1950 United States Census—Release Date and Research Help


Image courtesy of the United States Census Bureau

The date 1 April 2022 can’t come fast enough! Why? Because that is the date of the release of the 1950 United States census. As you wait for the release of the census, learn more about what you can expect from the 1950 census and what records you can search in the meantime!

The 1950 U.S. census is now available! Click here to browse the record images.

As the 1950 community project is completed, the census will also become text-searchable. Visit the 1950 census page on FamilySearch for updates and to help review names.

Details of the Release of the 1950 United States Census

When and How Will the 1950 Census Be Released?

The National Archives releases a census to the public only 72 years after the day the census was taken. Because census day in 1950 was 1 April, the 1950 census will be released to the public on the same date in 2022.

In 2012, the National Archives provided digital images of the 1940 census to FamilySearch. Then FamilySearch uploaded those digital images to their website. Those who had a free FamilySearch account were able to see the digital images right away. However, the records were not indexed and so had to be searched page-by-page by location. We expect the same thing to happen for the 1950 census.

boy in the 1950s examining a small plane

How Long Will It Take for the 1950 Census to Be Indexed?

The time it will take to index the census depends on how many wonderful volunteers dedicate their time to the effort! To give you some perspective of the scope of the project, approximately 132,164,569 persons were enumerated in the 1940 census. In contrast, the estimated population of the United States in 1950 was a little over 150 million.

In 2012, FamilySearch began the project to index the 1940 United States census in hopes of indexing the entire census in 6 months. With over 163,000 volunteers and several genealogical organizations contributing their time and efforts, the census was indexed in just 4 months except for Puerto Rico!

If you're interested in learning more about the 1950 United States census or want updates, make sure to visit the 1950 U.S. census page on FamilySearch.org!

What Kinds of Records Can I Use in the Meantime?

You can search and use many records now as you patiently wait for the release of the 1950 United States census. Here are just a few of them.

School Records

School records, such as school registrations, grade books, and yearbooks, may provide you with lots of genealogical information.

In this school census from Clay County, Minnesota, for the years 1951–1954, you will see pupils listed with their names, birth dates, the names of parents or guardians, and local residence.

school census records from the 1950s

State Censuses

Not all states conducted a state census, but many did. For example, in 1945, both Florida and South Dakota conducted state censuses.

The Florida state census in 1945 asked for the name of everyone who lived in a household, along with the person’s sex, age, place of birth, degree of education, and occupation.

The South Dakota census in 1945 asked residents for their name, age, occupation, birthplace, ancestry, father’s birthplace, mother’s birthplace, level of education, military service, maiden name of wife, marital status, year of marriage, church affiliation, and race and, if someone was foreign born, whether the person was naturalized.

South Dakota 1945 Census Record example

County and City Enumerations

Did you know that counties and cities may have also conducted enumerations, or censuses? These types of enumerations may have even been done yearly. To find out whether a locale had a county or city enumeration, call a local genealogical society, historical society, or public library history department, and ask. You may be pleasantly surprised!

City Directories

City directories were often published yearly. Many researchers do not realize the amount of information available in this type of record. In some cases, city directories not only give the name and address of residents, but also their occupation, place of employment, and death date if applicable!

Where Can I Search 1950 Historical Records?

You can search the above records and many more all on FamilySearch! Just click on the button below and start searching, or check out our search guides if you need a little more help.

A Beginner's Guide to Search Records

Record Search Tips: Find Your Family

Life in the Decade before the 1950 Census

World War II and its effects dominated life in the United States in the 1940s. Though the war began in 1939, the United States did not actively enter the conflict until December 1941. Over 16,000,000 men and women from the United States fought in the war, and over 400,000 gave their lives.

Technology and innovation during the decade included such things as advanced radar, jet engines, the use of helicopters, and the atomic bomb. Once the war ended in 1945, soldiers were anxious to return to love, everyday life, and family, which led the way to the great baby boom!

Learn more about the decade leading up to the 1950 census and the years that followed!

Search WWII Military Records

Who Are the Baby Boomers?

Search 1940 U.S. Census Records

How did the events of the 1940s and 1950s affect your family? Preserve those family stories in FamilySearch Memories.

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