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Fast Facts

POP Culture: 1950

ICONS: Rock & Roll, Civil Rights Movement, Television
Elvis Rosa Parks Watching TV

  • RCA broadcasts the first color television program on June 25, 1951.
  • Sam Phillips opens the "Sun Records" record label in Memphis, TN, March 27, 1952.
  • Francis Crick and James Watson discover the spiral structure of DNA on February 28, 1953, and report the findings in Nature on April 25, 1953.
  • Memphis DJ Dewey Phillips introduced radio listeners to Elvis Presley on July 8, 1953, when he played "That's All Right" on his "Red, Hot, and Blue show."
  • Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea receives a 1953 Pulitzer Prize. In 1954, the author is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
  • The USS Nautilus, the first nuclear submarine, launches on January 21, 1954.
  • On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refuses to vacate her seat aboard a Montgomery, AL, bus.
  • Fred Gipson publishes the novel, Old Yeller in 1956 and receives a Newbury Honor in 1957.
  • CBS debuts Leave It to Beaver on October 4, 1957.
  • Brazil wins its first Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup, beating Sweden 5-2, on June 29, 1958.
  • Alaska and Hawaii become the 49th and 50th states, respectively, in 1959.
  • Rod Serling's Twilight Zone begins airing October 2, 1959.

The 1950 Census


10 Largest Urban Places

U.S. Resident Population: 151,325,798 Rank Place Population
Population per square mile of land area: 42.6 1 New York City, NY 7,891,957
Percent increase of population from 1940 to 1950: 14.5 2 Chicago, IL 3,620,962
Official Enumeration Date: April 1 3 Philadelphia, PA 2,071,605
Number of States: 48 4 Los Angeles, CA 1,970,358
Cost: $91,462,000 5 Detroit, MI 1,849,568
Cost per Capita (cents): 60.4 6 Baltimore, MD 949,708
Total Pages in Published Reports: 61,700 7 Cleveland, OH 914,808
Number of Enumerators: 142,962 8 St. Louis, MO 856,796
Census Bureau Director: Roy Victor Peel 9 Washington, DC 802,178
Number of Questions on the Standard Form: 20 10 Boston, MA 801,444
Number of Supplemental Questions: 18

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Census History Staff | Last Revised: July 26, 2023