Ask Your Librarian: TV Ownership in the Fifties

We recently received this question: What was the number of U.S. households with television sets for each year from 1950 to 1955?

This data is from Historical Statistics of the United States, Millennial Edition Online, ed. Susan B. Carter, Scott Sigmund Gartner, et al., Cambridge University Press, 2006:

1950: 5,030,000
1951: 10,320,000
1952: 15,300,000
1953: 20,400,000
1954: 26,000,000
1955: 30,700,000 

Learned along the way:  Did you know that in 1975, 30,000 U.S. households had VCRs?  By 1981 that number had reached 3 million, and by 2000 it was nearly 86 million. 

JHU affiliates can access Historical Statistics of the United States at  If you're off campus, you'll need to use the JHSecure VPN client.

About Andi Bartelstein

Andi Bartelstein is Instructional Services Coordinator and Librarian for Education and Counseling at the Sheridan Libraries.

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