Survey of Consumer Finances, 1950

Resource Type
Dataset : survey data
  • Economic Behavior Program. Survey Research Center. University of Michigan
Other Title
  • Archival Version (Subtitle)
Collective Title
  • Survey of Consumer Finances Series
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • National Science Foundation
Free Keywords
automobile ownership; business conditions; consumer attitudes; consumer behavior; consumer expectations; consumer expenditures; debt; disposable income; durable goods; economic conditions; families; financial assets; financial balances; home ownership; household budgets; household expenditures; household income; housing; income distribution; insurance coverage; investments; national economy; occupations; personal debt; personal finances; prices; savings
  • Abstract

    This data collection is one in a series of financial surveys of consumers conducted annually since 1946. In a nationally representative sample, the head of each spending unit (usually the husband, the main earner, or the owner of the home) was interviewed. The basic unit of reference in the study was the spending unit, but some family data are also available. The questions in the 1950 survey covered the respondent's attitudes toward national economic conditions and price activity, as well as the respondent's own financial situation. Other questions examined the spending unit head's occupation, and the nature and amount of the spending unit's income, debts, liquid assets, changes in liquid assets, savings, investment preferences, and actual and expected purchases of cars and other major durables. The survey also elicited respondent's attitudes about different methods of using income remaining after expenses were met, e.g., investing in stocks or putting money in savings. In addition, the survey explored in detail the subject of housing, e.g., previous and present home ownership, value of respondent's dwelling, and mortgage information. Further questions concerned life insurance (including number of policies, types, and premiums) and common stock ownership, purchases, and sales. The 1950 survey included a separate questionnaire for farmers that contained differing questions on sources of income and housing. Personal data include number of people in the spending unit, age, sex, and education of the head, and the race and sex of the respondent.
  • Methods

    ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection: Standardized missing values.; Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables..
  • Table of Contents


    • DS1: Dataset
Temporal Coverage
  • Time period: 1950
  • 1950-01 / 1950-03
    Collection date: 1950-01--1950-03
Geographic Coverage
  • United States
Sampled Universe
The population of the United States.
The respondents interviewed were drawn from a national sample of dwelling units. The dwelling units falling in the sample were chosen by area probability sampling to represent the United States population.
Collection Mode
  • (1) Most of the data in the study pertain to a spending unit. For some variables, information from related spending units was combined to provide data on a family basis. The user should refer to the instructions and worksheets included with the codebook to ascertain the procedures followed in these computations. (2) The majority of the variables in the study represent information obtained through direct questioning of the respondent. Some variables, however, are the result of computations done for each interview, e.g., amount saved, total indebtedness, estimated income taxes, and the relation of these amounts to income. (3) In some instances, where important information was missing, assigned values were given. The assigned values were based on other known characteristics of the spending unit and occur only in a small proportion of the cases. Those variables containing assigned information are preceded by a lead variable, indicating for each case whether the value in the following variable is assigned or not. (4) The codebook is provided by ICPSR as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided on the ICPSR Web site.

Funding insitution(s): National Science Foundation (SBR-9617813).
This version of the study is no longer available on the web. If you need to acquire this version of the data, you have to contact ICPSR User Support (
Alternative Identifiers
  • 3612 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR03612.v1
  • Fetter, Daniel K.. Housing finance and the mid-century transformation in US home ownership: The VA home loan program. . 2010.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Shapiro, Robert Y., Conforto, Bruce M.. Presidential performance, the economy, and the public's evaluations of the economic conditions. Journal of Politics.42, (1), 49-67.1980.

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 6 | Registration Date: 2015-06-15