1940 U.S. Federal Census
The Sixteenth Census of the United States covered the continental United States, Alaska, American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, the Panama Canal Zone, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands of the United States, the military and consular services abroad, and naval services abroad or in American waters, but not at a fixed station. Persons in the military services were enumerated as residents of the states, counties, and minor civil divisions in which their posts of duty were located (members of their families were enumerated at the place in which they resided). The crews of American merchant marine vessels were enumerated as part of the population of the port from which the vessel operated.1
Four notable changes were made to the 1940 Census, including the addition of the housing schedule, the sampling procedure (both discussed in further detail below), the incorporation of the questions on employment and unemployment on to the general population schedule, and inquiries into migration.
Population Census Items
Address; name; number of household in order of visitation; home owned or rented; value of home, if owned, or monthly rental, if rented; does this household live on a farm?; name of each person whose usual place of residence on April 1, 1940, was in this household; 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.; sex; color or race; age at last birthday; marital status; attended school or college any time since March 1, 1940; highest grade of school completed; place of birth; citizenship of the foreign born.
FOR PERSONS 14 YEARS OLD AND OVER: was this person AT WORK for pay or profit in private or nonemergency Govt. work during week of March 24-30?; if not, was he at work on, or assigned to, public EMERGENCY WORK (WPA, NYA, CCC, etc.) during week of March 24-30?; was this person SEEKING WORK?; if not seeking work, did he HAVE A JOB, business, etc.?; indicate whether engaged in home housework, in school, unable to work, or other; number of hours worked during week of March 24-30, 1940; duration of unemployment up to March 30, 1940; occupation; industry; class of worker; number of weeks worked in 1939; amount of money wages or salary received in 1939; did this person receive income of $50 or more from sources other than money wages or salary?
SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTIONS: place of birth of father and mother; mother tongue; 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 child, is veteran-father dead; war or military service (veterans); does this person have a Federal Social Security Number?; were deductions for Federal Old-Age Insurance or Railroad Retirement made from this person's wages or salary in 1939?; uf so, were deductions made from all, one-half or more, part, but less than half, of wages or salary?; has this woman been married more than once?; (women only) age at first marriage?; (women only) number of children ever born.
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Availability of Census Records About Individuals, U.S. Census Bureau Web Site, www.census.gov
Census of Population and Housing, U.S. Census Bureau Web Site, www.census.gov
The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy by Loretto Dennis Szucs; edited by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking (Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry Incorporated, 1997).