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Decennial Census of Population and Housing Questionnaires & Instructions

Here you will learn whether an archive of past questionnaires - also known as schedules or forms – is available online. Many of our surveys now offer an online response in place of completing and mailing a printed form.

1960 Census
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1960 Census

Decennial Census of Population and Housing Questionnaires & Instructions


1960 marked the birth of the first mail-out census. Earlier censuses had used self-enumeration on a limited scale, but 1960 was the debut for this technique as a primary method for the collection of population and residential data. The postal service delivered questionnaires to every occupied housing unit. Householders were asked to complete the questionnaire and hold it for an enumerator to pick up.

Enumeration efforts were divided into two stages. The first stage concentrated on the quick collection of a few data items for every person and dwelling unit- information available from responses to questions on the questionnaire that had been delivered to every household. The second stage focused on the collection of more detailed economic and social information from a sample of households and dwelling units. Second stage questionnaires were hand-delivered by enumerators when they came to pick up the first form. Households receiving the second questionnaire were asked to complete the form and mail it to their local census office in postage-paid envelopes provided by enumerators.

In areas of low population density, the two-staged enumeration was combined to allow enumerators to collect and record sample data at the same time they came to fill out the general questionnaire.


For the first time in 1960, the Census Bureau mailed out a combined population and housing questionnaire to all urban residents in the United States. Residents were to complete the questionnaire themselves and hold it until an enumerator came visit and collect the form. Enumerators then gave an additional sample questionnaire to 25 percent of households, with instructions to mail it back to their census office. Rural residents were enumerated by traditional visitation. The census "short form" collected only five questions: relationship to head of household, age, sex, race, and marital status. The census questionnaire and enumerators collected the following information, listed by question number:

  1. Name
  2. Relationship to head of household
  3. Sex
  4. Race or color
  5. Date of birth
  6. Marital status
  7. Place of birth
  8. If foreign born, what is the person's mother tongue?
  9. Birth country of person's father
  10. Birth country of person's mother
  11. When did this person move into this house or apartment? The following categories were listed on the form:
    • In 1959 or 1960
    • In 1958
    • In 1957
    • April 1955 to December 1956
    • January 1954 to March 1955
    • 1950 to 1953
    • 1940 to 1949
    • 1939 or earlier
    • Always lived at this place
  12. Did the person live in this house on April 1, 1955?
    1. Born April 1955 or later
    2. Yes, this house
    3. No, different house
      Where did he live on April 1, 1955?
      1. City or town
      2. Did he live inside of the city limits?
      3. County
        State, foreign country, U.S. possession, or etc.
  13. What is the highest grade this person has attended in school?
  14. Did the person finish that highest grade?
  15. Has the person attended regular school or college at any time since February 1, 1960?
  16. Was it a public or private school?
  17. If this person has ever been married, has this person been married more than once?
  18. What month and year did the person get married? If he has been married more than once, what was the month and year of his first marriage?
  19. If this is a woman who has ever been married, how many babies has she ever had, not counting stillbirths?
  20. Was this person born before or after April 1946?

If the person was born before April 1946...

  1. Did this person work at any time last week?
  2. If yes, how many hours did he work last week at all jobs?
  3. Was this person looking for work, or on a layoff from a job?
  4. Does this person have a job or business from which he was temporarily absent last week because of illness, vacation, or other reasons?
  5. When did the person last work, even for a few days?
    • Working now
    • In 1960
    • In 1959
    • 1955 to 1958
    • 1950 to 1954
    • 1949 or earlier
    • Never worked
  6. Occupation
    1. This person last worked in 1949 or has never worked
    2. This person is on active duty in the armed forces now
    3. This person worked in 1950 or later
      1. For whom did he work?
      2. What kind of business or industry was it?
      3. Was the industry primarily...
        • Manufacturing
        • Wholesale trade
        • Retail trade
        • Other (services, agriculture, government, construction, etc.)
      4. What kind of work was this person doing?
      5. Was this person...
        • Privately employed
        • A government employee
        • Self-employed
        • Working without pay
  7. What city and county did this person work in last week?
  8. How did this person get to work last week?
    • Railroad
    • Subway or elevated train
    • Bus or streetcar
    • Taxicab
    • Private auto or carpool
    • Walk only
    • Worked at home
    • Other
  9. Last year, did this person work at all?
  10. How many weeks did this person work, either full time or part time?
  11. How much did this person earn in 1959 in wages, salary, commissions, or tips for all jobs?
  12. How much did he earn in 1959 in profits or fees from working in his own business, professional practice, partnership, or farm?
  13. Last year, how much income did this person receive from Social Security, pensions, veteran's payments, rent (minus expenses), interest or dividends, unemployment insurance, welfare payments, etc?
  14. Has this person ever served in the Army, Navy, or other Armed forces?,br /> If so, was it during the Korean War, World War II, World War I, or at another time?


