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Research Guides

U.S. Decennial Census: 1950

Decade by decade information about how to access and use U.S. Census reports.

Census By Decade

1790  1800  1810  1820  1830  1840  1850  1860  1870  1880  1890  1900

1910  1920  1930  1940  1950  1960  1970  1980  1990  2000  2010  2020

About the 1950 census


  • 17th decennial census
  • US population: 150,697,361
  • Washington population: 2,378,963

Questions asked

  • Information obtained from all persons:
    • Address;
    • whether house is on farm;
    • name;
    • relationship to head of household;
    • race;
    • sex;
    • age;
    • martial status;
    • place of birth;
    • if foreign born, whether naturalized;
    • employment status;
    • hours worked during week preceding enumeration;
    • occupation, industry, and class of worker.
  • Information obtained from 20-percent sample:
    • Whether living in same house a year ago;
    • whether living on a farm a year ago;
    • if not in same house, county and State of residence year ago;
    • country of birth of parents;
    • educational attainment;
    • school attendance;
    • if looking for work, number of weeks;
    • weeks worked last year;
    • for each person and each family, earnings last year from wages and salary, from self-employment;
    • other income last year; veteran status.
  • Information obtained from 3-1/3 percent sample:
    • For persons who worked last year but not in current labor force: occupation, industry, and class of worker on last job;
    • if ever married, whether married more than once;
    • duration of present marital status;
    • for women ever married, number of children ever born.
  • Supplemental schedules for persons on Indian reservations; infants born in the first 3 months of 1950; Americans overseas.


Multi-year census compilations (compare across years)

These tend to include statistics for large geographic areas (eg states) but can be very useful when comparing statistics over time.

See: list of all census compilations

More Information from the Census Bureau

Statistics: Census Compilations

Raw Data Files

Population Schedules

Census population schedules (or "name schedules" or "manuscript census") are copies of the original questionnaires collected during each decennial census. They list the individual names and family information of the people enumerated. Unlike the statistics published soon after the census, the population schedules remain confidential for 72 years. 1950 is the most recent population schedule available. Below are links to print and online versions of the population schedules. The library also has selected population schedules available on microfilm.


Need help?  Call the Government Publications, Maps, Microforms & Newspapers help desk at (206) 543-4164 during desk hours.  You can also consult the Ask Us! reference service (24/7).