reports of the Bureau of the Census.

Reverse Side - Form P87, 1950 Census of Population and Housing - Hawaii  (Housing Questions)

Image:  Reverse side, Form P87, 1950 Census of Population and Housing - Hawaii

Housing Questions

 

 

Future posts will continue our overseas journey with examination of the forms used in American Samoa, Panama Canal Zone, Guam, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands.  For Alaska, see 1950 Census:  Form P82, 1950 Census of Population and Housing - Alaska.

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.  This is the 28th in a series of blog posts on the 1950 census.

 

Thus far, our examination of census forms has been limited to the Form P1, 1950 Census of Population and Housing, that was used in most of the Continental United States, and the P8, Indian Reservation Schedule.  In this post, we take our first look at forms used outside the continental United States.

 

Form P82, 1950 Census of Population and Housing – Alaska, was the form used by enumerators in that Territory.  The population questions were very similar to those asked in the Continental United States, but there were several differences indicated below.  Both forms had space for 30 persons but the P82 (Alaska) lacked sample questions. Instead, several sample questions from the P1 were questions for all persons on the Alaska P82.

Form P82, 1950 Census of Population and Housing - Alaska (front side:  population)

Image:  Front side, Form P82, 1950 Census of Population and Housing - Alaska

Population Questions

 

“Heading Items” at the top of the form identify where the enumeration took place, adjusted to reflect the political subdivisions used in that Territory:

  • Item a.  Judicial Division
  • Item b.  Recording District
  • Item c.  Name of Place (city, town, village, etc.)
  • Item d.  Enumeration District (E.D.) number
  • Item e.  Hotel, Large Rooming House, Institution, Military Installation, etc., indicating name(s), type(s), and line number(s) for individuals at those facilities.  Thus, this item would only to apply to persons on specified lines on the sheet, not necessarily the entire page.
  • Item f.  Date Sheet Started
  • Item g.  Enumerator’s Signature
  • Item h.  Checked by (crew leader) on (date).
  • Sheet Number.

 

“Household Identification” items in columns 1 to 6 were the same as those on the Form P1, discussed previously at 1950 Census:  Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule “Household Identification”:

  • Item 1.  Name of street, avenue, or road
  • Item 2.  House (and apartment) number
  • Item 3.  Serial number of dwelling unit
  • Item 4.  Is this house on a farm (or ranch)? (Yes/No)
  • Item 5.  (If no in Item 4) Is this house on a place of three or more acres?  (Yes/No)
  • Item 6.  Agricultural Questionnaire Number [these questionnaires are not extant]

 

“Questions for All Persons” Items in columns 7 to 14 were nearly the same as those on the Form P1, discussed previously for the P1 at 1950 Census:  Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule “Questions for All Persons” except for additional race options in item 9 and different birthplace options in item 13. 

  • Item 7.  Name.  What is the name of the head of this household?  What are the names of all other persons who live here?  List in this order:  The head; His wife; Unmarried sons and daughters (in order of age); Married sons and daughters and their families; Other relatives; Other persons, such as lodgers, roomers, maids or hired hands who live in, and their relatives.
  • Item 8.  Relationship, such as head, wife, daughter, grandson, mother-in-law, lodger, lodger’s wife, maid, hired hand, patient, and so forth.
  • Item 9.  Race, with standard abbreviations such as “W” for white, “Al” for Aleut, “Esk” for Eskimo, “In” for Indian, “Ch” for Chinese, “Fil” for Filipino, and “Neg” for Negro (Black).  Designations of all other races were to be written out in full.
  • Item 10.  Sex, with “M” for male and “F” for female.
  • Item 11.  Age, with the question:  “How old was he [she] on his [her] last birthday?”  For children under one year of age, the enumerator was to write in the child’s birth month. 
  • Item 12.  Marital status, with the question:  “Is he [she] now married, widowed, divorced, separated, or never married?” Standard abbreviations were to be used:  “M” for married, “Wd” for widowed, “D” for divorced, “Sep” for separated, and “Nev” for never married.  “Nev” was to be recorded if a person’s only marriage had been annulled.
  • Item 13.  Birthplace, with the question:  “Where was he [she] born?” Standard answers were “A” for Alaska; “US” for continental United States; or, if born elsewhere, the name of the U.S. Territory, possession, or foreign country.
  • Item 14.  Naturalization status of persons born outside of the United States, with the question:  “Is he [she] naturalized?” Standard answers were “Y” for yes, “N” for no, or “AP” for born abroad or at sea of American parents.

 

Items 15 to 18 concerning educational attainment were asked of all persons in Alaska; in the Continental U.S., the same or similar questions were asked only of persons on sample lines on the Form P1, as discussed in 1950 Census:  Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule Questions 21 to 28 for All Persons on “Sample” Lines:

  • Item 15.  What is the highest grade of school that he [she] has attended? Codes were O for none, K for Kindergarten, E1 to E8 for first to eighth grade, H1 to H4 for first to fourth year of high school, C1 to C4 for first to fourth year of college, and C5 for fifth year or more of college or other higher education. [Same as Form P1 Item 26 (sample questions)].
  • Item 16.  Did he [she] finish this grade?  (Yes/No).  [Same as Form P1 Item 27 (sample questions)].
  • Item 17.  For persons age 5 to 29 years, has he [she] attended school at any time since February 1st?  (Yes/No). [Nearly identical as Form P1 Item 28 (sample questions)].
  • Item 18.  Where was he [she] living a year ago?  Codes were A for Alaska, H for Hawaii, US for Continental United States, P for other U.S. possession, C for Canada, and F for other foreign country.  [Similar to Form P1, Item 24 (sample questions)].

