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Bibliography on the 1957 census of Iraq


1957 Oct 13
Census Curfew
The Tampa Tribune
Tampa FL

BAGHDAD, Iraq. Oct. 12. (Reuters) — A 12-hour curfew was imposed here today as about 2000 enumerators, helped by students and police, took Iraq’s first census since 1947.

1957 Oct 13
The Baltimore Sun
Baltimore MD


12-Hour Curfew Over; Children Flood The Streets


(Sun Staff Correspondent)

Baghdad, Iraq, Oct. 12—The clock at the post office on Rashid street, across the street from the Semiramis Hotel, was one minute or two short of 5 o’clock. But the children who live in the narrow streets behind the post office could wait no longer.

Screaming, galloping, advancing, they headed for Rashid street. Normally the street is crowded with two-way traffic at 5 o’clock in the afternoon. But since 5 o’clock this morning it had been as empty as the Syrian Desert.

Baghdad and the rest of Iraq was under census curfew that forbade anyone to leave his home without special permission until 5 o’clock this afternoon.

This correspondent, like everyone else in Iraq, was quarantined.

Number Of Wives

For census purposes his home was the Semiramis Hotel. Late last night the hall porter had knocked at his door and handed him a hotel census form to be filled out, a simplified version of “the general census form, 1957.”

It called for his name, age, place of birth, documentation supporting his birth claim, the names of his parents and grandparents, his religion, marital status, number of wives, occupation, education, infirmities, deformities and nationality. What was his usual place of residence and what was he doing in Iraq?

This morning an augmented corps of grumbling and harassed hotel clerks transcribed these vital statistics and similar data provided by about a hundred other guests into Arabic and set them down in meticulous script on official census forms.

Time Hung Heavy

There are worse places in which to be confined than the Semiramis. The bar was open and the hotel has a small garden in the rear, overlooking the Tigris.

Baghdad’s radio broadcasting station was on the air all day, in Arabic, but there were no newspapers and time hung heavy on many hands. Many guests of neighboring hotels appeared to spend the day in their pajamas, lounging on balconies overhanding deserted Rashid street.

A few soldiers, an occasional car with a special permit plastered on its windshield moved up or down the street. Otherwise Baghdad’s dogs and cats had the place to themselves.

1957 Oct 20
Billings Gazette
Billings MT

Storm Kills 23

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) — A 45-minute thunderstorm, followed by snow, hit the city of Sulaimaniya in Northern Iraq Friday night, causing 34 houses to collapse. The government announced Saturday 23 persons were buried in the ruins and that all were believed dead.

The Los Angeles Times
1957 Nov 14

Baltimore Sun

Writing from Bagdad, Lee McCardell described the complete curfew imposed on the citizens of Iraq in order to obtain a population count. In Bagdad all train, plane and bus schedules were canceled, all public and private businesses closed and all persons ordered off the streets, except policemen and physicians. The census takers wanted everybody at home to be counted.

While the curfew appears harsh, one explanation may be that hithertofore the population figures for Iraq and its principal city of Bagdad have been in a fluid state. The population of Bagdad, for instance, depends on which reference book you read. The Information Please Almanac says 364,049; Encyclopedia Britannica, 400,000; Rand McNally, 466,733; the World Almanac, 552,047, and the Statesman’s Year Book, 882,907. If the curfew measures were effective, henceforth there may be one population figure for Bagdad on which all authorities agree. That is progress, we suppose.