1940 Census

The 1940 US census is being released on 2 April at 9:00 a.m. (eastern).  The National Archives awarded the contract to post free images of the census pages to Archives.com There is this web page on Archives.com with details about the 1940 census. It is not clear if the census pages will be on Archives.com or a new website but a link from Archives.com should be found on 2 April.

To get you started; these are the questions asked on the 1940 census:

  1. Street, avenue, road, etc.
  2. House number
  3. Number of household in order of visitation
  4. Home owned (O) or rented (R)
  5. Value of home, if owned, or monthly rental, if rented
  6. Does this household live on a farm? (Yes or No)
  7. Name of each person whose usual place of residence on April 1, 1940, was in this household.
  8. Relationship of this person to the head of the household, as wife, daughter, father, mother-in-law, grandson, lodger, lodger’s wife, servant, hired hand, etc.
  9. Sex — Male (M), Female (F)
  10. Color or race
  11. Age at last birthday
  12. Marital status — Single (S), Married (M), Widowed (Wd), Divorced (D)
  13. Attended school or college any time since March 1, 1940 (Yes or No)
  14. Highest grade of school completed
  15. If born in the United States, give State, Territory, or possession. If foreign born, give country in which birthplace was situated on January 1, 1937. Distinguish Canada-French from Canada-English and Irish Free State (Eire) from Northern Ireland.
  16. Citizenship of the foreign born
  17. City, town, or village (in 1935) having 2,500 or more inhabitants. Enter “R” for all other places
  18. County (in 1935)
  19. State (or Territory or foreign country) (in 1935)
  20. On a farm? (in 1935) (Yes or No)
  21. Was this person AT WORK for pay or profit in private or nonemergency Govt. work during week of March 24-30? (Yes or No)
  22. If not, was he at work on, or assigned to, public EMERGENCY WORK (WPA, NYA, CCC, etc.) during week of March 24-30? (Yes or No)
  23. Was this person SEEKING WORK? (Yes or No)
  24. If not seeking work, did he HAVE A JOB, business, etc.? (Yes or No)
  25. Indicate whether engaged in home housework (H) in school (S), unable to work (U), or other (O)
  26. Number of hours worked during week of March 24-30, 1940
  27. Duration of unemploymen up to March 30, 1940 – in weeks
  28. Occupation: Trade, profession, or particular kind of work
  29. Industry: Industry of business
  30. Class of worker
  31. Number of weeks worked in 1939 (Equivalent full-time weeks)
  32. Amount of money wages or salary received (in 1939) (including commissions)
  33. Did this person receive income of $50 or more from sources other than money wages or salary? (in 1939) (Yes or No)
  34. Number of Farm Schedule

Plus there are supplemental questions asked for 2 people on each census sheet of 30 people. Those questions are:

  1. Name
  2. Place of birth of Father
  3. Place of birth of Mother
  4. Mother Tongue. Language spoken in home in earliest childhood
  5. Is this person a veteran of the United States military forces; or the wife, widow, or under-18-year-old child of a veteran? If so, enter “Yes”
  6. If child, is veteran-father dead (Yes or No)
  7. (Veteran) War or military service
  8. Does this person have a Federal Social Security Number? (Yes or No)
  9. Were deductions for Federal Old-Age Insurance or Railroad Retirement made from this person’s wages or salary in 1939? (Yes or No)
  10. Usual Occupation
  11. Usual Industry
  12. Usual class of worker
  13. For all women who are or have been married: Has this woman been married more than once? (Yes or No)
  14. Age at first marriage?
  15. Number of children ever born (Do not include stillbirths)

There are some interesting questions asked in this census. Question #14 asks for the highest grade of school completed. Then there are those questions (17-20) that ask where the person lived in 1935. For people like my parents who moved often this will help pin them down in between 1930 and 1940. Plus there are questions about income and more detailed questions about occupation.

The National Archives has a 1940 census page that gives more detailed information on the census. They also include a link to a downloadable census form that you can use to record your family data. That form is best if printed on legal size (8.5×14) paper. Plus they have a countdown clock showing the time, to the second, until the census is released. After that time, a link should tell where the images will be located.

It is very important to note that no index of the 1940 census will be available on 2 April. If your families lived in a small town then you can search page by page. If they lived in a larger location then you may want to visit Steve Morse’s Unified 1940 Census Election District Finder page. You put in the name of the city and street, if you have it, and it will tell which election districts of the census you will need to search. It will help to cut down your search time. An index will be available but there is no telling how long it will take to produce. Family Search and some other organizations are looking for volunteers to help index the 1940 census. You can sit at your home computer and be a benefit to other genealogists. For more information or to sign up visit the FS 1940 census page. Those indexes will be available to all for free when finished.

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Updated 13 Feb. with thanks to Joel Weintraub for the corrections to the original posting.

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  1. Pingback: 1940 Census Correction « Dick's Genealogy & History Corner

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