 

Questions for Persons 14 years of Age and Over are similar to those on the Form P1 used in the Continental U.S. For discussion of these questions on the P1 and the related instructions to enumerators, see 1950 Census:  Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule "Questions for Persons Age 14 Years and Over"  Part I and 1950 Census:  Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule Questions for Persons Age 14 Years and Over:  Part IIThe one major exception is that the Alaskan Form P82 asks all men, not just men on sample lines, whether they had served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

  • Item 19.  If male, did he ever serve in the U.S. Armed Forces during (19a) World War II, (19b) World War I, (19c) at any other time, including present service.  [Same as Form P1 Items 33a, 33b, 33c (sample questions)].
  • Item 20.  “What was this person doing most of last week – Working, keeping house, or something else?”  “Last week” referred to the last full week (Sunday through Saturday) before the enumerator’s visit to this household, not the 7 days prior to the official census day of April 1!  Standard responses were “Wk” for working, “H” for keeping house, “Ot” for other, or “U” for unable to work.  [Same as Form P1 Item 15].
  • Item 21.  “Did this person do any work at all last week, not counting work around the house?” This question was to be asked only of those coded as Keeping House (“H”) or Other (“Ot”) in Item 20.  [Same as Form P1 Item 16].
  • Item 22.  “Was this person looking for work?” (Yes/No) was to be asked only of those for whom “No” was recorded in Item 21.”  [Same as Form P1 Item 17].
  • Item 23.  “Even though he didn’t work last week, does he have a job or business?” was to be asked only of those for whom “No” was recorded in Item 22.   [Same as Form P1 Item 18].
  • Item 24.  “Last year, in how many weeks did this person do any work at all, not counting work around the house?  [Same as Form P1 Item 30].
  • Item 25a.  “What kind of work did he [she] do?”  [Nearly identical to Form P1 Item 20a].
  • Item 25b.  “In what kind of business or industry did he work?”  [Nearly identical to Form P1 Item 20b].
  • Item 25c.  Class of Worker, indicated broad employment categories, with “P” for private employers; “G” for government employers; “O” for those who owned their own businesses; and “NP” for those who worked without pay on a family farm or business. [Same as Form P1 Item 20c].
  • Item 26a.  “Last year, how much money did he earn working as an employee for wages or salary?”  (Enter amount before deductions for taxes, etc., or “0”).  [Same as Form P1 Item 31a (sample questions)].
  • Item 26b.  Last year, how much money did he earn working in his own business, professional practice, or farm?  (Enter net income or “0”).  [Same as Form P1 Item 31b (sample questions)].
  • Item 26c.  “Last year, how much money did he receive from interest, dividends, veteran’s allowances, pensions, rents, or other income aside from earnings?”  (Enter amount or “0”).  [Same question as Form P1 Item 31c (sample questions)].

 

The reverse side of the P82 asked questions concerning the characteristics of the inhabitants' housing.  The housing (reverse) side was not microfilmed (in 1952) as the same time as the population (front) side of the form, so they are no longer extant.  Only the aggregate statistical data remains preserved in the published reports of the Bureau of the Census.

Form P82, 1950 Census of Population and Housing - Alaska (reverse side:  housing)

Image:  Reverse side, Form P82, 1950 Census of Population and Housing - Alaska

Housing Questions

 

 

Future posts will continue our overseas journey with examination of the forms used in Hawaii, American Samoa, Canal Zone, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

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 27th in a series of blog posts on the 1950 census.

 

The Bureau of the Census produced several training "filmstrips" to help instruct 1950 census enumerators in their duties.  Readers who were in school in the early 1970s or before may remember "filmstrips."  These consisted of a strip of film whose images were projected on a screen. A phonographic record or cassette tape provided the accompanying audio component of narration and/or music.  A periodic "beep" in the recording signaled that the filmstrip was to be advanced to the next image.

 

The first of these training filmstrips, Training Film No. 1, "The Big Count" (NAID 178688266) has recently been digitized and made available in the National Archives Catalog. 

1950 Census Training Film No. 1 - The Big Count - Title Image

Image:  Training Film No. 1, The Big Count (Title Frame)

 

Researchers can download individual filmstrip images, watch and listen to the entire recording (mp4 format), and download the entire recording (mp4 format).  To view the entire recording:

 

Images from the Big Count

 

  • Click on "Load All"

Load-All

  • Scroll down through the images a little bit more until you see the 41st image which looks like movie film

Big Count Movie

  • Click on the movie film image and the mp4 recording will launch.  Click on the forward arrow in the lower left corner of the image to begin playing it.

 

"The Big Count" begins with an unidentified narrator describing the purpose of the census and its components.  The individual housing and agricultural questionnaires mentioned in the narration no longer exist. Then, Acting Census Director Philip M. Hauser narrates and is pictured in numbered frames 34-38.  He emphasizes the importance of getting an accurate count.  Hauser notes that he himself was an enumerator during the 1930 census and knows that each enumerator will encounter difficulties, but will find it an "interesting and valuable experience" besides rendering an important public service. 

 

Philip M. Hauser, Acting Director of the Bureau of the Census

Image:  Acting Census Director Philip M. Hauser

 

Scripts (or possibly drafts of scripts) for some of the other training filmstrips have been digitized and are also available in the National Archives Catalog, as listed below.  (The "filmstrip number" indicated on these scripts may not match the final "number" given to the filmstrip by the Bureau of the Census.)

 

 

The scripts and filmstrips give insight into the training enumerators received and how they were expected to ask question and interact with the public.  We hope to digitize additional training filmstrips prior to April 1, 2022.

We are often asked if census records include U.S. civilians and military personnel who were living overseas in foreign countries.  The answer is “sometimes” – it depends on the census year, the decisions made by the Census Bureau, the instructions to the census enumerator, the census enumerator’s interpretation of those instructions, and the person’s own family!

 

The delegates to the U.S. Constitutional Convention in 1787 decided that representation in the U.S. House of Representatives would be apportioned according to each state’s share of the national population.  Article II, Section 2, decreed that “The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.”  Thus, the framers of the Constitution left the details of how the census was to be conducted to the deliberations of Congress.

 

The enumeration of Americans overseas was probably not considered an issue by either the framers of the Constitution or the members of the First Congress, who enacted the legislation authorizing the first census taken in 1790.  The vast majority of the country’s residents were at home toiling on their farms or in cities and towns.  A few thousand coastwise and ocean-going mariners were at sea, and even fewer merchants and diplomats were abroad conducting business.  Since the purpose of the census was to apportion representation according to the numbers of persons actually residing in each state, the few who were abroad and had no U.S. family to report them were not material to the purposes of the count. 

