1960 Data Restoration Project

The 1960 Data Restoration Project was a collaboration between the U.S. Census Bureau and the Minnesota Population Center (MPC) to recover, integrate, and disseminate data from the 1960 decennial census. The 1960 Data Restoration Project initially began as part of the National Historical Census Files project. The goals of this project were to recover, preserve, document, harmonize, and disseminate census microdata from the 1960, 1970 and 1980 decennial censuses. During the processing for this project, it was discovered that roughly 75,000 household records with 290,000 person records were missing from the 1960 internal 25% long form sample microdata file, and that these records were primarily from Cook County, IL.

The first phase of the 1960 Data Restoration Project involved restoring the missing cases. Staff at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) made digital scans of the microfilmed enumeration forms from the 1960 census. Census Bureau staff at the National Processing Center in Jeffersonville, Indiana, converted these images into machine-readable data. Next, MPC and Census Bureau staff merged the recovered data with the incomplete existing internal data. MPC staff then made logical edits, allocated missing data, and created weights for the restored cases following the 1960 Procedural History.

After the 25% long-form data from the 1960 census was restored, a 5% sample was drawn to create a Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) file. The new PUMS file is larger than the original 1% PUMS and contains information about place of work and migration, as well as refined and harmonized geography. The smallest units of geography in the new sample are mini-PUMAs, consisting of tracts and untracted counties that are combined to form areas of 50,000 persons or more, as opposed to the 100,000 standard applied to more recent PUMS. The 1960 units are designed to nest within 2000 PUMA boundaries and be compatible with the new place of work and migration geographic identifiers. Additional information about the 1960 5% PUMS can be found in the Sample Description, Sample Design, and through the IPUMS extract system.


Steven Ruggles, Matthew Schroeder, Natasha Rivers, J. Trent Alexander, and Todd K. Gardner. 2011. "Frozen Film and FOSDIC Forms: Restoring the 1960 Census of Population." Historical Methods 44: 69-78.