This book, which serves as a guide to the 1950, 1960, 1970 and 1980 Decennial Censuses, is the third in a set of guides. The first two guides identify population information in the 1790 through 1890 and the 1900 through 1940 Censuses respectively.
The two earlier volumes were based on identification of census materials developed by Henry J. Dubester in his work as chief of the Census Library Project, a joint effort of the Bureau of the Census and the Library of Congress. Dubester completed his Catalog of United States Census Publications 1790-1940 in 1950, and his catalog has become a standard reference source for librarians searching for census materials. Dubester's Catalog. is included, on distinguishable yellow pages, in the Census Bureau's 1974 publication Bureau of the Census Catalog of Publications, 1790-1972, a publication which is probably more readily available than Dubester's Catalog itself.
The earlier two guides in this set made use of Dubester's numbering system as an aid to identifying each census volume. Dubester's numbers appear at the top of the end-page charts to show each volume. In this third guide, the Census' own designation by volume or report number is used.
Beginning with 1940, many published census volumes include a table guide on their front pages. This book uses a similar system, but the table guides differ. I have made an effort to use the same terminology throughout the two hundred years of the census, although the actual terminology in published census volumes differs over that long period. At the end of this book, a chapter on terminology provides an explanation of each subject term used here.
The process for developing this guide was to go through each census volume page by page, and to match the subjects covered in each table with those already established in the two earlier guides. Surprisingly, the subjects have remained very much the same, and those listed on the end pages of this book are very nearly identical to those of the other two volumes. Fortunately, the need for the term "slavery" ended with the first guide; unfortunately, the term "paupers" in that volume has given way to "poverty" in the newest guide. "Religion," used as a subject in the first two guides, no longer appears, and "literacy" has given way to "education," which is used throughout the three guides in the set.
All of the data in the 1950-1980 Censuses come from the enumerations themselves; thus there are no foreign data as in some of the earlier volumes. There are very few data on vital statistics, a government function now taken over by other agencies.