"A family tree can wither if nobody tends its roots."


Counting down to the release of the 1940 U.S. Census

by  Phyllis Zeck

Those of us who are genealogy fanatics are tapping our toes waiting for April 2nd which is the release date of the 1940 U.S. Census.  The census information is released to the public 72 years after it is taken.  For the first time the census will be available in a digital format.

The 1940 census contains 49 questions ranging from the standard questions such as address, names of people in the household, ages, and occupation to questions aimed at people 14 years and older requesting in depth information about employment and wages.  These questions, in part, were to determine how households were affected by the great depression.  Below is a short video about the 1940’s census.

In the 1940’s:

  • The US population was 132 million.
  • The national debt was $43 billion.
  • The average salary was $1,725.00 a year.
  • Minimum wage was 30 cents an hour.
  • A new car cost $850.00, a gallon of gas was 11 cents.
  • A first class stamp was 3 cents.
  • A gallon of milk cost 54 cents.
  • Fifty five percent of US homes had indoor plumbing.
  • Life expectancy at birth was 65.9 years for females and 61.6 years for males.

You will not be able to search the 1940 census with a person’s last name.  You can search the records with an address or with the Enumeration District number.  You will be able to obtain the Enumeration District number using this link http://stevemorse.org/census/unified.html.

Click on the following link to see detailed questions the census taker asked https://www.familysearch.org/1940census/enum_instructions

For more information about the census click this link http://www.archives.gov/research/census/1940/

Happy searching!



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