Research Our Records

Descriptive Handout: Census Tract Data, 1940-1970

Electronic Records Reference Report

refer to caption

14th Census

Berryman Political Cartoon Collection

Census Tract Data Files
National Archives [Description] Identifier: 617523
Online Access: Download
Collection: Records of the Community and Family Study Center (CFS), University of Chicago


Between about 1967 to about 1986, under the direction of Dr. Donald Bogue, the Community and Family Study Center (CFS) at the University of Chicago created, from Bureau of the Census publications, electronic versions of the 1940, 1950, 1960, and 1970 Censuses summary population and housing statistics for census tracts in most tracted cities and metro areas. Below is a list of the available cities/metro areas; please note that not all tracted cities/metro areas are available for all years. Elizabeth Mullen Bogue and other staff members keypunched the data from the printed publications and also used data tabulations from the 1960 and 1970 Censuses prepared by DUALabs to create the electronic data files. In 1998, Dr. Donald Bogue donated by deed of gift the Census Tract Data Files to the National Archives. This series includes:

  • 1940 Census Tract Data Files for Selected Tracted Cities/Metro Areas
    Data Files: 60 (one per tracted city/metro area; see below)
    Technical Documentation: 76 pages 
  • 1950 Census Tract Data Files for Selected Tracted Cities/Metro Areas
    Data Files: 59 (one per tracted city/metro area; see below)
    Technical Documentation: 63 pages 
  • 1960 Census Tract Data Files for Selected Tracted Cities/Metro Areas
    Data Files: 175 (one per tracted city/metro area; see below)
    Technical Documentation: 98 pages 
  • 1970 Census Tract Data Files for Selected Tracted Cities/Metro Areas
    Data Files: 180 (one per tracted city/metro area; see below)
    Technical Documentation: 148 pages 


Researchers may obtain copies of data files for entire census years, for individual cities/metro areas for specific years, or for the entire series. Researchers then can analyze the records directly, using whatever hardware and software available to them.

Researchers can download the data files and documentation via the National Archives Catalog. The files available for download are in the ASCII character set with fixed-length, delimited records (option 2 below).  For more details on downloading files, please review the frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Alternatively, researchers may order copies the data files and documentation for a fee.  For more information see: Ordering Information for Electronic Records. The specific technical output options for these Census Tract Data Files include:

  • Option 1- ASCII, with variable length, delimited records on CD or DVD:  The original file is converted to ASCII and carriage return-line feed (CRLF) characters replace the EBCDIC record/block counter. Therefore, the records are provided with record delimiters at the end of each logical record and the overall length of the data records (as defined in the original EBCDIC record layout and not counting the delimiters) is decreased by the length of the counter. The position of any data element in the record layout is decreased by as many characters as the length of the counter.
  • Option 2- ASCII, with fixed length, delimited records on CD or DVD:  The original format file is converted to ASCII. The shorter records (i.e. the "tract level" records) are padded to the length of the longest record in the file. The EBCDIC record/block counter is replaced with carriage return-line feed characters.  With the replacement of the EBCDIC record/block counter, the length of each record is decreased by eight characters and each record now includes a two character record-delimiter.  For the 1940 and 1950 files, researchers will need to adjust the field positions in the layout by a decrease of eight characters.

