0 Replies Latest reply on Mar 29, 2022 12:59 PM by Joel Weintraub

    1950 Census Block Housing Information Is Available For 213 Municipalities

    Joel Weintraub Scout

      A question often asked about the 1950 US census rollout on 1st April 2022 is whether the 1950 Housing Schedule will also be made public. The answers are that the Housing Survey on the back of the Population Schedule was never filmed, the paper forms were destroyed in the early 1960s, and all that remains are housing statistical summaries. But what is the smallest geographical unit that has summary statistics? Individual city blocks for some cities have that information! Which cities? The Census Bureau issued “213 bulletins (including five for the boroughs of New York City) …for the 209 cities which had a population of 50,000 or more in 1940 or in a subsequent census prior to 1950” which have such statistics. This quote and the names of the 213 urban areas copied from the Bureau's 1950 Housing Report Volume V can be seen below

      Housing Report

      The bulletins can be gotten from the Census Bureau's 1950 online Housing Reports at: https://www.census.gov/library/publications/1953/dec/housing-vol-05.html


      Let me take you through one of these housing bulletins. Iʼll use Akron Ohio; I have the original publication. The bulletin measures about 10 inches by 20 inches and has 50 pages. There is a key map to the city showing the census tract numbers within boundaries correlating to the subsequent maps. There are 5 of these smaller maps showing every block in their section of Akron. All blocks are numbered and the format is that within each census tract, block numbers go from 1 to the number of blocks in that tract. You may see on other such bulletin maps blocks numbered from 1 to the total number of blocks in the city; those maps usually donʼt show census tracts but instead show wards or other divisions.


      In looking through all 213 bulletins, I found that the online bulletins were missing 26 maps. The Census Bureau reference librarians found those missing maps and sent them to me. We (Steve Morse and I) put the complete set of maps at: https://stevemorse.org/census/1940-1950blocks.html You may also be able to find block numbers and census tracts, wards, and other division information on the 1950 Enumeration District maps for these urban areas.


      Once you have the block number for your 1950 residence of interest, and the census tract or other division that contained the block, you can look for that blockʼs housing statistical summary on the bulletinʼs table pages. Only a few of the Housing Survey questions were used for the tables. Rather than describe the table headings, you can see them for Akron at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/tiq18rw2np1xhee/Akron.pdf?dl=0


      I have a YouTube video on these 213 bulletins at: https://youtu.be/QGPkOtKOgL0

      The maps are great resources as they tend to show most of the street names within the city circa 1950.