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U.S. Census Research Guide: 1990

The U.S. Census Bureau conducts several data collection programs about the U.S. population which have their own language, geography, and data portals. This guide is based on a similar guide created by Kelly Smith at UCSD.

For more info...

Raw Data Files

These are computer files intended to be loaded into statistical software for analysis and creating your own tables. In some cases these files can be used with spreadsheet software as well.

Population Schedules

1990 population schedules have not yet been released.

Census population schedules (or "name schedules" or "manuscript census") are copies of the original questionnaires collected during each decennial census. They list the individual names and family information of the people enumerated. Unlike the statistics published soon after the census, the population schedules remain confidential for 72 years. 1930 is the most recent population schedule available.

Contact

Need help? Use the Ask-A-Librarian reference service, or call us at (847) 491-7656, during Research Assistance Desk hours.

To consult with a government information specialist by appointment, contact govinfo@northwestern.edu

About the 1990 Census

Highlights of the 1990 Census

  • 21st decennial census
  • US population: 248,709,873
  • Illinois population: 11,430,602

Questions asked

Information obtained from all persons: age; sex; color or race; if American Indian, name of tribe; relationship to head of family or household; marital status

Information obtained from a sample of the population: ancestry/ethnic origin; ill or disabled; school attendance; educational attainment; place of birth; citizenship; if foreign born, year of immigration; language; Spanish origin or descent; number of children ever born to mother; veteran status; length of service; in service date; place of residence in previous year; year moved to present residence; industry; occupation; class of worker; employment status; duration of unemployment; year last worked; weeks worked in preceding year; hours worked in preceding week; value of real estate; income; place of work; means of transportation to work

For more information:

Statistics of the 1990 Census

Multi-year census compilations (compare across years): These sources tend to include statistics for large geographic areas (e.g. states), but can be very useful when comparing statistics over time.

Digitized Data Source

Key publications:

Print available in the Library

Online access

Census of Population:

General Population Characteristics
 Gov Info Census

From the Census Bureau

Social and Economic Characteristics

From the Census Bureau

The Foreign-Born Population in the United States

From the Census Bureau

Ancestry of the Population in the United States

From the Census Bureau

Persons of Hispanic Origin in the United States

From the Census Bureau

Education in the United States

From the Census Bureau

Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States

From the Census Bureau

Characteristics of the Black Population

From the Census Bureau

Characteristics of American Indians by Tribe and Language (2 pts)

From the Census Bureau

Detailed Occupation and Other Characteristics From the EEO File for the United States

From the Census Bureau

Detailed Ancestry Groups for States

From the Census Bureau

Census of Population and Housing:

Summary Population and Housing Characteristics

n/a (except for Virgin Islands)

Population and Housing Unit Counts

From the Census Bureau

Population and Housing Characteristics for Census Tracts and Block Numbering Areas

n/a (except for Virgin Islands)

Population and Housing Characteristics for Congressional Districts of the 103rd Congress

From the Census Bureau

Summary Social, Economic, and Housing Characteristics

From the Census Bureau

Census of Housing:

General Housing Characteristics

From the Census Bureau

Detailed Housing Characteristics

From the Census Bureau

Metropolitan Housing Characteristics

From the Census Bureau

Residential Finance

From the Census Bureau


Original electronic files released:

 

Online access

Summary Tape Files

 

Public Law 94-171 data.
 Gov Info Computer Files C 3.282/2:

From the Census Bureau

STF1A
  Gov Info Computer Files C 3.282:990

**Download from the Census Bureau

STF1B
 Gov Info Computer Files C 3.282/3:CD 90-1 B-

**Download from the Census Bureau

STF1C
  Gov Info Computer Files C 3.282:990-1 C

**Download from the Census Bureau

STF 1D
  Gov Info Computer Files C 3.282/4:104-2

**Download from the Census Bureau

STF 3A
  Gov Info Computer Files C 3. 282/ 2 :Cd 90- 3a-

**Download from the Census Bureau

STF 3B
  Gov Info Computer Files C 3.282/2:CD 90-3 B-

**Download from the Census Bureau

STF 3C
  Gov Info Computer Files C 3. 282/ 2 :Cd 90- 3c-

**Download from the Census Bureau

STF 3D
  Gov Info Computer Files C 3.282/4:104-2

**Download from the Census Bureau

Subject Summary Tape Files (SSTFs)

