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1950 Census: Procedural Studies of the 1950 Censuses No. 2: The 1950 Censuses—How They Were Taken

The 1950 Censuses: Population, Housing, Agriculture, Irrigation, Drainage

At ten-year intervals, the Government of the United States, through the Bureau of the Census, takes a complete inventory of its population and of its homes and farms. In similar fashion, other inventories of manufacturing plants, mines, and service and trade establishments are taken at periodic intervals. These inventories, known as Censuses, provide the basic facts necessary for understanding and solving many public problems.

The 1950 Censuses involved visits to 45 million homes to get information on more than 150 million people and their dwellings as well as on more than five million farms. The total cost of this work was over 90 million dollars. More than 160 thousand people were involved in carrying out this program.

The experience in this activity has been summarized in this report to provide a public record of how the job was done. Such a record, even though condensed, is extremely important so that all who participated in any phase of the work or make use of the figures may have comprehensive understanding of the way in which the Censuses were taken. What could be a simple count in a small village becomes a highly complex operation when all the villages and cities, as well as the open country, are included. Millions of schedules and hundreds of millions of punch cards must be handled in such a manner that each person, house, or farm is counted in the right geographic area.

Although the Census Bureau has long specialized in handling the complexities of largescale statistical operations, it has not always taken effective steps to insure that the experience gained in one census is fully utilized in planning the next one. This report is intended to cover all parts of the 1950 experience in order to assist in developing plans for the 1960 Censuses.

The PDF to the right contains the Title page, Foreword, Table of Contents, and Preface.

Download Full Report

A Note on Language

Census statistics date back to 1790 and reflect the growth and change of the United States. Past census reports contain some terms that today’s readers may consider obsolete and inappropriate. As part of our goal to be open and transparent with the public, we are improving access to all Census Bureau original publications and statistics, which serve as a guide to the nation's history.

Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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