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: