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 19th in a series of blog posts on the 1950 census.

 

This is our eighth detailed look at the Form P1, Population and Housing Schedule, that was used in most of the United States.  This post will focus on questions 35 to 38 that were asked of the person on the last “sample” line of each form who were 14 years of age and over.  You could call these people the "3 1/3 Percenters" - the select 1 out of every 30 persons who answered six additional census questions.  

 

Item 34 was not a question, but a direction to the enumerator:   "To enumerator:  If person worked last year (1 or more weeks in item 30):  Is there any entry in items 20a, 20b, and 20c?  If Yes, skip to item 36.  If no, make entries in items 35a, 35b, and 35c."

 

Items 35a, 35b, and 35c relied upon the same directions as items 20a, 20b, and 20c that were previously discussed here, but referred to the person's previous job instead of their current job. 

 

  • Item 35a,  "What kind of work did this person do in his last (previous) job?"  This question relied upon the same rules and instructions as Item 20a.

 

  • Item 35b,  "What kind of business or industry did he work in (in previous job)?" This question relied upon the same rules and instructions as Item 20b.

 

  • Item 35c,  Class of worker (in previous job): Private employer (P), government (G), in his or her own business (O), or without pay on family farm or business (NP).  This question relied upon the same rules and instructions as Item 20c.

 

Item 36,  If ever married (Mar, Wd, D, or Sep in item 12):  Has this person been married more than once?  The possible answers are Yes, No, or blank if the person has never been married.

 

Item 37,  How many years since this person was (last) married, widowed, divorced, or separated?  To make answering this question easier, the enumerator was told to look at Items 12 and 36 before asking the question.  Thus:

 

  • For persons married only once ("No" in item 36) who were coded "Mar" in item 12, the enumerator was to ask, "How many years since he (or she) was married?"
  • For persons married more than once ("Yes" in item 36) who were coded "Mar" in item 12, the enumerator was to ask, "How many years since he (or she) was last married?"
  • For persons coded "Nev" in item 12, this item was to be left blank.
  • Only whole years (not partial years) were to be counted, except that the box "Less than 1 year" was to be checked if appropriate.

 

Item 38, If female and ever married (Mar, Wd, D, or Sep in item 12):  How many children has she ever borne, not counting stillbirths?  The enumerator was to count all children ever born alive to this woman, including children by any previous marriage, children now deceased, and children not living in the household. Stillbirths were those in which the infant never breathed.  Logically, neither the woman's adopted children or stepchildren were to be counted.  If the respondent asked whether adopted children should be counted, the enumerator was to tell the woman that they should not be, but the enumerator was not to inquire whether any of the children had been adopted.  

 

Adapted from Form P1, 1950 Census of Population and Housing, and Urban and Rural Enumerator's Reference Manual, 1950 Census of the United States, pages 59-60