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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.

1980 Census
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1980 Census

About the 1980 Census Questionnaire


Due to the success of the mail-out/mail-back questionnaire in 1970 the program was expanded for 1980 with about 95 percent of the U.S. population now enumerated in this manner.

The 1980 short form contained 7 population questions and 11 housing questions; the long form contained an additional 26 population and 10 housing inquiries. A question on Spanish or Hispanic origin or descent was added to the 100-percent questions for the first time; in 1970 this question was asked of only 5 percent of the population.

The 1980 census also included two small surveys. The Components of Inventory Change Survey obtained information on the number and characteristics of housing units that changed or stayed the same between 1973 and 1980. The Residential Finance Survey collected data on mortgages, shelter costs, selected housing characteristics and owner characteristics.

Index of Questions

1980 Questionnaire – Population

The following information, listed by questions number, was collected from each respondent:

The following questions were asked of all respondents:

  1. Name
  2. Relationship to first person listed on the questionnaire
  3. Sex
  4. Race
    1. Age at last birthday
    2. Month of birth
    3. Year of birth
  5. Marital status
  6. Is this person of Spanish/Hispanic origin or descent
  7. Since February 1, 1980, has this person attended regular school or college?
  8. What is the highest grade (or year) of regular school this person has ever attended?
  9. Did this person finish the highest grade (or year) attended?

The following questions were asked of a sample of respondents:

  1. In what state or foreign country was the person born?
  2. If this person was born in a foreign country...
    1. Is this person a naturalized citizen of the United States?
    2. When did this person come the the United States to stay?
    1. Does this person speak a language other than English at home?
    2. If yes, what is this language?
    3. If yes, how well does this person speak English?
  3. What is this person's ancestry?
    1. Did this person live in this house five years ago?
    2. If no, where did this person live five years ago?
  4. When was this person born?
    1. Before April 1965 (continue with questions 17 - 33)
    2. April 1965 or later (answer no more questions)
  5. In April 1975 was this person-
    1. On active duty in the Armed Forces?
    2. Attending college?
    3. Working at a job or business? If yes, full time or part time?
    1. Is this person a veteran of active-duty military service in the Armed Forces of the United States?
    2. Was active duty military service during-
      1. May 1975 or later
      2. Vietnam era (August 1964 - April 1975)
      3. February 1955 - July 1964
      4. Korean conflict (June 1950 - January 1955)
      5. World War II (September 1940 - July 1947)
      6. World War I (April 1917 - November 1918)
      7. Any other time
  6. Does this person have a physical, mental, or other health condition which has lasted for 6 or more months and which...
    1. Limits the kind or amount of work this person can do at a job?
    2. Prevents this person from working at a job?
    3. Limits or prevents this person from using public transportation?
  7. If this person is a female, how many babies has she ever had, not counting stillbirths?
  8. If this person has ever been married-
    1. Has this person been married more than once?
    2. Month and year of marriage or first marriage
    3. If married more than once, did the first marriage end because of the death of the husband (or wife)?
    1. Did this person work at any time last week?
    2. How many hours did this person work last week (at all jobs)?
  9. At what location did this person work last week?
    1. Address
    2. Name of city, town, village, or borough
    3. Is the place inside the incorporated (legal) limits of that city, town, village, or borough?
    4. County
    5. State
    6. ZIP Code
    1. Last week, how long did it usually take this person to get from home to work (one way)?
    2. How did this person usually get to work last week?
      1. Car
      2. Truck
      3. Van
      4. Bus or streetcar
      5. Railroad
      6. Subway or elevated
      7. Taxicab
      8. Motorcycle
      9. Bicycle
      10. Walked only
      11. Worked at home
      12. Other
    3. If the person uses a car, truck, or van- when going to work last week, did this person usually...
      1. Drive alone
      2. Share driving
      3. Dive others only
      4. Ride as a passenger only
    4. If the person does not drive alone- how many people, including this person, usually rode to work in the car, truck, or van last week?
  10. If this person was not at work last week, was this person temporarily absent or on layoff from a job or business last week?
    1. Has this person been looking for work during the last four weeks?
    2. If yes, could this person have taken a job last week?
  11. When did this person last work, even for a few days?
  12. Industry
    1. From whom did this person work?
    2. What kind of business or industry was this?
    3. Is this job mainly...
      1. Manufacturing
      2. Wholesale trade
      3. Retail trade
      4. Other
  13. Occupation
    1. What kind of work was this person doing?
    2. What were this person's most important activities or duties?
  14. Was this person-
    1. Employee of a private company, business, or individual, for wages, salary, or commissions
    2. Federal government employee
    3. State government employee
    4. Local government employee
    5. Self-employed in own business
      1. Own business not incorporated
      2. Own business incorporated
    6. Working without pay in family business or farm
    1. Last year (1979), did this person work, even for a few days, at a paid job or in a business or farm?
    2. If yes, how many weeks did this person work in 1979?
    3. During the weeks worked in 1979, how many hours did this person usually work each week?
    4. Of the weeks not worked in 1979 (if any), how many weeks was this person looking for work or on layoff from a job?
  15. Income in 1979 from...
    1. Wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, or tips from all jobs
    2. Own non-farm business, partnership, or professional practice
    3. Own farm
    4. Interest, dividends, royalties, or net rental income
    5. Social Security or Railroad Retirement
    6. Supplemental Security (SSI), Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), or other public assistance or public welfare payments
    7. Unemployment compensation, veterans' payments, pensions, alimony, child support, or any other sources of income received regularly
  16. What was this person's total income from 1979?

