Snapshot USA: 1950 Census Enumeration District Maps

The 1950 Census population schedules will be released in April 2022. In preparation, we are adding over 8000 Enumeration District Maps to the online catalog, including all county maps and any map that includes five or more enumeration districts.

Click the NAID links to download full size maps from the online catalog

Enumeration Districts– or “E.D.s” as they are known among genealogists and other research communities– were established to help administer and control data collection. An enumeration district is generally the area a single enumerator, or census taker, could cover in one census period, approximately two to four weeks. Because the maps do not contain information protected under privacy restrictions, they have always been open and available for researchers to study. They also provide the primary access to the population schedules, which are arranged by enumeration district. For example, the map below depicts the Louisville, Kentucky metropolitan area in 1950, home of Muhammad Ali as a child.

1950 Census Enumeration District Map Louisville, Kentucky NAID 18559569

If you know the address of his childhood home, you can use this map to identify the appropriate enumeration district, and then look through the population schedule pages for that E.D. to find young Cassius Clay.

E.D.s vary in size depending on density of population– from just a few city blocks in densely populated urban areas to a large part of a county in sparsely populated rural areas– and change with each census year.

1950 Enumeration District Map Manhattan, New York NAID 24267411

1950 E.D. Maps Benewah County, Idaho NAID 19078435Loup County, Nebraska NAID 23806254, and Los Alamos County, New Mexico NAID 26446245

This project represents a collaborative effort by several offices throughout the National Archives. The Cartographic Branch indexed all the maps and maintains intellectual and physical control of the records. We provide the data for tracking and cataloging the images; select, prepare, deliver and refile the original records; identify items in need of repair, and track the status of each record. Because the maps were heavily used by the Census Bureau, and have been in high demand by researchers ever since, some maps show significant wear and tear and must be treated by National Archives Conservation Staff before we can scan them. The staff of the Digital Imaging Lab scans the records to standardized specifications and transfers the digital objects to the staff in Digital Public Access, where those objects are “married” to data provided by the Cartographic Branch and uploaded to the catalog. Our Internal Digitization Coordinator provided key assistance integrating the digital objects into the larger series covering multiple census years. Thanks to this collaboration, today we are approximately 75% to our goal of making over 8000 E.D. maps available online.

About Ellen Mulligan

Ellen is a supervisory archivist in the Motion Pictures, Video and Sound Recordings Branch. She was previously an archivist in the Cartographic and Architectural Branch.
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