Compact Guide to the 1940 U.S. Census

1940 Census Resources and Genealogy Tools

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Summary of the information given in the 1940 Census

U.S. Federal census records for 1940 were released to the public digitally on April 2, 2012. See the box at left for where you can find these digital images online. The 1940 census contains many clues that can help with your genealogy research. Here is a summary of the information in the 1940 census...
  • Address (street and house number)
  • Home owned or rented, and value of home or monthly rent
  • Name ("Name of each person whose usual place of residence on April 1, 1940, was in this household ... Enter ⊗ ['X' with a circle around it] after name of person furnishing information.")
  • Relationship of this person to the head of household
  • Sex
  • Color or race (W=White, Neg=Negro, In=Indian, Chi=Chinese, Jp=Japanese, Fil=Filipino, Hin=Hindu, Kor=Korean, "other races spell out in full")
  • Age at last birthday
  • Marital status
  • Education
    • Attended school or college any time since March 1, 1940?
    • Highest grade of school completed (0=none; 1-8=elementary school, 1st to 8th grade; H-1, H-2, H-3, H-4=high school, 1st to 4th year; C-1, C-2, C-3, C-4=college, 1st to 4th year; C-5=college, 5th or subsequent year)
  • Place of Birth (state, territory or possession; or foreign country)
  • Citizenship of the foreign born (Na=Naturalized, Pa=Having First Papers, Al=Alien, Am Cit=American Citizen Born Abroad)
  • Where living on April 1, 1935
  • Employment Status - Persons 14 Years Old and Over
    • Occupation and Industry
    • Class of Worker (PW=Wage/Salary Worker in Private Work, GW=Wage/Salary Worker in Gov't Work, E=Employer, OA=Working on Own Account, NP=Unpaid Family Worker)
    • Number of weeks worked in 1939
    • Income in 1939 (for 12 months ended December 31, 1939)
      • "Amount of money wages or salary received (including commissions)"
      • "Did this person receive income of $50 or more from sources other than money wages or salary? (Yes or No)"
Supplementary Questions: These questions were only asked of persons enumerated on lines 14 and 29 of the census form (about a 5% sample of the population)
  • Name
  • Place of birth of mother and father
  • Language spoken in home in earliest childhood
  • Veterans
    • 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 (W=World War [WWI]; S=Spanish-American War, Philippine Insurrection or Boxer Rebellion; SW=Spanish-American War and World War; R=Regular Establishment or Peace-Time Service; Ot=Other War or Expedition)
  • Social Security questions, including: "Does this person have a Federal Social Security Number?"
  • Usual Occupation, Industry, and Class of Worker
  • For women who are or have been married:
    • Has this woman been married more than once? (yes or no)
    • Age at first marriage.
    • Number of children ever born (do not include stillbirths).
The above is a summary of the information given in the 1940 U.S. Federal Census. For a more detailed list of the questions asked see: 1940 Federal Population Census at the National Archives (NARA)

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