1940 Census Frequently Asked Questions
United States 1940 Census Frequently Asked Questions
Q: When was the 1940 Census released?
A: The 1940 Census was released on 2 April 2012. The sixteenth federal enumeration of the United States official census date was April 1, 1940. The National Archives has provided digital images of the census pages. FamilySearch loaded and displayed those images once they were received from the archives.
Q: What was the population of the United States reported from the 1940 U.S. census data? What state had the largest population? What state had the smallest population? Where can I learn the population of my state?
A: Wikipedia lists the total U.S. population on April 1, 1940 as 132,164,569 with the highest state, New York, at 13,479,142 and the smallest state, Nevada at 110,247. Learn the population of your state of interest on the Wikipedia population table.
Q: Is there a name index I can use to locate my family?
A: Yes. Indexes of the 1940 census are available at FamilySearch, Ancestry, and findmypast. Ancestry and findmypast both require a free registration to view the indexes and images. If you cannot find an individual by name, try searching by address through the National Archives.
Q: Do I need to know where my family or person of interest lived to locate them in the 1940 Census?
A: Not necessarily. But if you know where they probably lived, you will be able to be more certain of which person is your ancestor. See the wiki page 1940 United States Census - Where to Find An Address for ideas about where to find an address for your ancestor.
Q: Are there microfilm copies of the 1940 Census and will the Family History Library have copies?
A: Yes, microfilm copies of the 1940 Census do exist. The originals are held by the National Archives but the entire census has been digitized and put online. The Family History Library and FamilySearch will not be adding copies of these microfilms to their collection as they are instead purchasing digital copies which will be available online.
Q: What questions were asked in the enumeration of the 1940 census?
A: Thirty-four were asked relating to location, household data, name, relationship, personal description, education, place of birth, citizenship, residence, and employment status. Persons listed on two designated lines per census page were asked to respond to an additional fifteen supplementary questions] relating to birthplace of father and mother, native language, veterans, social security, occupation, and industry. Women were asked if they had been married more than once, age at first marriage, and number of children born.
Q: What questions were new or different from the previous census enumeration of 1930?
- Residence five years previous
- Highest level of education
- Wages and income previous year
- Census sampling of only two persons per page
- Separate pages found at the middle and end of the Enumeration District pages listed people not initially at home when the enumerator came or who were transients living in camps, flophouses, hotels, etc.
Q: Were U.S. territories and possessions included in the 1940 census?
A: The 1940 census included 48 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories of Alaska, American Samoa, the American Consulates, Guam, Hawaii, the Panama Canal Zone, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
Q: Where can I learn more about the 1940 census?
A: Good information is available from the following resources:
- National Archives - 1940 U.S. Federal Census website hosted by the National Archives at http://1940census.archives.gov
- Stephen Morse website http://stevemorse.org/census/1940census - Hover your mouse over "US Census" in the top left-hand corner and then click on the page name you are seeking. Return to the 1940 Census wiki page for more help in using Stephen Morse.
- FamilySearch website [click on landing page button]
- FamilySearch Research Wiki - 1940 U.S. Census
- Wikipedia - 1940 United States Census
Q. What do the various codes mean?