NARA released the 1950 population census schedules for researcher use on April 1, 2022, at https://1950census.archives.gov. This is the 67th in a series of blog posts on the 1950 census.
Was your ancestor a 1950 census enumerator? If so, you'll find the person's signature in the upper right corner of the census forms for the enumeration district that he or she enumerated. A previous blog post, 1950 Census: A Message to Job Applicants! discussed the skills and abilities the Census Bureau wanted census enumerators to have.
In 1953, the Census Bureau produced an 11-page analysis of "Rural Enumerator Characteristics" to better understand the portion of its temporary 1950 census workforce who assisted farmers in completing agricultural questionnaires. The study compiled and analyzed data on the age, gender, education, place of residence, occupation, and score of enumerators on the Enumerator Selection Aid, which was a test designed to identify qualified applicants. Information was compiled from 23 District Offices that included rural areas, but test grades from only 20 District Offices were available or complete.
Highlights of the study are shown below. Numbers may not total to 100% due to rounding. The full results can be read at "[Folder 0198] Field Division - Analysis and Evaluation of Field Operations" (National Archives Identifier 225357626) at https://catalog.archives.gov/id/225357626.
- Gender: 63.4% of the enumerators were women.
- Age: Overall, 60.6% of the enumerators were between 25 and 45 years old, with 51.9% of men and 65.6% women enumerators in that age group.
- Less than high school - 4.7%
- Some high school - 19.2%
- High school graduates - 40.6%
- Some college - 26.2%
- College graduates - 8.4%
- Older enumerators were less likely to have graduated from high school. Enumerators under 25 were almost twice as likely to be high school graduates as those over 55 years old.
- 50% - Reported an address as town and state without any indication of whether their residence was urban or rural.
- 25% - Reported a rural residence
- 20% - Reported an urban residence
- 5% - Reported a post office box number without any indication of whether their residence was urban or rural.
- Housewives - 37% of total enumerators (58.6% of all women enumerators)
- Farmers - 12.5%
- Clerks, stenographers, typists, or bookkeepers - 9.4%
- Unemployed - 7%
- Teachers - 4.1%
- Self-employed - 3.5%
- Salespersons - 3.5%
- Students - 2%
- Other occupations or not reported - 20.8%
- Test Results. The maximum possible score was 31 and the minimum passing grade was 10.
- Score of 20 or more - 22.5%
- Score of 15 to 19 - 25.4%
- Score of 10 to 14 - 37.2%
- Score of 5 to 9 - 12.9%
- Score of 1 to 4 - 1.5%
- Not graded - 0.4%
- 50% of persons with scores over 20 had some college education.
- Persons with scores under 10 were from all education levels.
Author's Note: A similar analysis of urban enumerator characteristics has not yet been discovered. The "Test Results" are interesting since they highlight how desperate the Census Bureau was in some places to find enumerators - and apparently even had to accept unqualified personnel (people who could not pass the test) in order to get the census done on time. Two different versions of the Enumerator's Selection Aid (17 Per-5 and 17 Per-11) are reproduced in "[Folder 0193-D] - Field Division - Enumeration - District Office - Forms 17Per" (National Archives Identifier 225357616), online at https://catalog.archives.gov/id/225357616. Can you pass the test?