NARA released the 1950 population census schedules for researcher use on April 1, 2022, at https://1950census.archives.gov. This is the 66th in a series of blog posts on the 1950 census. This post was last updated January 9, 2023.
Work by enumerators and their supervisors during four weeks in April 1950 produced the most widely-known and used 1950 census records: The population schedules available at https://1950census.archives.gov. However, they are only part of the records relating to the 1950 census. Planning began about 1947 and analysis and publication of results continued as late as 1960. Thus, there are also administrative (background) records that describe the planning, administration, conduct, compilation, and analysis of the census results. Just consider:
- Planning and testing of questions, forms, instructions, and work processes.
- Budget planning - and seeking budget approved by Congress.
- Designing Enumeration Districts that could be completed within 2 weeks in cities and within 4 weeks in rural areas.
- Writing and disseminating advertising materials, press releases, radio spots, and other media.
- Hiring and training 140,000 census enumerators; 8,000 crew leaders; and thousands of other clerical staff for office tasks. (Sorry - there are no lists or personnel files for enumerators or other temporary employees.)
- Reviewing census forms submitted by enumerators and the public by local crew leaders (first-level supervisors) and in Washington for completeness.
- Efficiently filing and organizing census schedules for efficient retrieval by staff during coding, keypunching, and related tasks.
- Annotation of Individual Census Report information obtained during T-Night #1 and "Missed Person Forms" onto the census schedules for the correct Enumeration District.
- Coding fields such as occupation, industry, and others to enable efficient data entry onto "punch cards" by keypunch operators.
- Writing computer programs to compile and output data from keypunch cards into useful statistical data sets.
- Compiling and analyzing the data collected to write and publish reports with compiled statistics and discussion of trends in population, housing, agriculture, and other subject areas of interest.
- Microfilming the census schedules after data compilation and analysis was completed.
- There are probably many other tasks not listed above!
The above subjects are discussed and described in the 1950 Census administrative (background) records compiled by the Bureau of the Census. Materials in the National Archives Catalog that have been (or are being) digitized can be found using the links below. Digitization of additional material continues.
- Administrative records that have been digitized - from various record series - Catalog search term "1950CensusAdminRecords"
- Administrative records relating to Native Americans (Record Groups 29 and 75) - Catalog search term "1950CensusNativeAmericans"
- Administrative records relating to Black persons - Catalog search term "50CENB"
- Administrative records relating to the 1950 Census Teacher Participation Program - Catalog search term "1950TPP"
- Administrative records relating to the Post-Enumeration Survey (PES) - Catalog search term "PES1950"
- Administrative records relating to Alaska - Catalog search term "50CENAK"
- Administrative records relating to American Samoa - Catalog search term "50CENAS"
- Administrative records relating to Guam - Catalog search term "50CENGU"
- Administrative records relating to Hawaii - Catalog search term "50CENHI"
- Administrative records relating to Panama Canal Zone - Catalog search term "50CENPC"
- Administrative records relating to Puerto Rico - Catalog search term "50CENPR"
- Administrative records relating to the Virgin Islands of the United States - Catalog search term "50CENVI"
- Alternative Enumeration Procedures and Self-Enumeration in Selected Michigan and Ohio Areas - blog post that explains and includes links to relevant administrative records for the experimental enumeration procedures: