1950 Census available now

UNITED STATES - CIRCA 1950s: Black boy and girl Photo by H. Armstrong Roberts, portrait.On April 1, 2022, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will release the 1950 Census to the public. These digitized Census images will available online. Most of us will know at least one person who may be in the 1950 census. Some of us will even be in the Census! This a great opportunity to look into what life was like at a time in our modern memory.

The 1950 Census includes more streamlined questions to improve the quality of the data. In this Census everyone was asked 20 questions and a sample of the population answered 18 supplemental questions. This is the most comprehensive U.S. record set available. NARA will only release the digital copies, which will not be indexed yet. However, the records will be searchable by name and location. Go to the NARA 1950 Census page to find out more.

Indexing the information

1950 Census Community Project

FamilySearch International announced its participation in the 1950 U.S. Census Community Project. They are inviting online volunteers to assist in making the 1950 U.S. Census digital images fully searchable online. To stay informed of the 1950 US Census Community Project’s updates or to volunteer to help create the rich, searchable index, subscribe at FamilySearch.org/1950census.

According to FamilySearch, “It will be easier for everyone to search and discover their family connections—while having the opportunity to make personal discoveries of their own. This unique crowdsourcing project, the largest census undertaking to date, will make the 150 million records of the individuals found on the census searchable online.”

State by state

Ancestry will also begin indexing the information, state by state, to make it searchable for you, for free. You can sign up to know when they have indexed states you are interested in. Ancestry is using handwriting recognition technology to prepare the Census for indexing. You can find out more about the Census features on Ancestry’s page dedicated to taking you on a tour of the record. (See sample 1950 Census page below.)

Find your family

Whether you go to NARA, FamilySearch or Ancestry.com, you will be able to look for and find yourself or your family in the 1950 Census! If you would like to compare the various census years visit the U.S. Census overview page.  You can also download and review our U.S. Federal Census info page.

Find reference books at the Library that cover the Census

View complete list

As a veteran genealogist, I love teaching and sharing digital family history and genealogy techniques and helping people solve genealogy problems. Being the Genealogy Librarian at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library is so much fun! I work to promote a greater knowledge of family, history, and heritage.