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1940 United States Census

The 16th U S Census conducted on 1st April of 1940, by the United States Census Bureau, is the most recent Census available for public access. The National Archives and Records Administration have released the microfilmed images of the 1940 census enumeration sheets after 72 years on April 2, 2012. The population of 48 states was recorded to be 132,164,569, an increase of 7.3% over the 1930 US population of 122,775,046


Along with general questions the 1940 US census added 3 new questions in the enumeration process like;
  • The residence location of people before 5 years.
  • Highest educational grade achieved.
  • Detailed information about income or wages.

On the 1940 census the following questions were asked:

  • Address of home- house number with street, avenue, road etc (in cities and towns)
  • Data about household – number of house in order of visitation, home owned or rented, if owned the value of home or if rented then the monthly rental, whether the household live on a farm.
  • name of each person whose usual place of residence on April 1, 1940 was in this household
  • enumerated person's relationship to the head of the household
  • Personal description – age at last birthday, sex, race, whether married, single, divorce or widowed
  • Attended school or college any time since 1st march, 1940, highest level of school completed
  • birth place if born in the United States and in case of foreign born the name of the country on January 1, 1937
  • citizenship status of the foreign born
  • place of residence on April 1, 1935
  • employment status of person 14 years old and above (multiple questions)
  • occupation type, industry, class of worker and number of weeks worked in 1939
  • income details in 1939
  • number of farm schedule


Interesting part of the 1940

US census is that it introduced sample survey – one in 20 people were asked to answer supplementary questions, such as:
  • place of birth of person's parents
  • native language or mother tongue
  • detailed information about a veteran including wife and minor child
  • respondent's Social Security details
  • economic activity of the answerer – occupation, industry and class of worker
  • enumerators asked questions for all women who were or have been married like, if married more than once, age at first marriage and number of children born


Genealogical Significance of the Sixteenth United States Census:

1940 census is the most currently released records resource of 72 years ago, now open for public inspection. It contains facts rendered by each respondent that can help to generate family research and gather variety of statistical information. Genealogists and records seekers will be able to find their ancestors place of residence on April 1, 1935. To gather a wealth of information pertaining to American places, people and economy 16th US enumeration is performing a typical role. Starting a family tree with the census records of 1940 is really a great idea because almost every inhabitants of America has a relative at that time.

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