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National Archives' Info About the 1950 Census

16 May 2023 5:59 AM | Anonymous

1950 Census logoOn April 1, 2022, the National Archives released the 1950 Census (kept confidential for 72 years) online at See the press release. Anyone, anywhere can search freely—experienced researchers, genealogy buffs, and novices! 

Speak with a trusted expert: Are you a member of the media who is covering the release of the 1950 census records? Upon request, we can share a list of historians, genealogists, and archivists who can provide you with more information for your coverage. Email:

Here is a condensed version of the 1950 Census tabulation picture. In the foreground is a punch card machine. Holes are punched in the card according to a prearranged code, transferring the facts from the questionnaire into statistics. The man operating the machine labeled “140” is running a sorter. This machine sorts cards into any desired classification. The other two machines are tabulators which add up the final results.

1950 Census Release: What's Old?

  • Outlined in the Constitution and taken every 10 years since 1790, the census is used to define “We the People" by providing a snapshot of the nation's population.

1950 Census Release: What’s New?

  • First time using optical character recognition/artificial intelligence (OCR/AI) for handwriting recognition
  • First time using a transcription tool to improve the name index
  • First chance to download the entire census in bulk
  • First time releasing the census during a pandemic
  • First 1950 Census National Archives Genealogy Series on our YouTube channel

Getting Started

Visual Resources

NARA Blog Posts

refer to caption

Door-to-door census-taking, April 1950.

View in National Archives Catalog

​Posts from NARA's Experts

View all the 1950 Census posts on History Hub

Useful Links

U.S Census Bureau Resources


  • 17 May 2023 6:52 AM | Anonymous
    Just as an interesting point, I notice the painter in the second picture is using Dutch Boy paint which is owned by Sherwin-Williams Company now but in 1950 was owned by the National Lead Company. Dutch Boy paint brand is still made since 1907.
    Link  •  Reply

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