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.