First release of the 1940 US Census, the 16th in the US

Today, 2 April 2012 the 1940 US Census has become available to the public. The actual 72 year hold (when 72 years was established, it was assumed everyone on the Census would be dead!) on the information expired on Sunday 1 April 2012 but release was delayed until Monday. The Stock Market Crash had occurred 10 years ago, WPA programs had been going for 6 years; Germany was a dictatorship and Japan was at war in China. Following the Great Depression, detailed information was gathered about marriage status, 14 questions on employment status and occupation with particular emphasis on the ‘usual’ occupation rather than the person’s job to get by during the last decade. Also significant was each person was asked his/her address in 1935 and this is a huge bonus. See this interesting article from a local Genealogist about the Census.

At the time of the 1940 Census:

On April 7, 1940, just days after the official date for the 1940 Census enumeration, Booker T. Washington became the first African American to appear on a United States Postage Stamp. At the time, the domestic letter rate was just 3-cents per ounce. The World was also at war in 1940, but it would be more than eighteen months before the United States would enter World War II following the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. By the time this decade drew to a close the war was over, but the entire world learned of unspeakable war crimes that would forever change the world. Learn more about the history of 1940.

Here is the rather large form that was used; and this page lists (in textual form) the questions asked on the 16th.   Here are some ‘fast facts‘ about the 16th Census.

  • 48 States & Territories
  • 132 million names
  • First census to use statistical sampling
  • Also recorded family location in 1935
  • Digitization efforts underway by NARA
  • 4,643 rolls of 35mm microfilm
  • Approximately 3.25 million digital images
  • Post-depression and pre-WWII


Print Friendly, PDF & Email



Powered by Facebook Comments

This entry was posted in Newspaper clipping, Web Link. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply