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

 

After the enumerators finished collecting information from the people, the Bureau of the Census compiled the data in statistically useful ways and published it in a variety of formats intended to meet the needs of diverse policymakers and other interested persons. This process took significant time and resulted in a myriad of publication “series” as the Bureau called them.  Lists of the statistical publications resulting from 1950 census data are in the Catalog of United States Census Publications, 1950 (and numerous later editions, such as 1951-1955).

 

For example, Series “PC” contained “preliminary and advance figures” from the data. PC-1 through PC-4 were preliminary data subject to correction and revision that would be superseded by final numbers published in later reports. PC-5, PC-6, and PC-7 reported data “based on a special preliminary sample drawn from the complete census.”  Series PC-8 through PC-11 were called “Advance Reports.” PC-8 included a separate report for each state and the District of Columbia. PC-9 was for the United States as a whole. PC-10 included census tract figures for 69 large cities. PC-11 gave final population counts for U.S. territories and possessions.

 

Shown below on the left is PC-11, No. 1, Population of Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico, April 1, 1950, issued December 5, 1950.  It is a single page that gives summary population numbers for Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico for 1940 and 1950, as well as the percentage changes from 1930 to 1940, 1940, and 1940 to 1950.  At the right is PC-11, No. 2, Population of American Samoa, Canal Zone, Guam, and the Virgin Islands of the United States: April 1, 1950, issued on February 14, 1951, that contains summary information similar to No. 1.

 

PC-11, No. 1PC-11, No. 2

PC-11, No. 1, Population of Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico, April 1, 1950, issued December 5, 1950

PC-11, No. 1, Population of Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico, April 1, 1950 (NAID 195980219)

PC-11, No. 2, Population of American Samoa, Canal Zone, Guam, and the Virgin Islands of the United States: April 1, 1950 (NAID 195980220)

 

 

After more data was compiled, a longer 6 page report was issued as PC-11, No. 3, Population of American Samoa, Canal Zone, Guam, and the Virgin Islands of the United States: April 1, 1950.  Issued on January 20, 1952, it contains in six pages of population data individual villages, quarters, islands, towns, cities, court districts, counties, and municipalities in these areas.

 

First page of PC-11, No. 3, Population of American Samoa, Canal Zone, Guam, and the Virgin Islands of the United States: April 1, 1950, issued on January 20, 1952 (NAID 195980221)Image:  First page of PC-11, No. 3, Population of American Samoa, Canal Zone, Guam, and the Virgin Islands of the United States: April 1, 1950 (NAID 195980221).

 

While statistical data can seem boring and provides no information about a specific person, it can help provide context to an individual’s life.