 

17901840 Censuses

 

The 1790 census act  “An Act providing for the enumeration of the Inhabitants of the United States” (1 Statutes at Large 101) provided instructions to the U.S. Marshals and their assistants to conduct the census.  Section 5 of the Act stated (in part):  “That every person whose usual place of abode shall be in any family on the aforesaid first Monday in August next [August 2, 1790], shall be returned as of such family; … and every person occasionally absent at the time of the enumeration, as belonging to that place in which he usually resides in the United States.”  (Emphasis added.)  This “occasionally absent at the time of the enumeration” language would enable overseas merchants and diplomats and the few thousand coastwise and ocean-going mariners at sea to be included in the census, if reported by their family at home.

 

Congress used the same language when it authorized the second census in 1800 (2 Statutes at Large 11), the third in 1810 (2 Statutes at Large 564), the fourth in 1820 (3 Statutes at Large 548), the fifth in 1830 (4 Statutes at Large 383), and the sixth in 1840 (5 Statutes at Large 331).

 

Since the 1790 through 1840 censuses report only the name of the head of household and general age ranges of household members, it is difficult perhaps impossible to determine if any specific individual who was abroad or at sea was counted.

 

1850 Census

 

“An Act providing for the taking of the seventh and subsequent Censuses of the United States, and to fix the Number of the Members of the House of Representatives, and provide for their future Apportionment among the several States” (9 Statutes at Large 428) was longer and more detailed than previous census acts. However, it also specified that the marshals and their assistants were to follow “instructions which shall be given by the Secretary of the Interior.”  The Secretary’s instructions went into considerable detail on the meaning of “usual place of abode,” family, and the proper enumeration of seamen on vessels on the sea, lakes, rivers, and canals.  While none of the language specifically mentions U.S. citizens or residents living abroad, it is clear that persons temporarily absent were to be enumerated with their U.S. family: 

 

Under heading 3, entitled “The name of every person whose usual place of abode on the 1st day of June, 1850, was in this family,” insert the name of every free person in each family, of every age, including the names of those temporarily absent, as well as those that were at home on that day. 

 

By place of abode is meant the house or usual lodging place of a person.  Any one who is temporarily absent on a journey, or for other purposes, without taking up his place of residence elsewhere, and with the intention of returning again, is to be considered a member of the family which the assistant marshal is enumerating.

 

Those only who belong to such family, and consider it their home or usual place abode, whether present or temporarily absent on a visit, journey, or a voyage, are to be enumerated. 

 

The assistants in all seaports will apply at the proper office for lists of all persons on a voyage at sea, and register all citizens of the United States who have not been registered as belonging to some family.

 

Thus, it is possible that U.S. citizens or alien permanent residents who were temporarily away in foreign places may have been enumerated in the U.S. census with their family due to those instructions.  (For more information, see Instructions to Marshals and Assistant Marshals of the United States, 1850 Census).

 

1860 Census

 

In 1860, the Assistant Marshals were instructed that “All Seafaring people are to be enumerated at their land homes, or usual place of abode, whether they be present or at sea.”  In addition, persons who were temporarily away in foreign places may have been enumerated in the U.S. census with their family due to the “place of abode” instruction, which read:

 

Individual Names.Under heading 3, entitled "The name of every person whose usual place of abode on the 1st day of June, 1860, was in this family," insert the name of every free person in each family, of every age, including the names of those temporarily absent on a journey, visit, or for the purposes of education, as well as those that were at home on that day.

 

By “place of abode” is meant the house or usual lodging place of persons. Any one who is temporarily absent on a visit or journey, or for other purposes, with the intention of again returning, is to be considered a member of the family to which he belongs, and not of that where he may be temporarily sojourning; and care should be exercised to make full inquiry for such absentees, that none may be omitted on your lists whose names should properly appear there.  (For more information, see Census Office, Department of the Interior.  Eighth Census, United States.1860.  Instructions to U.S. Marshals.  Instructions to Assistants.  (Washington:  Geo. W. Bowman, Public Printer, 1860), p. 14.)

 

1870, 1880, and 1890 Censuses

 

In 1870, sailors at sea were included in the census if reported by their family at their U.S. home.  The instructions to the Assistant Marshals who took the census stated that “Sea-faring men are to be reported at their land homes, no matter how long they may have been absent, if they are supposed to be still alive.”  (For more information, see Census Office, Department of the Interior.  Ninth Census, United States, 1870.  Instructions to Assistant Marshals (Washington:  Government Printing Office, 1870), p. 9).  Instructions with the same wording were provided to enumerators in 1880 and 1890.

 

Other Americans abroad were not specifically mentioned in the instructions, but could potentially have been enumerated in the U.S. census as persons simply temporarily absent from their family:

 

Names of Individuals.In column 3 will be entered the Name of every person in each family, of whatever age, including the Names of such as were temporarily absent on the 1st day 9 of June, 1870. 

 

Ultimately, the government had to rely on the enumerator’s common sense.  The 1880 census was the first census in which the Census Office hired enumerators instead of relying on the U.S. Marshals and their assistants.  The 1880 enumerator instructions included this language that was closely followed in the 1890 and 1900 instructions:

 

The census law furnishes no definition of the phrase, “usual place of abode,” and it is difficult, under the American system of a protracted enumeration, to afford administrative directions which will wholly obviate the danger that some persons will be reported in two places and others not reported at all. Much must be left to the judgment of the enumerator, who can, if he will take the pains, in the great majority of instances satisfy himself as to the propriety of including or not including doubtful cases in his enumeration of any given family.  (For more information, see Census Office, Department of the Interior, May 1, 1880).

 

1900 Census

 

The Spanish-American War (1898) and Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902) resulted in a large number of American military personnel and their dependents being stationed overseas for the first time.  National Archives Microfilm Publication T623, Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900, has census schedules for the continental United States and the territories of Alaska and Hawaii. In addition, there are military and naval personnel on five microfilm rolls:

 

  • Roll 1838:  Volume 1 (Enumeration Districts [EDs] 100-121)
  • Roll 1839:  Volume 2 (EDs 150-165) and Volume 3 (166-168 and 169, sheets 1-9).
  • Roll 1840:  Volume 3 (EDs 169, sheets 10end; and 170-175) and Volume 4 (EDs 176-186)
  • Roll 1841:  Volume 5 (EDs 187-195) and Volume 6 (EDs 196-205)
  • Roll 1842:  Volume 7 (EDs 1-88)


While most of the overseas personnel were in the Philippines, others were stationed in Algeria, Asiatic Station, the Atlantic Ocean, China, Columbia, Cuba, Egypt, England, Guam, Japan, the Mediterranean Sea, the Pacific Ocean, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Samoa, and Uruguay.  Personnel on a naval vessel at Unalaska, Alaska, are also included.


In addition, it is probable that these military personnel were also enumerated at their U.S. homes, according to the instructions to enumerators in Paragraph 117:  “If a soldier, sailor, or marine (officer or enlisted man), or civilian employee in the service of the United States at a station at home or abroad; is a member of a family living in your district, he should be enumerated as a member of that family, even though he may be absent on duty at the time of the enumeration.”


Americans temporarily living abroad were also to be enumerated at their U.S. address according to Paragraph 118:  “Summer boarders at hotels or country houses and persons temporarily residing in foreign lands should be enumerated as part of their family at their home or usual place of abode.” 

 

Finally, Paragraph 112 used the same language concerning “seafaring men” as had been used in 1870, 1880, and 1890.  (For more information, see Census Office, Department of the Interior. Twelfth Census of the United States, June 1, 1900.  Instructions to Enumerators (Washington:  Government Printing Office, 1900), p. 27).


1910 Census

 

National Archives Microfilm Publication T624, Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910, has census schedules for the continental United States, the territories of Alaska and Hawaii, and the overseas possession of Puerto Rico.  In addition, microfilm roll 1784 contains overseas personnel at military posts, camps, stations, hospitals, and on naval vessels.  While most of the personnel were in the Philippines, other overseas personnel were stationed in American Samoa, China, Cuba, Guam, Japan, Nicaragua, Panama, Turkey, and on naval vessels at unspecified locations.  Roll 1784 also includes military personnel at some continental U.S. locations and Hawaii.  However, to avoid double counting of overseas personnel, Paragraph 63 of the instructions to enumerators directed that:

 

“Soldiers, sailors, marines, and civilian employees of the United States.In order to avoid duplication, soldiers, sailors, and marines belonging to the army or navy of the United States, and civilian employees of the United States, are treated as resident at their posts of duty or places where they are regularly employed.  If, therefore, any family in your district reports that one of its members is a soldier, sailor, marine, or civilian employee of the United States with a post of duty or station elsewhere, you should not report him as a member of that family.” 

 

Although Paragraph 63 does not provide any distinction between foreign posts and those on U.S. soil, it seems reasonable that its wording was to be understood in conjunction with the dictates of Paragraph 64, which reads:

 

“Citizens abroad at time of the enumeration.Any citizen of the United States who is a member of a family living in your district, but abroad temporarily at the time of the enumeration, should be enumerated as of your district. It does not matter how long the absence abroad is continued, provided the person intends to return to the United States.  This instruction applies only to citizens of the United States and not to aliens who have left this country, as nothing definite can be known as to whether such aliens intend to return to this country.”


Finally, Paragraph 62 repeated the same instruction about seafaring men that had been used from 1870 to 1900:  “Sailors on voyages are to be reported at their land homes, no matter how long they have been absent if they are supposed to be still alive.”   (For more information, see  Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce and Labor.  Thirteenth Census of the United States, April 15, 1910.  Instructions to Enumerators (Washington:  Government Printing Office, 1910), pp. 20-21).

1920 Census

 

National Archives Microfilm Publication T625, Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920, has census schedules for the continental United States, the territories of Alaska and Hawaii, and the overseas possessions American Samoa, Guam, Panama Canal Zone, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands.  In addition, microfilm rolls 2040, 2041, and 2042 contain overseas personnel:

 

  • Roll 2040:  Volume 1 (U.S. Military Forces, Red Cross in Europe, Philippine Islands, European Forces in Germany, and Philippine Islands) and Volume 2 (U.S. Naval Forces)
  • Roll 2041:  Volumes 3 (U.S. Naval Forces) and Volume 4 (U.S. Naval Forces and U.S. Consular Service (ED 444 only)
  • Roll 2042:  Panama Canal Zone:  Civilians (EDs 1-8); Military Forces (EDs 498a-498m); and Naval Forces (EDs 821-838)

Overseas locations represented on these rolls include American Samoa, Azores, Belgium, Caribbean Sea, China, Cuba, Dalmatia, Dominican Republic, England, “Europe,” France, Germany, Guam, Haiti, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Nicaragua, Panama, Philippine Islands, Poland, Russia, Siberia, Turkey, and unspecified locations.  In addition, these rolls include military personnel at some continental U.S. locations, American Samoa, Hawaii, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


Instructions to enumerators for the 1920 census used the same text as the 1910 instructions concerning sailors on voyages (Paragraph 61); soldiers, sailors, marines, and civilian employees of the United States (Paragraph 62); and U.S. citizens abroad (Paragraph 63).  (For more information, see Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce.  Fourteenth Census of the United States, January 1, 1920.  Instructions to Enumerators (Washington:  Government Printing Office, 1919, pp. 18-19).


1930 Census

 

National Archives Microfilm Publication T626, Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930, has census schedules for the continental United States, the territories of Alaska and Hawaii, and the overseas possessions American Samoa, Guam, Panama Canal Zone, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands. There are no census schedules for military personnel overseas, but there are two microfilm rolls with Americans employed in the consular service overseas:

 

  • Roll 2630:  Consular Services:   Danzig, Poland to Zurich, Switzerland
  • Roll 2638:  Consular Services:  Acapulco, Mexico to Darien, Manchuria, and continuation of Danzig (Free State), Danzig, Poland, to Zurich, Switzerland

 

Instructions to enumerators for the 1930 census used text very similar to the 1910 and 1920 instructions concerning soldiers, sailors, marines, and civilian employees of the United States (Paragraph 73), and U.S. citizens abroad (Paragraph 78).  The enumeration of sailors in 1930 was different than in prior years.  While officers of U.S.-flag merchant vessels were to “be enumerated at their homes on land, where they will be reported by some member of the family,” crew members “of vessels in foreign or intercoastal trade” and “sea-going private vessels” were were not to be reported by as residing with their families (Paragraphs 75-76).  Instead, crew members were enumerated separately and should be found in the records reproduced as National Archives Microfilm Publication M1932, 1930 Census of Merchant Seamen (3 rolls).  (For more information, see  Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce, Form 15-100, Fifteenth Census:  Instructions to Enumerators  Population and Agriculture (Washington:  Government Printing Office, 1930), pp. 13-14).

 

1940 Census

 

National Archives Microfilm Publication T627, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, has census schedules for the continental United States, the territories of Alaska and Hawaii, and the overseas possessions of American Samoa, Guam, Panama Canal Zone, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands.  There are no other census schedules for Americans living outside the continental United States. According to Karen M. Mills, Americans Overseas in U.S. Censuses (Bureau of Census Technical Paper 62, 1993), page 3, “... a 1950 census report stated that in the 1940 census, the War and Navy Departments provided the Census Bureau with the number of their personnel stationed abroad, and the State Department furnished counts of Americans in the diplomatic service abroad and their dependents living with them.”  However, this information was not retained by the Bureau of the Census. Such information appears to have been collected for informational or statistical purposes only.

 

Instructions to enumerators for the 1940 census indicated in Paragraph 326 that stateside members of the Armed Forces were to be enumerated at the place near where they were stationed:

 

326. Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines.Enumerate soldiers, sailors, and marines in the Army or Navy of the United States as residents of the place where they usually sleep in the area where they are stationed. If, therefore, any household in your district reports that one of its members is a soldier, sailor, or marine stationed elsewhere, do not report him as a member of that household.

 

However, it is possible that members of the Armed Forces who were abroad were reported by their families under the general provisions of Paragraph 306a, which indicated that persons to be counted as members of the household included “Members of the household temporarily absent at the time of the enumeration, either in foreign countries or elsewhere in the United States, on business or visiting.”

 

Instructions concerning officers and crews of U.S.-flag vessels were substantially the same as 1930, except that census schedules with vessel crew members are likely found in an enumeration district in either the vessel’s home port or the port where the vessel was on April 1, 1940, the official census day.  (For more information, see Form PA-1, Instructions to Enumerators, Population and Agriculture, 1940, pp. 15, 19).

 

1950 Census

 

National Archives Microfilm Publication T628, Seventeenth Census of the United States, 1950 (which will be digitally released on April 1, 2022, on the NARA website), has census schedules for the continental United States, the territories of Alaska and Hawaii, and the overseas possessions of American Samoa, Guam, Panama Canal Zone, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands.

 

For the taking of the 1950 census, the Census Bureau entered into cooperative agreements with the U.S. Departments of Defense and State, and the Maritime Administration, to provide information on personnel and dependents under their authority.  The U.S. Attorney General issued an opinion in 1949 that approved the legality of the Census Bureau’s plans for enumerating Americans overseas but not including them in the total population figures for any state or in the total population of the continental United States. Thus, it is unlikely that any data obtained on Americans overseas was transcribed by Census Bureau employees onto Form P1, 1950 Census of Population and Housing, for U.S. enumeration districts where the individuals previously resided.  Such information appears to have been collected for informational or statistical purposes only.  In Paragraphs 77i and 77j of their instructions, enumerators were told:

 

77i.  Do not enumerate persons working abroad for the United States Government if their regular place of duty is abroad.  Such persons will be enumerated under special procedures. 

   However, you must enumerate as a resident of your ED any person who usually lives there if he is temporarily abroad on a vacation or in connection with his work.  A United States Government employee temporarily abroad in connection with his work should be enumerated at his usual place of residence in your ED unless his regular place of duty is abroad.

 

77j.  Do not enumerate soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen not now living in your ED.  Household members who are absent on military service should not be enumerated.  (For more information, see Urban and Rural Enumerator's Reference Manual, 1950 Census of the United States, p. 24).

 

However, census schedules exist for Canton [Kanton], Johnston, Midway, and Wake Islands that include U.S. military personnel and civilian contractors and their dependents.  These records were retained by the Census Bureau’s Field Division among administrative records in the series, “Records Relating to the 1950 Decennial Census of Territories, 1948–1951” (NAID 5550637) relating to the taking of the census in U.S. territories and possessions. These schedules will be part of the 1950 Census release on April 1, 2022.

 

In addition, the name and rank of a few U.S. military personnel overseas are included in correspondence in “Binder 36-C – Members of Armed Forces and U.S. Citizens Abroad” (NAID 205683289).

 

Instructions concerning officers and crews of U.S.-flag vessels were substantially the same as 1940, and census schedules with vessel crew members are likely found in an enumeration district in either the vessel’s home port or the port where the vessel was on April 1, 1950, the official census day.

 

No other records of Americans overseas are part of the 1950 census. 

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.  This is the 26th in a series of blog posts on the 1950 census.

 

In 1950, Dr. Henry S. Shryock, Jr., was an Assistant Chief of the Census Bureau’s Population Division and in charge of its Population Branch.  His article, “Plans for the 1950 Census,” Population Index 16: 1 (Jan. 1950): 3-13, is a succinct discussion of the differences between the 1940 and 1950 censuses and the reasons those changes were made.  Although the article was written for demographers and other persons interested in population statistics, it provides insight useful to genealogists and other researchers today.  This blog post will summarize Dr. Shryock’s most relevant comments.

 

Differences in the Questions Asked in the 1940 and 1950 Censuses

 

Early planning for the 1950 census determined that reproducing the scope of the 1940 census would cost twice as much in 1950 due to increased wages for enumerators and clerical tabulators plus the 14% increase in U.S. population.  Therefore, the decision was made to reduce the number of questions that all persons would answer, but increase the sampling from 5% (2 persons per 40 person census page) to 20% (6 persons per 30 person census page).  The 1950 sample included some questions for all sample persons and some for sample persons age 14 and over.  In addition, in 1950, 3 1/3% (1 person) answered several additional sample questions.

