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1920 population census schedules

Manuscript/Manuscript on Film
English
Washington, D.C. : National Archives & Records Administration, [193-?]
2076 microfilm reels ; 35 mm.
National Archives microfilm publications; T0625

Notes

Records of United States Census, 1920 are available online, click here.

Microfilm of original records in The National Archives, Washington, District of Columbia.

"On January 1, 1920, at 9:00 a.m. the Bureau of the Census began taking the fourteenth decennial census of the United States. The Department of Agriculture had requested that the date be changed from the traditional spring/early summer dates to January. The department argued that harvests would be completed and information about the harvests fresh in farmers' minds, and more people would be at home in January than in April.

The 1920 census schedules are arranged by state or territory, and thereunder by county, and finally by enumeration district. The states are arranged alphabetically; however, Alaska, Guam and American Samoa, Hawaii, military and naval schedules, the Panama Canal, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands (taken in 1917) are listed last. There was no separate Indian schedule for 1920.

The format and information in the 1920 census schedules closely resemble that of the 1910 census. The 1920 census, however, did not ask about service in the Union or Confederate army or navy. Questions about the number of children born and how long a couple had been married were also omitted. The bureau modified the enumeration of inmates of institutions and dependent, defective, and delinquent classes. The 1920 census included four new questions: one asking the year of naturalization and three about mother tongue.

Because of the changes in some boundaries following World War I, enumerators were instructed to report the province (state or region) or city of persons declaring they or their parents had been born in Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia, or Turkey. If a person had been born in any other foreign country, only the name of the country was to be entered.

The instruction to the enumerators did not require that individuals spell out their names. Enumerators wrote down the information given to them; they were not authorized to request proof of age, date of arrival, or other information. People were known to change their ages between censuses, and some people claimed not to know their age. The race determination was based on the enumerator's impressions.

Individuals were enumerated as residents of the place in which they regularly slept, not where they worked or might be visiting. People with no regular residence, including 'floaters' and members of transient railroad or construction camps, were enumerated as residents of the place where they were when the enumeration was taken. Enumerators were also to ask if any family members were temporarily absent; if so, these were to be listed either with the household or on the last schedule for the census subdivision. Thus, the user should always check that page"--Introd.

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