1940 Census Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: When will the 1940 Census by released?

A: The 1940 Census will be released 2 April 2012. The sixteenth federal enumeration of the United States was recorded 72 years ago on April 1, 1940. The National Archives will provide digital images of the census pages at 12:01 a.m. FamilySearch will load and display those images as soon as possible once they are 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 largest 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.[add citation]

Q: Is there a name index I can use to locate my family?

A:  The initial release will be images only.  FamilySearch volunteers will be working hard to create a complete index of the 1940 census.  Indexes for individual states will be made available as they are completed. 

Q: Do I need to know where my family or person of interest lived to locate them in the 1940 Census?

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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. The Family History Library and FamilySearch will not be adding copies of these microfilms to their collection as they are instead getting digital copies that will be available online.

Q: What questions were asked in the enumeration of the 1940 census?

A: Thirty-four questions were asked relating to location, household data, name, relationship, personal description, education, place of birth, citizenship, residence, and employment status. Persons listed on lines 14 and 29 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?

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  • Residence five years previous
  • Highest level of education
  • Wages and income previous year

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: