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Census of Population, 1950 [United States]: Public Use Microdata Sample (ICPSR 8251)

Principal Investigator(s):


This data collection contains a stratified 1-percent sample of households, with separate records for each household, each "sample line" respondent, and each person in the household. These records were encoded from microfilm copies of original handwritten enumeration schedules from the 1950 Census of Population. Geographic identification of the location of the sampled households includes Census regions and divisions, states (except Alaska and Hawaii), Standard Metropolitan Areas (SMAs), and State Economic Areas (SEAs). The data collection was constructed from and consists of 20 independently-drawn subsamples stored in 20 discrete physical files. The 1950 Census had both a complete-count and a sample component. Individuals selected for the sample component were asked a set of additional questions. Only households with a sample line person were included in the 1950 Public Use Microdata Sample. The collection also contains records of group quarters members who were also on the Census sample line. Each household record contains variables describing the location and composition of the household. The sample line records contain variables describing demographic characteristics such as nativity, marital status, number of children, veteran status, education, income, and occupation. The person records contain demographic variables such as nativity, marital status, family membership, and occupation.

Access Notes

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Study Description


United States Department of Commerce. Bureau of the Census. Census of Population, 1950 [United States]: Public Use Microdata Sample. ICPSR08251-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1999. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR08251.v1

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)


This study was funded by:

  • National Science Foundation (SES-7704135)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   census data, census divisions, census regions, children, demographic characteristics, ethnicity, families, household composition, housing, income, marriage, metropolitan statistical areas, military service, occupations, population, states (USA), vital statistics, work

Geographic Coverage:   Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York (state), North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, United States, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Time Period:  

  • 1950

Date of Collection:  

  • 1978--1983

Universe:   All people and households within the United States recorded on the 1950 Census.

Data Types:   census/enumeration data

Data Collection Notes:

Each of the hierarchical files contains three record types (household, sample line, and person). There are a total of 2,844,458 data records: 461,130 household records, 461,130 sample line records, and 1,922,198 person records. Within each of the 20 data files, records are sequenced by state. Extracting all of the records for one state entails reading through all 20 files and selecting that state's records from each of the files.


Sample:   Random selection of households with person(s) who answered the additional sample line questions. The collections also contain records of people living in group quarters who were also on the census sample line.

Data Source:

microfilm copies of original handwritten enumeration schedules from the 1950 Census


Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2006-01-18 File CB8251.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.

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