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Countdown to the 1950 Census

Today marks the start of an exciting countdown: we are officially one year away from the release of the 1950 Census! The National Archives will release the 1950 population census schedules in April 2022, 72 years after the official 1950 census day of April 1, 1950. 

We have been busy preparing for the release for many years, and we encourage you to start preparing too!

Black and white photograph of card punch operators sitting in rows of desks working. Boxes of cards surround the workers
Card Punch Operators Working on Agricultural Cards, Population and Housing Cards Carried 45 Columns, All Other Cards Carried 80 Columns. National Archives Identifier 6200858
Do you know where your family was living in 1950? Did you have American relatives living abroad? What did your relatives do for work? What was their household income in 1949? The 1950 census may provide the answers to these questions and more. The 1950 census won’t be released until 2022, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start getting ready for it now.
Black and white photograph of a man sitting on a tractor being pulled by horses. A man in a suit speaks to him and records answers
Enumeration, a Farmer Supplies Answers to the 232 Questions on the Farm Schedule. National Archives Identifier 6200778

Getting started with Census Records and Resources

Census records can provide the building blocks of your research, allowing you both to confirm information and learn more. While you wait for the 1950 Census release, we encourage you to browse our online resources and informational posts; ask questions and find answers on History Hub.

History Hub is our support community for researchers, genealogists, history enthusiasts, and citizen archivists. Ask questions, share information, work together, and find help based on experience and interests. Researchers can ask—or answer—questions on History Hub, or search to see if a question has been asked before.
Black and white photograph of three men standing with dogs and a dog sled in the snow

Enumeration, Alaska Too Saw the Census Enumerator Arrive in His Dog Sled. National Archives Identifier 6200721

Why 72 Years?

The first Federal Population Census was taken in 1790, and has been taken every ten years since. There is a 72-year restriction on access to the Census–the 1940 Census was released on April 2, 2012. The 1950 Census will be released on April 1, 2022.

Read more about the “72-Year Rule” History - US Census Bureau
Completed population schedule from the 1910 Census. Form is filled in with handwritten answers

Population schedule page from the 13th Census of the United States: 1910, National Archives Identifier 53333251

Black and white photograph of a woman in the National Archives research room looking at a book containing census population schedules and writing down notes
Researcher Viewing Census Records, 3/1968. National Archives 23855367
1950 Census Enumeration District Map showing New York County in Manhattan, New York. The map shows the numbered enumeration districts throughout the county
1950 Census Enumeration District Maps - New York (NY) - New York County - Manhattan - ED 31-1 to 2440. National Archives 24267411
Citizen Archivist Opportunities

You can help us unlock history! Take a look at our latest Citizen Archivist missions, and jump in to participate! Our latest missions include records about the Nuremberg Trials, Carded Service Records of Hospital Attendants, African American History, and more. Every contribution you make helps make these records easier to find in our Catalog.

New to the Citizen Archivist program? Learn how to register and get started.

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Black and white photograph of workers sitting in rows of desks indexing the 1920 Census records
WPA Workers Indexing 1920 Census Records. National Archives Identifier 175739355

COVID-19 Update

The National Archives is committed to the health and safety of our visitors and staff. We are closely monitoring the situation regarding COVID-19, and we are working with public health officials and our counterpart agencies to monitor and respond to the evolving conditions and following CDC guidelines. 

For more information, visit https://www.archives.gov/coronavirus

Questions or comments? Email us at catalog@nara.gov.
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