Available Tracted Cities/Metro Areas by Year

Metro Area/City Name 1940 1950 1960 1970
Abilene, TX       X X
Akron, OH X X X X
Albany, GA          X
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY       X   
Albuquerque, NM       X X
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ       X X
Altoona, PA       X X
Amarillo, TX          X
Anderson, IN          X
Ann Arbor, MI       X X
Appleton-Oshkosh, WI          X
Asheville, NC          X
Atlanta, GA X X X X
Atlantic City, NJ X    X X
Augusta, GA X    X X
Austin, TX X X X X
Bakersfield, CA       X   
Baltimore, MD X X X X
Baton Rouge, LA       X X
Bay City, MI          X
Beaumont, TX       X X
Berkeley, CA X         
Billings, MT          X
Biloxi-Gulfport, MS          X
Binghamton, NY       X   
Birmingham, AL X X X   
Bloomington-Normal, IL          X
Boise City, ID          X
Boston, MA X X X   
Bridgeport, CT    X X X
Bristol, CT          X
Brockton, MA       X X
Brownsville-Harlingen-San-Benito, TX          X
Bryan-College Station, TX          X
Buffalo, NY X X X X
Cambridge, MA X         
Camden, NJ X         
Canton, OH       X X
Cedar Rapids, IA          X
Champaign-Urbana, IL          X
Charleston, SC       X X
Charleston, WV          X
Charlotte, NC       X X
Chattanooga, TN-GA    X X X
Chicago, IL X X X   
Cincinnati, OH-KY X X X   
Cleveland, OH X X X X
Colorado Springs, CO       X X
Columbia, MO          X
Columbia, SC       X X
Columbus, GA-AL       X   
Columbus, OH X X X X
Corpus Christi, TX       X X
Dallas, TX X X X X
Danbury, CT          X
Davenport-Rock Island-Moline, IA-IL       X   
Dayton, OH X X X X
Decatur, IL       X X
Denver, CO X X X X
Des Moines, IA X    X X
Detroit, MI X X X   
Duluth-Superior, MI-WI X X X X
Durham, NC    X X X
Elizabeth, NJ X         
El Paso, TX       X X
Erie, PA       X X
Eugene, OR          X
Evansville, IN-KY       X X
Fall River, MA-RI       X   
Fayetteville, NC          X
Fitchburg-Leominster, MA          X
Flint, MI X X X X
Fresno, CA       X   
Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood, FL          X
Ft. Smith, AR       X X
Ft. Wayne, IN       X X
Ft. Worth, TX    X X   
Gadsden, AL       X   
Gainesville, FL          X
Galveston-Texas City, TX       X X
Gary-Hammond-East Chicago, IN       X   
Grand Rapids, MI       X X
Great Falls, MT          X
Green Bay, WI       X X
Greensboro-High Point, NC    X X X
Greenville, SC       X X
Hamilton-Middletown, OH       X X
Harrisburg, PA       X X
Hartford, CT X X X X
Honolulu, HI       X X
Houston, TX X X X X
Indianapolis, IN X X X X
Jacksonville, FL       X X
Jackson, MI       X X
Jackson, MS          X
Jersey City, NJ X    X   
Johnstown, PA       X X
Kalamazoo, MI    X X X
Kansas City, KS-MO X X X X
Kenosha, WI          X
Knoxville, TN       X X
La Crosse, WI          X
Lafayette-West Lafayette, IN          X
Lafayette, LA          X
Lake Charles, LA          X
Lancaster, PA       X X
Lansing, MI       X X
Laredo, TX       X X
Las Vegas, NV       X X
Lawrence-Haverhill, MA-NH       X X
Lawton, OK          X
Lewiston-Auburn, ME          X
Lexington, KY       X X
Lima, OH       X X
Lincoln, NE       X X
Little Rock-North Little Rock, AR       X X
Long Beach, CA X         
Lorain-Elyria, OH       X   
Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA X    X   
Louisville, KY-IN X X X   
Lowell, MA       X X
Lubbock, TX       X X
Lynchburg, VA          X
Macon, GA X    X X
Madison, WI       X X
Manchester, NH       X X
Mansfield, OH          X
Memphis, TN X X X X
Meriden, CT          X
Miami, FL    X X   
Midland, TX          X
Milwaukee, WI X X X X
Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN X    X   
Mobile, AL       X   
Monroe, LA       X X
Montgomery, AL       X   
Muncie, IN       X X
Muskegon-Muskegon Heights, MI       X X
Nashua, NH          X
Nashville, TN X X X X
New Bedford, MA       X   
New Britain, CT       X X
New Haven, CT X X X   
New Orleans, LA X X X X
New York, NY X    X   
Newark, NJ X    X   
Newport News-Hampton, VA       X X
Norfolk-Portsmouth, VA    X X   
Norwalk, CT       X   
Odessa, TX       X X
Ogden, UT       X X
Oakland, CA X         
Oklahoma City, OK X X X   
Omaha, NE    X X   
Orlando, FL       X X
Paterson-Clifton-Passaic, NJ X X X   
Pensacola, FL          X
Peoria, IL       X X
Petersburg-Colonial Heights, VA          X
Philadelphia, PA X X X   
Phoenix, AZ       X X
Pine Bluff, AR          X
Pittsburgh, PA X X X X
Pittsfield, MA       X X
Portland, ME       X X
Portland, OR-WA X X X X
Providence-Pawtucket, RI-MA X X X X
Provo-Orem, UT          X
Pueblo, CO       X X
Racine, WI          X
Raleigh, NC       X X
Reading, PA       X X
Reno, NV          X
Richmond, VA X X X X
Roanoke, VA          X
Rochester, MN          X
Rochester, NY X X X X
Rockford, IL       X X
Sacramento, CA    X X   
Saginaw, MI       X X
St. Joseph, MO          X
St. Louis, MO-IL X X X X
St. Paul, MN X         
Salem, OR          X
Salt Lake City, UT       X X
San Angelo, TX       X X
San Antonio, TX       X X
San Bernardino-Riverside-Ontario, CA       X   
San Diego, CA    X X   
San Francisco, CA X    X   
San Jose, CA    X X   
Santa Barbara, CA       X   
Savannah, GA X    X X
Scranton, PA       X X
Seattle, WA X X X   
Sherman-Denison, TX          X
Shreveport, LA       X X
Sioux City, IA       X X
Sioux Falls, SD          X
South Bend, IN       X X
Spokane, WA    X X X
Springfield, IL          X
Springfield, MO       X X
Springfield-Chicopee-Holyoke, MA    X X   
Springfield, OH       X X
Stamford, CT       X   
Steubenville-Weirton, OH-WV       X   
Stockton, CA       X   
Syracuse, NY X X X X
Tacoma, WA    X X X
Tallahassee, FL          X
Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL       X   
Terre Haute, IN          X
Texarkana, TX-AR       X X
Toledo, OH X X X X
Topeka, KS       X X
Trenton, NJ X X X X
Tucson, AZ       X X
Tulsa, OK       X X
Tyler, TX       X X
Utica-Rome, NY    X X X
Waco, TX       X X
Washington, DC-MD-VA X X X X
Waterbury, CT       X   
Waterloo, IA       X X
West Palm Beach, FL          X
Westchester Co., NY    X      
Wheeling, WV-OH       X   
Wichita Falls, TX       X   
Wichita, KS    X X X
Wilkes-Barre-Hazleton, PA       X X
Wilmington, DE-NJ       X X
Wilmington, NC          X
Winston-Salem, NC       X   
Worcester, MA       X X
Yonkers, NY X         
York, PA       X X
Youngstown-Warren, OH       X X

Contact Information

Reference Services
Electronic Records
National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001
(301) 837-0470

August 2021

Electronic Records Main Page