Explore the 1940 United States census and find out more about your ancestors.
1940 US Census Quick Facts
1940 US Census Date: April 1, 1940 (All reported data is “as of” this official date chosen by the census agency)
1940 Census Duration: 1 month
1940 US Census Population: 132,164,569
President During 1940 Census: Franklin D. Roosevelt
Forty-eight States participated in the 1940 census. Participating territories include Alaska, Hawaii, the Canal Zone, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands.
1940 Census Data: 14th United States Census
It took $67,527,000, approximately 123,069 enumerators and 58,400 published reports to complete the 1940 census.
The US population increased by 7.3 percent from the 1930 census to the 1940 census.
Information requested for the 1940 US Census
Number of household in order of visitation
Is the home owned or rented?
Value of the home, if owned, or monthly rental, if rented
Does the person's household live on a farm?
Relationship with the head of household
Color or race
Age at last birthday
Did the person attend school or college at any time in the past year?
What was the highest grade of school that the person completed?
Person's place of birth
If foreign born, is the person a citizen?
City, town, or village
County and State or Territory
Was this house on a farm?
For persons 14 years and older - employment status
What is the person's occupation, trade, or profession?
What is the person's industry or business?
What is the person's class of worker?
Number of weeks worked in 1939 (or equivalent of full time weeks)
Amount of money, wages, or salary received (including commissions)
Did this person receive income of more than $50 from sources other than money wages or salary?
No major loss of records in the 1940 US census.
Famous people in history: Shirley Temple
The beloved American film star Shirley Temple stole hearts as a child actor from the ripe age of three years old. Born in 1928 in Santa Monica, California, Temple perfromed as a talented dancer and singer in both film and television roles. One of the youngest superstars, Temple made 11 films in 1933 alone giving hope and entertainment during the Great Depression.
By age 12 Shirley Temple failed to find adult film roles and left the movie industry. She married John Agar in 1945, which lasted only five years, and found lasting happiness with Charles Black in 1950 with whom she had two more children. In adulthood, Temple entered the arena of politics, and served as a diplomat and ambassador during the 1960s through 1992. Shirley Temple in the 1930 census living with her family at the age of 12.
Historical Events Surrounding 1940 Census
December 7, 1941: Japanese warplanes attack Pearl Harbor marking the entrance of US into WWII
February 19, 1942: FDR issues an executive order for the interment of all American residents with Japanese ancestry
Department stores start selling Tupperware in 1943
May 4, 1945: Germany surrenders ending World War II
March 5, 1946: Winston Churchill delivers his “Iron Curtain” speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri
Please note that the terms used in historical records reflect attitudes and language at the time and may now be considered derogatory or offensive.
Researchers may use the Race field to find those individuals identified in the transcripts as ‘black’, ‘negro’, or ‘mulatto’. Note that we have standardised the spelling of ‘mulatto’, which is spelt in various different ways in the original records. The original records contain all three of the foregoing terms and, while the distinction between black and mulatto is generally adhered to, sometimes the terms are used interchangeably – the same man may be described as mulatto and black/negro in different records.
Not all black or mulatto individuals are described as such – sometimes the records (or the transcripts) are silent in this respect. Therefore, if you find a man by searching, without a name, for the search term “mulatto”, for instance, you would then want to repeat your search under his name, removing the search term “mulatto”, to fetch all possible references to him.