By 1808Delaware

What were Delaware and Delaware County like in 1950?

You’re about to get the opportunity to find out.

Thanks to what the National Archives refers to as the “72 Year Rule,” each year that ends with a “2” brings the release of another decennial census. In this case, the 1950 census will be released to the public this April 1.

Originally, US census records were not made public. In 1978, an agreement between the Director of the Bureau of the Census and the Archivist of the United States changed that practice and set that 72 year period.

And, like the census for 1880, the 1950 census will be available at no charge and will be completely indexed so that you can easily find your parents, grandparents, or friends. 

“Employees from across the agency have worked on digitizing and indexing the records and developing and testing a new, dedicated 1950 Census website,” said Project Manager Carol Lagundo, who leads the 1950 Census project at National Archives. “It’s taken innovation and creativity to keep this project on track throughout the pandemic and to continue to meet our project milestones. We hope the public will benefit from our hard work.”

The new website will include a name search function powered by an Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology tool. This is important for genealogists and other researchers who rely on census records for new information about the nation’s past.

Free access to the records will be available via the The National Archives and Records Administration as well as on

The 1950 census showed that Delaware County had 30,278 inhabitants. That included 836 in the village of Sunbury, 424 in the village of Galena, and 11,804 in the city of Delaware.

In addition to sample questions asked by many census takers, in 1950 all respondents over age fourteen were asked the following:

  • Name of street, avenue, or road
  • House and apartment number
  • Serial number of dwelling unit
  • Is this house on a farm or ranch?
  • Is this house on a place of three or more acres?
  • Agricultural Questionnaire Number
  • Name
  • Relationship to head of household
  • Race
  • Sex
  • Age on last birthday
  • Marital status: Married (Mar), Widowed (Wd), Divorced (D), or Separated (Sep)
  • State or country of birth
  • Naturalization status if foreign born (Yes, No, or AP for born abroad of American parents)
  • Was this person working (Wk), unable to work (U), keeping house (H), or doing something else (Ot) most of last week
  • If H or Ot in item 15: Did this person do any work at all last week?
  • If No in item 16: Was this person looking for work?
  • If No in item 17: Even though he didn’t work last week, does he have a job or business?
  • If Wk in item 15 or Yes in item 16: How many hours did he work last week?
  • Occupation
  • Industry in which person worked
  • Class of worker: Private employer (P), government (G), in his or her own business (O), or without pay on family farm or business (NP)
Source: National Archives

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