Family Tree Friday: 1940 Census opens next April

Today’s post is brought to you by Constance Potter, Archivist in the Archives I Research Support Branch, and Jennifer Dryer of Archives II, who is currently cross-training at Archives I.

The release of the 1940 population census schedules is approaching! It will be released digitally on April 2, 2012. You will be able to access all 1940 census records online at any of the public computer workstations at National Archives facilities, as well as from any computer connected to the internet.

On April 2nd, you will be able to search by state; county; city; township or minor civil division, and enumeration data. There will be no name index on April 2nd.

As recorded in the 1940 census, the population of the continental United States rose 7.2% by 8,894,229 people from 1930 to 1940 (122,775,046 in the 1930 census to 131,669,275 in the 1940 census). Between 1930 and 1940, most states increased in population, with the largest increase being in Washington D.C. with a 36.2% increase of 176,222 people. South Dakota had the largest decrease in population with a 7.2% decrease of 49,888; however, the populations of North Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma also decreased, most likely indicating people moving away from the Dust Bowl of the Midwest.

If you need information about yourself or a deceased person from the 1940 or later censuses, fill out Form BC-600 from the Bureau of the Census Age Search Service or write to: U.S. Census Bureau, National Processing Center, 1201 East 10th St., Jeffersonville, IN 47132.

For more information you may visit the National Archive’s 1940 census webpage.

2 thoughts on “Family Tree Friday: 1940 Census opens next April

  1. Great job! I think it is interesting that the population of DC increased the most with a 36.2 increase. Is there any indication or speculation of why there was such a large growth in population of the District of Columbia?

    1. Hi Diane,

      The statistical reports don’t speculate about the reasons behind population changes. But my colleagues and I all think this growth is likely due to increased government employment. Remember, the 1940 census reflects the 1930’s – so you’ve got all the New Deal programs, and all the various agencies are also expanding at the same time. People came to DC to work for the government and settled down here – my grandparents are among these people.

      I suspect that we will see another large population increase in in the DC area in 1950 – this would reflect the 1940s, with WWII and the growth of the defense industry. I know that my condo building was built as apartment housing for Pentagon employees!

      – Katherine

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