1980 Questionnaire – Housing

The first 12 questions on the housing section of the 1980 census questionnaire were asked of all respondents. The rest were asked only to a sample. As with previous censuses, some questions had set answers for the respondent to choose from; where relevant, those answers have been listed. The 1980 census of housing collected the following information, listed by question number:

The following information was collected from all respondents:

  1. Did you leave anyone out of Question 1 [in the population section of the questionnaire] because you were not sure if the person should be listed?
  2. Did you list anyone in Question 1 who is away from home right now?
  3. Is anyone visiting here who is not already listed?
  4. How many living quarters, occupied or vacant, are at this address?
  5. Do you enter your living quarters-
    1. Directly from the outside or through a common or public hall?
    2. Through someone else's living quarters
  6. Do you have complete plumbing facilities in your living quarters, that is, hot and cold piped water, a flush toilet, and a bathtub or shower?
    1. Yes, for this household only
    2. Yes, but also used by another household
    3. No, have some but not all plumbing facilities
    4. No plumbing facilities in living quarters
  7. How many rooms do you have in your living quarters?
  8. Are your living quarters-
    1. Owned or being bought by you or by someone else in this household?
    2. Rented for cash rent?
    3. Occupied without payment of cash rent?
  9. Is this apartment (house) part of a condominium?
  10. If this is a one family house-
    1. Is this house on a property of 10 or more acres?
    2. Is any part of the property used as a commercial establishment or medical office?
  11. If you live in a single family home or a condominium unit which you own or are buying; What is the value of this property, that is, how much do you think this property (house and lot or condominium) would sell for if it were for sale?
  12. If you pay rent for your living quarters; What is the monthly rent?

The following questions were asked on a sample basis:

  1. Which best describes this building?
    1. A mobile home or trailer
    2. A one-family house detached from any other house
    3. A one-family house attached to one or more houses
    4. A building for 2 families
    5. A building for 3 or 4 families
    6. A building for 5 to 9 families
    7. A building for 10 to 19 families
    8. A building for 20 to 49 families
    9. A building for 50 or more families
    10. A boat, tent, van, etc.
    1. How many stories (floors) in this building?
    2. If more than four stories, does the building have an elevator?
    1. Is this building...
      1. On a city or suburban lot, or on a place of less than 1 acre
      2. On a place of 1 to 9 acres
      3. On a place of 10 acres or more
    2. Last year (1979) how much did sales of crops, livestock, and other farm products from this place amount to?
  2. Do you get water from-
    1. A public system (city water department, etc.) or private company
    2. An individual drilled well
    3. An individual dug well
    4. Some other source
  3. Is this building connected to the public sewer?
    1. Yes, connected to public sewer
    2. No, connected to septic tank or cesspool
    3. No, use other means
  4. About when was this building originally built?
  5. When did the person listed in column 1 move into this house or apartment?
  6. How are your living quarters heated?
    1. Steam or hot water system
    2. Central warm air furnace with ducts to individual rooms
    3. Electric heat pump
    4. Other built-in electric units
    5. Floor, wall, or pipeless furnace
    6. Room heaters with flue or vent, burning gas, oil or kerosene
    7. Room heaters without flue or vent, burning gas, oil or kerosene
    8. Fireplaces, stoves, or portable room heaters of any kind
    9. No heating equipment
    1. Which fuel is used most for house heating?
      1. Gas from underground pipes serving the neighborhood
      2. Gas: bottled, tank, or LP
      3. Electricity
      4. Fuel oil, kerosene, etc.
      5. Coal or coke
      6. Wood
      7. Other fuel
      8. No fuel used
    2. Which fuel is used most for water heating?
      1. Gas from underground pipes serving the neighborhood
      2. Gas: bottled, tank, or LP
      3. Electricity
      4. Fuel oil, kerosene, etc.
      5. Coal or coke
      6. Wood
      7. Other fuel
      8. No fuel used
    3. Which fuel is used most for cooking?
      1. Gas from underground pipes serving the neighborhood
      2. Gas: bottled, tank, or LP
      3. Electricity
      4. Fuel oil, kerosene, etc.
      5. Coal or coke
      6. Wood
      7. Other fuel
      8. No fuel used
  7. What are the costs of utilities and other fuels in your living quarters?
    1. Electricity
    2. Gas
    3. Water
    4. Oil, coal, kerosene, wood, etc.
  8. Do you have complete (a sink with piped water, a range or cook stove, and a refrigerator) kitchen facilities?
  9. How many bedrooms do you have?
  10. How many bathrooms do you have?
  11. Do you have a telephone in your living quarters?
  12. Do you have air conditioning?
    1. yes, 1 individual room unit
    2. yes, 2 or more individual room units
    3. Yes, a central air-conditioning system
    4. No
  13. How many passenger automobiles are owned or regularly used by members of your household?
    1. None
    2. 1 automobile
    3. 2 automobiles
    4. 3 automobiles or more
  14. How many vans or trucks of one-tone capacity or less are kept at home for used by members of your household?

These questions were for owners of one-family homes only, not including mobile homes, houses on 10 or more acres, condominium units, or houses with commercial establishments on property

  1. What were the real estate taxes on this property last year?
  2. What is the annual premium for fire and hazard insurance on this property?
    1. Do you have a mortgage, deed of trust, contract to purchase, or similar debt on this property?
    2. If yes, do you have a second or junior mortgage on this property?
    3. How much is your total regular monthly payment to the lender?
    4. Does your regular monthly payment include payments for real estate taxes on this property?
    5. Does you regular monthly payment include payments for fire and hazard insurance on this property?

Page Last Revised - November 23, 2021
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