 

The income questions in 1950 were asked only of people on sample lines (Items 31a-32c) but inquired about a broader range of income sources than in 1940.  It was believed that the “distribution of total money income in 1949, … is more useful for many purposes than [simply] a distribution of wage and salary income alone….”

 

The Bureau hoped that better statistics on the citizenship of foreign-born persons could be obtained through the simple question, “Is he [she] naturalized?” with the answers being Yes, No, or AP for persons born abroad of American parents (Item 14).  In previous censuses, a distinction was made between aliens (AL), those who had taken out first papers (PA), and those who were fully naturalized (NA).

 

The internal migration questions (Items 21 to 24) asked persons on sample lines where they had lived one year ago (1949) instead of five years (1945) because (1) millions of men had been in the Armed Forces in April 1945; (2) it was consistent with the same question on the annual "Current Population Survey" since 1948; and (3) people’s short-term memory was better than their long-term memory.

 

The educational attainment questions (Items 26 and 27) asked of persons on sample lines had been modified slightly to get more accurate results.  The school attendance question “now refers to roughly the second semester than to just the month of March, since in 1940 it was found that many rural schools were closed for that entire month.”

 

The marriage questions (Items 36 and 37) were now asked of all adults on sample lines instead of women only.  In 1950, “Separated” was added for the first time as a new marital status category (Item 12).

 

The 1940 supplemental questions on whether the person had a Social Security Number (1940, Item 42) and whether they were the wife, widow, or minor child of a veteran (1940, item 39) were dropped “because of the poor quality of the 1940 data.”

 

The 1940 supplemental question “Language spoken in home in earliest childhood” (1940, Item 38) was dropped.  Dr. Shryock’s explanation makes it clear that “Mexicans” were the only immigrant group in which the government was particularly interested in 1950:

 

… it is planned to identify on the Population schedules in the Census office Spanish surnames in five Southwestern states.  Experimental tallies on the 1940 schedules of Spanish surnames against Spanish mother tongue, country of birth, and country of birth of parents have indicated that this is a fairly adequate means of identifying “Mexicans.”  “Mexicans” are one of our least assimilated ethnic groups. They include persons of pure Spanish descent, pure Indian descent, and mixed Spanish and Indian descent, and range from first-generation immigrants from Mexico to persons whose ancestors have lived in our Southwest for centuries.  The rather sharp demographic and social differences, on the average, between these people and other ethnic stocks make it desirable to have supplementary statistics for them for small areas (e.g., counties) in the Southwest. (Shryock, p. 7).

 

Other Innovations in the 1950 Enumeration

 

In 1940, there were separate housing schedules (which are no longer extant).  In 1950, the housing schedule was printed on the reverse side of the population schedule and are no longer extant since they were not microfilmed at the same time as the population schedules.

 

The problem of enumerating transients was well known and enumerators had “increasing difficulty” of finding a respondent on their first call “in our mobile urban society.”  He noted that “repeated callbacks are expensive and discouraging” and “it becomes easy to miss certain kinds of people altogether unless a mechanical control system is used.”  Therefore, in 1950, enumerators were “required to enter a serial number in Item 3 of the Population Schedule for all dwelling units on his [her] first call even if no one is at home.”  (Such persons, when enumerated later, out of order, were entered on pages numbered 71 and higher for that enumeration district.)

 

Dr. Shryock also briefly discussed the issue of enumerating Americans overseas.  In 1950, with “hundreds of thousands of our people overseas … it has become important to have an inventory of them.”  However, it was “still not feasible to enumerate all those overseas who claim American citizenship; but special arrangements have been made to obtain a few basic demographic characteristics of the largest and most accessible groups.” Despite these efforts, “These persons abroad will not be included with the population of continental United States but will be placed in a separate category.”  (Records of these overseas individuals do not exist and will not be part of the 1950 census release on April 1, 2022, with the exception of military and civilian personnel enumerated at Canton, Johnston, Midway, and Wake Islands, for which paper schedules exist.)

 

Training and Supervision

 

The critical importance of systematic uniform training was recognized along with the deficiencies of the training in prior census years.  “The Census staff has become increasingly aware that the weakest link in the preparation of its statistics is the individual enumerator.”  Instead of teaching district supervisors “who were more interested in their pressing administrative problems than in [census] schedule content” or in teaching individual enumerators, there would be a group of “200 to 300 experienced trainers, largely from the permanent staff,” who would train 8,300 crew leaders in small classes.  The Crew Leaders would receive and be instructed from “prepackaged” standardized training materials that included manuals, guides, and workbooks.  Besides classwork instruction, there would be filmstrips, practice exercises, mock interviews, and actual practice enumerations.  There would be more emphasis “on how to conduct an interview, how to handle refusals, how to get complete coverage, and how to fill the schedule, and less on subject matter concepts and exceptions to the rules concerning them.”

 

The Crew Leader, which was a new position in 1950, would be in charge of 18 enumerators in urban areas or 15 in rural areas.  He or she would closely supervise enumerators, review their work, edit (correct) their mistakes, and arrange “for the replacement of an obviously incompetent enumerator in the work, before the enumerator has wasted precious weeks of time.”

 

Planning and Statistics

 

Dr. Shryock discussed at length the planning that went into the 1950 census, including determination of census questions, experience gained with the Current Population Survey, pre-test censuses conducted in various locations in 1948 and 1949 (for which no schedules exist), and improved mapping.

 

For the first time following a decennial census, there would be a post-enumerative quality check with a representative national sample of 25,000 households re-enumerated by interviewers with special training. This check would test both completeness of coverage and accuracy of the data collected. (Re-enumeration schedules do not exist.)

 

The published statistics would use different terminology and cover more or larger areas than in earlier reports:

 

  • “A central city plus its urban fringe will be called an ‘urbanized area.’”

 

  • “Standard metropolitan areas will replace not only these metropolitan districts [of 1940] but also the ‘industrial areas’ of the Census of Manufactures and similar types of areas previously used by other federal statistical agencies. The new areas will be defined for cities of 50,000 or more, and each area will consist of one or more whole counties, economically and socially integrated with the central city or cities.”  (In New England, towns would be the basic unit instead of counties.)

