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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.

1990 Census
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1990 Census

About the 1990 Census Questionnaire

The 1990 census asked only seven population and seven housing questions. A sample of respondents received the "long form," which included 23 more population inquiries. The 1990 census collected the following information, listed by question number:


The 1990 census used two questionnaires: A short form asked 13 questions to 100 percent of the population and a long form asked 45 questions to 20 percent. Questions on the long form covered topics as diverse as marital history, carpooling arrangements, number of stories in their dwelling place, presence of elevators, and type of cooking and water-heating fuel used. Questions about the presence of air conditioning, the number of bathrooms, and type of heating equipment were dropped from the housing section of the 1990 census.

An additional question on congregate housing (such as, "Does the monthly rent include any meals?") was added and the question on disability was revised, replacing the 1980 question on ability to use public transportation with one on ability to go outside of the home alone and to take care of personal needs.

Index of Questions

The following questions were asked of all respondents:

  1. Name
  2. Relationship to person in column 1
  3. Sex
  4. Race
  5. Age and year of birth
  6. Marital Status
  7. Is this person on Hispanic or Spanish origin?

The following questions were asked of a sample of respondents:

  1. In what U.S. State or foreign country was this person born?
  2. Is this person a citizen of the United States?
  3. If this person was not born in the United States, when did this person come to the United States to stay?
  4. At any time since February 1, 1990, has this person attended regular
    school or college?
  5. How much school has this person completed?
  6. What is this person's ancestory or ethnic origin?
    1. Did this person live in this house or apartment 5 years ago?
    2. If no, where did this person live 5 years ago?
    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?
    1. Has this person ever been in active-duty military service in the Armed Forces of the United States or ever been in the United States military Reserves or the National Guard?
    2. If on active-duty, was it during:
      • September 1980 or later
      • May 1975 to August 1980
      • Vietnam era (August 1964 - April 1975)
      • February 1955 - July 1964
      • Korean conflict (June 1950 - January 1955)
      • World War II (September 1940 - July 1947)
      • World War I (April 1917 - November 1918)
      • Any other time
    3. In total, how many years of active-duty military service has this person had?
  7. Does this person have a physical, mental, or other health condition that has lasted for six 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?
  8. Because of a health condition that has lasted for 6 or more months, does this person have any difficulty-
    1. Going outside the home alone, for example, to shop or visit a doctor's office?
    2. Taking care of his or her own personal needs, such as bathing, dressing, or getting around inside the home?
  9. If this person is female, how many babies has she ever had, not including stillbirths?
    1. Did this person work last week?
    2. If yes, how many hours did this person work last week?
  10. At what location did this person work last week?
    1. How did this person usually get to work last week?
      • Car, truck, or van
      • Bus or trolley bus
      • Streetcar or trolley car
      • Subway or elevated
      • Railroad
      • Ferryboat
      • Taxicab
      • Motorcycle
      • Bicycle
      • Walked only
      • Worked at home
      • Other
    2. If the person used a car, truck, or van, how many people, including this person, usually rode to work in the same vehicle last week?
    1. What time did this person usually leave home to go to work last week?
    2. How many minutes did it usually take this person to get from home to work last week?
  11. If this person did not work last week, was he 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 if one had been offered?
  12. When did this person last work, even for a few days?
  13. Industry or Employer
    1. From whom did this person work?
    2. What kind of business or industry was this?
    3. Is this job mainly...
      • Manufacturing
      • Wholesale trade
      • Retail trade
      • Other
  14. Occupation
    1. What kind of work was this person doing?
    2. What were this person's most important activities or duties?
  15. Was this person-
    • Employee of a private for profit company, business, or individual, for wages, salary, or commissions
    • Employee of a private not-for-profit, tax-exempt, or charitable organization
    • Local government employee
    • State government employee
    • Federal government employee
    • Self-employed in own not incorporated business
    • Self-employed in own incorporated business
    • Working without pay in family business or farm
    1. Last year (1989), 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 1989?
    3. During the weeks worked in 1989, how many hours did this person usually work each week?
  16. Income in 1989-
    1. Wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, or tips from all jobs
    2. Self-employment income from own non-farm business, including proprietorship and partnership
    3. Farm self-employment income
    4. Interest, dividends, net rental income or royalty income, or income from estates and trusts
    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. Retirement, survivor, or disability pensions
    8. Any other sources of income received regularly such as Veterans' (VA) payments, unemployment compensation, child support, or alimony
  17. What was this person's total income in 1989?

Page Last Revised - November 23, 2021
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