I am currently working on a project where I am responsible for calculating the mean temperature and precipitation data across the USA.

My calculations are made for metro census data and county census data and it would be greate for me to add some information about population in those areas. The problem is that I can't find any data for metro areas that are older than 1970 and I need to have a data from 1950.

I am wondering if there is some dataset with demographic data on metro or county level that will have an information about population starting from 1950 or even older?


2 Answers 2


The NHGIS at the Minnesota Population Center / Univ of Minnesota is probably the most comprehensive source for historical US Census data - it has the complete summary data for each census going back to 1790. You have to create an account to use it, but it's free:


The definitions for metropolitan areas have changed considerably over time. It probably would be easier to get county-level data, and then you can decide how you want to classify them (i.e. using the current metro definitions or something older).




The Census provides this data. LA, for example, has data from an 1850 census.

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