 

  • “Census tract statistics will be published for 75 large cities in 1950 as compared with 57 in 1940.  This number is exclusive of satellite cities tracted because they are adjacent to central cities.  Whereas in 1940 the adjacent area was tracted for 24 large cities, the corresponding figure in 1950 will be 49."

 

Dr. Shryock noted that plans for post-census publication of the statistical data were still tentative and had not been finalized at the time he wrote his article.

 

Conclusion

 

Dr. Shryock’s article provides valuable insight on the 1950 census from someone who was “in the room” participating in the planning, decision-making, policymaking, and conduct of that census.  He served as the 7th Secretary (1950-1953) and the 19th President (1955-1956) of the Population Association of America, and a 1988 interview with him is online.

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.  This is the 25th in a series of blog posts on the 1950 census.

 

The Bureau of the Census and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) closely cooperated in the taking of the 1950 census on Indian Reservations.  BIA personnel trained and assisted enumerators, checked the accuracy of Enumeration District (ED) maps, and helped devise the supplemental census schedule, Form P8, Indian Reservation Schedule, shown below:

 

Form P8, Indian Reservation Schedule, 1950 Census of Population and Housing

Form P8, Indian Reservation Schedule, 1950 Census of Population and Housing

 

Native Americans living on reservations were first enumerated on the standard form used in most of the United States:  Form P1, 1950 Census of Population and Housing.  The enumerator then filled out the Form P8, Indian Reservation Schedule, which was a one-sided, one-page form.  At the top of the P8 form, the enumerator wrote the following information:

 

  • State
  • County
  • Reservation name
  • Enumeration District (ED) number
  • Dwelling unit serial number [number of house in order of visitation]
  • Agriculture questionnaire number [these no longer exist]
  • Type of house construction (check one):  Frame, Log, Stone or Brick, Tent, Brush, Mud or Adobe, Other (specify)
  • Type of floor construction (check one):  Earth, Wood, Stone or Cement, Other (specify)

 

Next, the enumerator wrote the person’s name as recorded on the Form P1, as well as the sheet (page) and line number on which the person was recorded in the ED specified above.   The following additional information was then requested:

 

  • Is he [she] known by any other name?

  • To what tribe does he [she] belong?

  • To what clan does he [she] belong?

  • Degree of Indian blood (check one):  full, 1/2, 1/4, or less than 1/4 degree

  • Does he [she] read, write or speak English? (yes/no)

  • Does he [she] read, write or speak any other language? (yes/no)

  • In 1949, did he [she] attend or participate in any native Indian ceremonies?

 

The Form P8 was intended to be a household form with lines for 10 persons, so each sheet should only contain one household.  If more than one sheet was required, the enumerator would check the box at the bottom next to the words “Household continued on second sheet.”

 

There are approximately 33,000 Forms P8, Indian Reservation Schedule, and about one percent have information recorded on the reverse side.  The 1950 census release on April 1, 2022, will include digital images of these records.

 

Information on cooperation between the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Indian Affairs can be found in these digitized administrative files in Record Group 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs:

 

  • "Memorandum from John R. Nichols, Commissioner, Bureau of Indian Affairs, to Area Directors, Superintendents, and Other Indian Service Officials, Subject: 1950 Census Training Program for Indian Reservations, with Accompanying Materials from the Bureau of the Census" (National Archives Identifier 200281085) provides information for training enumerators.
  • "File 16014-1949-034" (National Archives Identifier 202807689) discusses the 1950 census as well as the BIA’s own Indian census records.

 

 

 

 

NARA's Statement on Potentially Harmful Content

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 24th in a series of blog posts on the 1950 census.

 

Earlier this year the blog post, “1950 Census:  It Took More Than 148,000 People to Make it Happen!” examined the training schedule - shown below - that preceded the taking of the 1950 census.

 

Technical Training Program - 1950 Census:  Training Planning Schedule

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).

 

Some 26 chief instructors spent two weeks in Washington, DC, learning everything there was to know about the forthcoming census.  Those 26 then taught 400 instructors the same material at classes held at Washington, DC (actually Suitland, Maryland); Saint Louis, Missouri; and San Francisco (actually Alameda), California.  Of the 400, it was expected that 360 would be available to teach the 8,300 crew leaders who ultimately instructed 140,000 enumerators how to do the job.

 

Who were the men and women that attended “instructors schools”?  It’s not a secret.  Their names are in a file called “Rosters of Persons Attending Classes” (National Archives Identifier 206240427).  Most were employees of the Census Bureau or the Department of Agriculture, but there were also a few university personnel.  The rosters usually indicate each person’s name; employer; city and state of residence; location of training school; and the dates attended.  The lists include a few names crossed out that indicates persons who planned to attend but did not.  Some people are on more than one list. The image below shows one out of 31 pages in this file.

 

Instructors Class Starting Feb. 20, 1950, St. Louis, MO

(Image 3 of 31 from "Binder 60-C - Rosters of Persons Attending Instructor Classes (NAID 206240427); series "17th Decennial Census Reference Materials" (NAID 2990119); Record Group 29, Records of the Bureau of the Census.

Instructors class starting Feb. 20, 1950, Saint Louis, Missouri

 

 

This file of rosters of persons attending instructor classes has been digitized and is available for researcher use in the National Archives Catalog at https://catalog.archives.gov/id/206240427.  Perhaps you'll find a name of interest to you.

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.  This is the 23rd in a series of blog posts on the 1950 census.

 

6.18 miles.  That’s how much paper there was.  When the enumerators finished their work, all of the Forms P1, 1950 Census of Population and Housing, were sent to Census Bureau headquarters in Suitland, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC.  There the data was tabulated, analyzed, and published in many formats.  The paper P1 forms took a massive amount of space:  32,000 cubic feet.  The image below shows a modern cubic foot box:

Modern cubic foot box

 

The modern cubic foot box measures 12.25 inches by 15.25 inches by 10 inches, for a volume of about 1,868 cubic inches.  Those dimensions enable the box to accommodate both letter size paper/folders (front to back) or legal size paper/folders (side to side).  In contrast, a perfect cubic foot would measure 12 inches x 12 inches by 12 inches for a volume of 1,728 cubic inches. 

