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Census Research Guide: 1940

About the 1940 Census

Census Bureau's "By Decade" website - includes a variety of publications, questionnaires, datasets, and more


  • 16th decennial census
  • US population: 131,669,275
  • California population: 6,907,387
  • New focus on labor and economic issues
  • The Census of Housing was the first nationwide, detailed inventory of housing
  • First census to use sampling
  • Statistics for census tracts reported for the first time for select cities (Note: San Diego not included)

Questions asked (see questionnaire)

Information obtained from all persons: Address; home owned or rented; value or monthly rental; whether on a farm; name; relationship to head of household; sex; race; age; marital status; school or college attendance; educational attainment; place of birth; citizenship of foreign born; county, State, and town or village of residence 5 years ago and whether on a farm; employment status; if at work, whether in private or nonemergency government work, or in public emergency work (WPA, NYA, CCC, etc.); if in private or nonemergency government work, number of hours worked during week of March 24-30; if seeking work or on public emergency work, duration of unemployment; occupation, industry, and class of worker; number of weeks worked last year; wage or salary income last year and whether received other income of $50 or more.

Information from 5-percent sample: Place of birth of parents; language spoken in home in earliest childhood; veteran status; which war or period of service; whether wife or widow of veteran; whether a child under 18 of a veteran and, if so, whether father is living; whether has Social Security number, and if so, whether deductions were made from all part of wages or salary; occupation, industry, and class of worker; of women ever married-whether married more than once, age at first marriage, and number of children ever born.

Supplemental schedule for infants born during the four months preceding the census.

Finding Statistics

Social Explorer - remote access limited to UCSD affiliates

Finding Publications

Find all 1940 census publications in the library catalog.

Selected publications:

Census of Population Vol. I: Number of Inhabitants [C 3.14:940/13/ v.1]

Census of Population Vol II: Characteristics of the Population [C3.14:940/13/v.2/pt.1-7]

Census of Population Vol III: The Labor Force [C3.14:940/13/v.3/pt.1-5]

Census of Population Vol IV: Characteristics by age [C3.14:940/13/v.4/pt.1-4]

Census of Population: Characteristics of persons not in the labor force, 14 years old and over [C 3.14:940/13/5]

Census of Population: Characteristics of the non-white population by race [C 3.14:940/13/6]

Census of Population: Comparative occupation statistics for the United States, 1870 to 1940 [C 3.14:940/13/7]

Census of Population: Differential Fertility, 1940 and 1910 [C 3.14:940/15/8-1 C 3.14:940/13/8-2]

Census of Population: Internal Migration, 1935 to 1940 [C 3.14:940/13/12-1]

Census of Population: The Labor Force [C 3.14:940/13/13-]

Census of Population: Nativity and parentage of the white population [C 3.14:940/13/14-]

Census of Population: Special report on institutional population…[C 3.14:940/13/15]

Census of Population: Families [C 3.14:940/13/11-]

Census of Housing Vol. 1: Data for Small Areas [C3.14:940/5/v.1/summ]

Census of Housing Vol. 2: General Characteristics [C3.14:940/5/v.2/pt.1-4]

Census of Housing Vol. 3: Characteristics by Monthly Rent or Value [C3.14:940/5/v.3/pt.1-3]

Census of Housing Vol. 4: Mortgages on Owner-Occupied Nonfarm Homes [C 3.14:940/5/v.4/pt 1-4]

Census of Population and Housing: Families [C 3.14:940/14/1/pt 1-4]

Population and housing. Statistics for census tracts, Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA [C 3.14:940/14/2-1/29]

Census of Population: Education[C 3.14:940/13/9-]

Areas of the United States [C 3.14:940/4/1]