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.