 

SSTF 1: Foreign Born Population of the United States

 

SSTF 2: Ancestry of the population in the United States
  Gov Info Computer Files3.286:CD 90 SSTF 02

 

SSTF 3: Persons of Hispanic Origins in the United States

 

SSTF 4: Characteristics of adults with work disabilities, mobility limitations, or self-care limitations
  Gov Info Computer Files C 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 04

 

SSTF 5: Characteristics of the Asian and Pacific Islander population in the United States
  Gov Info Computer FilesC 3.286:CD 90-SSTF 05

 

SSTF 6: Education
  Gov Info Computer Files   C 3. 286: CD 90 SSTF 06

 

SSTF 7: Metropolitan housing characteristics
  Gov Info Computer Files C 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 07

 

SSTF 8: Housing of the elderly
  Gov Info Computer FilesC 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 08

 

SSTF 9: Housing characteristics of new units
  Gov Info Computer FilesC 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 09

 

SSTF 10: Housing characteristics of mobile homes
  Gov Info Computer FilesC 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 10

 

SSTF 12: Employment Status, Work Experience, and Veteran Status
  Gov Info Computer Files   C 3. 286: CD 90 SSTF 12

 

SSTF 13: Characteristics of American Indians by tribe and language
  Gov Info Computer FilesC 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 13

 

SSTF 14: Occupation and industry : industry by occupation alphabetical index
  Gov Info Computer FilesC 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 14

 

SSTF 15: Geographic mobility in the United States
  Gov Info Computer FilesC 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 15

 

SSTF 16: Fertility
  Gov Info Computer FilesC 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 16

 

SSTF 17: Poverty areas in the United States
  Gov Info Computer FilesC 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 17

 

SSTF 18: Housing characteristics of condominium housing
  Gov Info Computer FilesC 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 18

 

SSTF 19: The older population of the United States
  Gov Info Computer FilesC 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 19

 

SSTF 20: Journey to work in the United States
  Gov Info Computer FilesC 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 20

 

SSTF 21: Characteristics of the Black population of the United States
  Gov Info Computer FilesC 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 21

 

SSTF 22: Earnings by Occupation and Education|
  Gov Info Computer Files   C 3. 286: CD 90 SSTF 22 A-/ CORR.  

 

Special Tabulations

 

The Comprehensive housing affordability strategy (CHAS) database
  Gov Info Computer FilesC 3.275:H 81/CD/CORR-2

 

Equal employment opportunity file
  Gov Info Computer FilesC 3.283:CD 90-EEO-

From the Census Bureau

Special tabulation on aging
  Gov Info Computer FilesC 3.281/2:CD-90-AOA

 

County-to-county migration flow files
  Gov Info Computer FilesC 3.284:CD 90-MIG-

 

** Indicates that these files are available for download only. They cannot be used online.

Census Data at ICPSR
Northwestern University is a member of ICPSR.  NU-affiliated users can create an ICPSR account and download data, codesbooks, etc.

ICPSR archives and disseminates census data acquired from the United States Census Bureau as well as files prepared by ICPSR and other principal investigators.The microdata comprise individual responses to census questions.

The Microdata are public-use samples randomly selected from all of data collected by a census. ICPSR has microdata from the censuses of 2000, 1990, 1980, 1970, 1960, 1950, 1940, and some earlier censuses, with sampling fractions ranging from 10 to 0.01 percent.

1990 Census Data at ICPSR
Summary Tape Files and Public Use Microsamples available for analysis.

iPUMS at the Minnesota Population Center
The Minnesota Population Center hosts historic U.S. Census data and makes it freely available to all.  Census data from 1960 to 2010 has been harmonized to allow comparisons across time.  Harmonized international census data also allows comparison across national boundaries.  Online tools allow data extraction and limited data analysis.  Online training modules are providedTraining videos for the online extraction tool are also available.

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