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Monday, April 2, 2012


GUEST BLOG/By Uncle Sam--The 1940 Census records are available from the National Archives as of TODAY. The U.S. Census Bureau conducted the 1940 Census 72 years ago amid the backdrop of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and theNew Deal. In addition to providing information about the U.S. population, the 1940 Census recorded socioeconomic changes in the United States between 1930 and 1940. In the midst of the depression, the 1940 Census included questions on employment, income, and internal migration. In addition, the 1940 Census was the first to include a census of housing.

Below are some facts from the 1940 Census:
• In 1940, the U.S. population was 132 million, an increase of almost 9 million since 1930. In comparison, the 2010 Census counted nearly 309 million people.
• The 1940 Census estimated that 15 percent of the labor force was unemployed. In 2011, the monthly unemployment rate fluctuated between 9.1 and 8.5 percent.
• In 1940, 45 percent of all U.S. homes, and over 80 percent of homes in Alabama and Arkansas, lacked complete plumbing facilities (defined as hot and cold piped water, a bathtub or shower, and a flush toilet). In 2010, 99.4 percent of U.S. housing units had complete plumbing facilities.
• About 12 percent of the U.S. population moved between 1935 and 1940. Similarly, nearly 12 percent of the population moved between 2010 and 2011.

Visit the National Archives website to access the 1940 census records April 2, 2012

Census information and records can be invaluable tools in genealogical research. In addition to basic personal facts for each respondent, census records include detailed information that can help make connections across generations. The links on the left contain a few tips to help you use census and other historical records to fill out your family tree.

For more information:
• Information on using government records for genealogical research can be found in the U.S. Census Bureau's History Staff's publication, Age Search [PDF 4.8MB].
• Availablity of Census Records About Individuals [PDF 289KB].
• A list of questions asked in every census is available on this Website and in the publication Measuring America: The Decennial Censuses From 1790 to 2000. [PDF 16.5MB]
• "Using Maps in Genealogy." [PDF 430KB] published by the U.S. Geological Survey.
• USCIS Genealogy Program," [PDF 258KB] published by the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service.
• The U.S. government will not release personally identifiable information about an individual to any other individual or agency until 72 years after it is collected for the decennial census. This "72-Year Rule" (92 Stat. 915; Public Law 95-416; October 5, 1978) restricts access to decennial census records to all but the individual named on the record or their legal heir.

Source: National Archive

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