 

A row of 32,000 cubic foot boxes would be 32,666 feet long, or a little over 6.18 miles.  That’s a lot of paper.

 

In 1952, Census Bureau technicians microfilmed the population information on the front side of the Forms P1, 1950 Census of Population and Housing.  This is the microfilm set now known as NARA Microfilm Publication T628, Seventeenth Census of the United States, 1950 (6,373 rolls), that will provide the bulk of the records for the 1950 census release on April 1, 2022.  Instead of 32,000 boxes of paper, the 6,373 35mm microfilm rolls would fit in 79 modern cubic foot boxes (assuming 81 rolls per box).  That’s a huge difference in the amount of physical space.  The cost of microfilming was estimated at about $72,000 (1952 dollars) for the camera original negative plus one positive copy – or about $738,193 today (2021 dollars).  The image below shows a target (identification) sheet that begins each microfilm roll:

 


Researchers who remember looking at older census records on microfilm (before the “online” era) know that census microfilm is typically arranged by state, then by county, then by minor civil division, then by Enumeration District (ED) number.  Thus, Roll 1 of population census microfilm typically began with Autauga County, Alabama--the first county alphabetically in the first state alphabetically.

 

When the 1950 census was microfilmed in 1952, however, an entirely different approach was taken.  The P1 forms were apparently filmed in the order in which the Census Bureau was done using them for data tabulation purposes.  Thus, Autauga County, Alabama, ended up on Roll 2492 instead of Roll 1 where one would have traditionally found it.  A state-by-state “county level” view of the microfilming “order” was provided by the Bureau of the Census to the National Archives as the “Index to the Microfilm of the 1950 Decennial Census” (National Archives Identifier [NAID] 196015600), of which the first page for Alabama is shown below:

 

Most 1950 census microfilm rolls have a few EDs from one county, and then another, and then another, and so forth, often from different states.  There is no coherent order.  Fortunately, researchers won’t need to know what “microfilm roll” to look for when the census opens for public use on April 1, 2022.  Part of NARA’s preparation includes identifying the order in which each Enumeration District appears on each roll of microfilm and identifying all of the images (pages) for each ED.  The special NARA website dedicated to the 1950 census will enable researchers to search by state, county, ED numbers, and possibly in other ways.  (The URL for the website will be announced at at later date.)


The Census Bureau did not microfilm the housing data on the reverse side of the Form P1, 1950 Census of Population and Housing.  If the reverse side had been filmed, the number of microfilm rolls would have doubled to 12,746 rolls.  In 1961, the National Archives approved the destruction of the original paper 1950 census forms because “the essential value of the population schedules are preserved” on microfilm “and the data contained on the housing schedules are adequately summarized in publications of the Bureau of the Census.”  Due to the confidential nature of the census schedules, the housing data could not “be used by nongovernment researchers for further analysis” for many decades and it was thought that “by the time the schedules could be made available to scholars, the information about individual dwellings would have insufficient value to require the retention of these records,” according to NARA Disposition Dossier II-NN-3467 (NAID 7461357).  Certain collections of P1 forms that the Bureau retained in 1961 for further studies were disposed in 1963, according to NARA Disposition Dossier NN-163-128 (NAID 7461357).  Thus, the paper P1 forms came to the end of their lifecycle.

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.  This is the 22nd in a series of blog posts on the 1950 census.

 

It’s good advice even with today’s digital mapping applications that can give verbal directions to help you get to your destination.  “Your Map is Your Guide - Use It!” is also the title of Section IV-A of the “Enumerator’s Workbook” of October 1949 (National Archives Identifier 205683226).

 

During 1947 to 1949, the Census Bureau conducted “dress rehearsals” of the 1950 census by testing enumeration forms and instructions in “pretest” enumerations in various parts of the country.  (No, the pretest enumeration forms do not exist.). Census staff learned from the experiences and rewrote and modified the instructions and forms several times.

 

“Your Map is Your Guide” was one idea for training enumerators how to understand and use the maps they would receive as a part of their enumeration district portfolio of instructions, forms, and maps.  The enumerator was required to actively use the Enumeration District map by annotating it with the dwelling number of each house in order of visitation, as well as by making corrections, such as new roads and houses.  These markings would show the local Crew Leader that the enumerator had done a complete job of enumeration.

 

Thus, “Your Map” explained basic concepts of map reading, principles behind the drawing of Enumeration District boundaries, how to use the map to ensure a complete enumeration, and directions for marking the map.  This information included:

 

  • The U.S. would be divided into about 180,000 Enumeration Districts for the census.
  • Enumeration District boundaries follow visible features (rivers, roads, railroads, etc.) or invisible features (political boundary lines).
  • How to read the “legend” of a map that shows types of buildings or roads.
  • How to read the “scale” on a map that indicates distances.
  • How Enumeration Districts were numbered.
  • How to understand the written description of the Enumeration District.
  • How to mark the map with the serial numbers of the houses in the order in which they were enumerated.
  • How to make corrections for new or nonexistent roads, houses, and other important features.
  • How to determine the “block number” for dwellings in cities.
  • Orange Enumeration District (ED) lines marked on a road (railroad tracks, river, and so forth) meant that the ED boundary was in the middle of the road (railroad tracks, river, and so forth), so that one side of that roadway or waterway was in one ED and the other side was in the other ED.

 

Let’s take a look at a few of the fun and informative illustrations in this guide.  Perhaps it is a “lost” skill in the electronic era, but let's begin with instructions on determining the distance between two points on a map using the scale (click on the image to see it in a larger size):

 

This page shows the written description of an Enumeration District and its map:

 

The centerline or middle of roads, railroads, and waterways often formed the boundary of an Enumeration District:

 

The enumerator should consult his or her Crew Leader for help with complicated Enumeration District boundaries:

 

In urban areas, the enumerator should go around each block clockwise:

 

The enumerator’s properly filled out map - indicating houses in the order of visitation - will help him or her call back at houses where no one was at home:

 

The map doesn’t show there’s a house down this lane, driveway, or road, but the smart and thorough enumerator will go take a look anyway.  There might be a house!

 

And finally, ALWAYS have your map since it will save time and steps!