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Letter in Response to the Latest Reports From the Bureau of the Census.

January 05, 1953

Dear Dr. Peel:

I appreciate most highly receiving the latest census reports which show so graphically the wonderful economic conditions of the United States.

These figures confirm the facts, obvious to most of us, that the American people are today better off than ever before in our history. I am deeply satisfied to know just how great has been our amazing progress during the last ten years.

Sincerely yours,


[Honorable Roy V. Peel, Director, Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C.]

Note: Dr. Peel's letter to the President follows:

Mr. President:

During your administration, the people of the United States have made tremendous gains in their incomes, standard of living, education, housing, and in numerous other ways which have been reflected in Census figures. These gains are unparalleled in American history.

The Seventeenth Decennial Census, which recorded the facts relating to the condition of the country on April 1, 1950, showed that there were nearly 151 million people, grouped in well over 43 million households with 46 million dwelling units at their disposal. Over half of all dwellings were occupied by owners; and of these own-homes, some 56.4 percent were free of mortgage indebtedness. Although the total of 5,400,000 farms was smaller than in 1940, there were 78 million more acres devoted to farming than a decade earlier. Three-quarters of all farms are now operated by the owners. Never before in history have so many farmers had the help of modern facilities, machinery and equipment. In 1950, over five and a half million farmers reported sales exceeding 22 billion dollars, an all-time high. These are the salient facts revealed by the 1950 Censuses of Population, Housing and Agriculture.

The Census of Manufactures, coveting operations in 1947, enumerated 241 thousand establishments with value added by manufacture amounting to 74-5 billion dollars. Last year, according to the Census Bureau's annual survey of trends, value added was about 102 billion dollars.

The Census of Business, covering operations in 1948, gave the facts on nearly 3 million retail stores, wholesale establishments and service businesses. Retail sales in 1948 totalled 130.5 billion dollars. At the present time, retail sales exceed 160 billion dollars.

The Census Bureau's current statistical reports show that there are now some 158 million Americans. Preliminary studies of transportation and mining, and current surveys of foreign trade, carried out by the Bureau of the Census, indicate that in these fields, too, the achievements of the American people are without parallel in the history of the whole world.

Believing that these facts documenting our growth and greatness as a nation, will be a source of gratification to you, the President of the United States, under whose direction this magnificent record of accomplishment was compiled, I have the honor to present to you token copies of the most recent reports on the Censuses of Manufactures, Business, Population, Housing and Agriculture. It is our hope to place in your hands, the final, complete volumes as soon as they are published. May you and the Americans of future generations derive both satisfaction and inspiration from this portrayal of the might of America.

Harry S. Truman, Letter in Response to the Latest Reports From the Bureau of the Census. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231301

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