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Census Research Guide: 1990

About the 1990 Census

Census Bureau's "By Decade" website - includes a variety of publications, questionnaires, datasets, and more


  • 21st decennial census
  • US population: 248,709,873
  • California population: 29,760,021

Questions asked (see questionnaire)

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

Finding Statistics

Social Explorer - remote access limited to UCSD affiliates

Finding Publications & Data Files

Find all 1990 census publications in the library catalog.

Selected publications, Census of Population

General Population Characteristics [C 3.223/6:990 CP-1-]

Social and Economic Characteristics [ C 3.223/7:990 CP-2-]

The Foreign-Born Population in the United States [ C 3.223/10:990 CP-3-1

Ancestry of the Population in the United States [ C 3.223/10:990 CP-3-2 ]

Persons of Hispanic Origin in the United States [ C 3.223/10:990 CP-3-3]

Education in the United States [ C 3.223/10: 990 CP-3-4]

Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States [ C 3.223/10:990 CP-3-5 ]

Characteristics of the Black Population [ 3.223/10:990 CP-3-6 ]

Characteristics of American Indians by Tribe and Language (2 pts) [C 3.223/10:990 CP-3-7]

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

Detailed Ancestry Groups for States [C 3.223/12:990 CP-S-1-2]

Census of Population and Housing:

Summary Population and Housing Characteristics [C 3.223/18:990 CPH-1-]

Population and Housing Unit Counts [C 3.223/5:990 CPH-2-]

Population and Housing Characteristics for Census Tracts and Block Numbering Areas [C 3.223/11:990 CPH-3-]

Population and Housing Characteristics for Congressional Districts of the 103rd Congress [C 3.223/20:990 CPH-4-]

Summary Social, Economic, and Housing Characteristics [ C 3.223/23:990 CPH-5-]

Selected Publications, Census of Housing:

General Housing Characteristics [C 3.224/3:990 CH-1-]

Detailed Housing Characteristics [C 3.224/3:990 CH-2-]

Metropolitan Housing Characteristics [C 3.224/4-2:990]

Residential Finance [C 3.224/13:990 CH-4-1]

Data Files

Public Law 94-171 data [C 3.281:] - also available online

Summary Tape File (STF) 1A [ C 3.282:990/] - also available online

STF 1B [ C 3.282/3:CD 90-1 B-] - also available online

STF STF1C [ C 3.282:990-1 C] - also available online

STF 1D [C 3.282/4:104-2]

STF 3A [C 3. 282/ 2 :Cd 90- 3a-] - also available online

STF 3B [ C 3.282/2:CD 90-3 B-] - also available online

STF 3C [C 3. 282/ 2 :Cd 90- 3c- ] - also available online

STF 3D [C 3.282/4:104-2]

Subject Summary Tape File Documentation from Census Bureau

Subject Summary Tape File (SSTF) 1 - Foreign Born Population of the United States

SSTF 2: Ancestry of the population in the United States [ 3.286: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 [C 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 04]

SSTF 5: Characteristics of the Asian and Pacific Islander population in the United States [C 3.286:CD 90-SSTF 05]

SSTF 6: Education

SSTF 7: Metropolitan housing characteristics [C 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 07 ]

SSTF 8: Housing of the elderly [C 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 08]

SSTF 9: Housing characteristics of new units [C 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 09]

SSTF 10: Housing characteristics of mobile homes [C 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 10]

SSTF 12: Employment Status, Work Experience, and Veteran Status

SSTF 13: Characteristics of American Indians by tribe and language [C 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 13]

SSTF 14: Occupation and industry : industry by occupation alphabetical index [C 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 14]

SSTF 15: Geographic mobility in the United States [C 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 15]

SSTF 16: Fertility [C 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 16 ]

SSTF 17: Poverty areas in the United States [C 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 17]

SSTF 18: Housing characteristics of condominium housing [C 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 18]

SSTF 19: The older population of the United States [C 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 19]

SSTF 20: Journey to work in the United States [C 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 20]

SSTF 21: Characteristics of the Black population of the United States [C 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 21]

SSTF 22: Earnings by Occupation and Education

Special Tabulations:

The Comprehensive housing affordability strategy (CHAS) database [C 3.275:H 81/CD/CORR-2]

Equal employment opportunity file [C 3.283:CD 90-EEO-]

Special tabulation on aging [C 3.281/2:CD-90-AOA ]

County-to-county migration flow files [C 3.284:CD 90-MIG-]