Housing questions for the 1960 census were wrapped up with population inquiries. Enumerators filled out answers for the first 18 questions themselves- self enumeration began at question 19. The following information, listed by question number, was collected:

Enumerators obtained the following information themselves, with possible response options listed under applicable questions.

  1. Address
  2. Type of housing unit
    • House, apartment, or flat
    • Trailer
  3. Access to unit
    • Direct from outside or through a common hall
    • Through another unit
  4. Does the person have a kitchen or cooking equipment
    • For the use of people in his household only
    • Shared with another household or no cooking equipment
  5. What is the condition of the housing unit?
    • Sound
    • Deteriorating
    • Dilapidated
  6. Is the unit occupied?
    • If vacant, is it vacant...
      • Year-round
      • Migratory worker housing
      • Seasonal housing
  7. How many rooms are in this unit? Include kitchens but not bathrooms.
  8. Is there hot and cold running water inside this house or building?
    • Hot and cold running water inside the house or building
    • Only cold running water inside
    • Running water on property but not inside building
    • No running water
  9. Is there a flush toilet inside of this house or building?
    • Yes, for this household only
    • Yes, but shared with another household
    • No flush toilet for the use of this household,
  10. Is there a bathtub or shower in this house or building?
    • Yes, for this household only
    • Yes, but shared with another household
    • No bathtub or shower for the use of this household,
  11. Is the house, part of a house, or apartment in which the person lives...
    • Owned or being bought by the person or someone else in the household?
    • Rented for cash
    • Occupied without the payment of cash rent
  12. If the housing unit is vacant, is it...
    • For rent
    • For sale only
    • Rented or sold, but not occupied
    • For occasional use
    • Vacant for another reason
  13. Description of property for owner-occupied units
    • 1 unit with no business
    • 1 unit with a business
    • 2 or more units
  14. About how much does the homeowner think his property would sell for?
  15. If renting, what is the monthly rent? If rent is paid over some other period of time, what is that rent and period of time?
  16. For farm residents, is this house...
    • On a city lot?
    • On a place of less than ten acres?
    • On a place of ten or more acres?
  17. If the farm was not on a city lot...
    • If on a place of less than ten acres...
      • Las year, did sales of crops, livestock, or other farm products from this place amount to...
        • $250 or more
        • Less that $250 or none
    • If on a place of ten or more acres...
      • Last year, did sales of crops, livestock, or other farm products from this place amount to...
        • $50 or more
        • Less than $50 or none

Beginning with question 19, residents filled in information on the questionnaire themselves.

  1. How many bedrooms are in the house or apartment?
  2. About when was this house originally built?
  3. How is the person's house or apartment heated?
    • Steam or hot water
    • Warm air furnace with individual room registers
    • Floor, wall, or pipeless furnace
    • Built-in electrical units
    • Room heaters connected to a chimney or flue
    • Room heaters not connected to a chimney or flue
    • Other method
  4. From this list of fuels, which does the household use for house heating, cooking, and water heating?
    • Coal or coke
    • Wood
    • Utility gas from underground pipes serving the neighborhood
    • Bottled, tank, or LP gas
    • Electricity
    • Fuel oil, kerosene, etc.
    • Other fuel
    • No fuel use
  5. Does the household have an unshared clothes washing machine?
    • Machine with wringer or separate spinner
    • Automatic or semi-automatic machine
    • Washer-dryer combination (single unit)
    • No washing machine
  6. Does the household have an electric or gas clothes dryer?
    • Electrically heated dryer
    • Gas heated dryer
    • No dryer
  7. Does the household have any television units?
    • One set
    • Two sets or more
    • No television sets
  8. Does the household have any radios?
    • One radio
    • Two radios or more
    • No radios
  9. Does the household have air conditioning?
    • Room unit - one only
    • Room units - two or more
    • Central air conditioning system
    • No air conditioning
  10. Does the household have a home food freezer which is separate from its refrigerator?
  1. How many bathrooms are in the house or apartment?
    • No bathroom, or only a partial bathroom
    • One complete bathroom
    • One complete bathroom, plus partial bathrooms
    • Two or more complete bathrooms
  1. Is this house built...
    • With a basement?
    • On a concrete slab?
    • Another way?
  2. Does this building have...
    • Three stories or less
    • Four stories or more
      • With an elevator
      • Walk-up
  3. Is there a telephone on which people who live in the household can be called? If so, what is the telephone number?
  4. How many passenger automobiles are owned or regularly used by people who live at the household?
    • No automobile
    • One automobile
    • Two automobiles
    • Three automobiles or more
  5. If the household lives in a trailer, is it mobile or on a permanent foundation?

The following questions were for renters only

  1. In addition to rent does the household also pay for electricity? Gas? Water?
  2. If yes, what is the monthly cost for each?
  3. In addition to rent, does the household also pay for oil, coal, kerosene, or wood?
  4. If yes, what is the yearly cost for each?


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