|1940 Census poster, courtesy NARA|
Anticipation about the release of the 1940 census on April 2 is growing every day. Let’s take a look today at the questions that were asked and the information you can expect to find in this new treasure trove.
Citizenship: Starting with the 1900 census, questions were asked about individual naturalization status with three possible responses: naturalized, papers filed, or alien. The 1940 census adds a field for “American Citizen Born Abroad” as a new category.
Education: For the first time, the specific highest grade of schooling completed is included.
Employment: There are 17 questions about employment in the 1940 census, reflecting the preoccupation with the Great Depression. Answers on employment as of the week of March 24-30, 1940, were given for every individual over the age of 14. New questions include information about wages and salary and if the person made more than $50 moonlighting. Questions were also asked about anyone in the household who earned income from New Deal projects, such as the National Youth Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps, or the Works Progress Administration.
Migration: The Census Bureau was interested in migration within the U.S. as a result of the Great Depression, so the 1940 census asked each individual where he or she had been living on 1 April 1935. If the person was not living at the same address in 1935 and 1940, the name of the city or township (with a population of more than 2,600 persons) and state is given for the 1935 location.
Supplemental Schedule: Five percent of census responders were chosen (two individuals on pre-selected lines of each page) to respond to additional questions. These included inquiries about military service by veterans of World War I, Spanish-American War, Boxer Rebellion, or Philippine Insurrection (this is the first census that no longer asked about Civil War service) and if the person had had deductions made for Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board.
For more information on the 1940 census, including the questions asked by enumerators and FAQs about the release of the census, visit www.archives.gov/research/census/1940/index.html. Additional information about the 1940 census is available in the Family Tree Friday blog from the National Archives at http://blogs.archives.gov/online-public-access/. Stay tuned!