Missouri Digital Heritage :: Census Records :: 1940 Census

1940 Census

Thomas Hart Benton census record
See all Famous Missourians 1940 Census records.

General Information

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) released the 1940 U.S. Census on April 2, 2012. The digital images, without indexes, will be accessible free of charge through 1940census.archives.gov.

The 1940 U.S. Census is the largest, most comprehensive and most recent record set available that recorded the names of the 132 million people living in the United States and the 3,784,664 people living in Missouri.

For each individual enumerated, the standard questions of location, name, relationship, race, gender, marital status, education, occupation, income, nativity and citizenship are available. Each individual's income in 1939 and whether or not the person worked for a "New Deal" agency the week of March 24, 1940 are also listed. In addition, the enumerator marked (with a circled x) who in the household responded to the census questions.

In addition, the census also serves as a bonus census, because if a person lived in a different location in 1935, the census also listed their residence as of April 1, 1935.

Explore the 1940 Census

Finding someone on the 1940 census before there is an index might be difficult but it is not impossible. Various strategies can be used to locate individuals in the census, which is arranged by state, county and enumeration district.

Enumeration Districts (ED)

An enumeration district (ED) is an area that could be covered by a single enumerator (census taker) in one census period. Enumeration districts vary in size from several city blocks in densely populated urban areas to an entire county in some rural areas.

Enumeration district maps show the boundaries and numbers of the census enumeration districts. Because the maps were obtained locally they often contain additional unrelated boundaries including wards, precincts, townships, and congressional districts. The Bureau of the Census used various types of maps, including postal route maps, property maps, and highway maps. Some maps name all roads and streets, and even show rural structures as small dots. Other maps only show major roads or streets. Census officials then drew the enumeration district boundaries and numbers on these base maps.

The map may have numerous numbers on it. The ED number will be a two part number separated by a hyphen (in the red box below). The first number represents the county and the second number the enumeration district within that county.

Since the maps are organized by enumeration district, geographic locations and addresses are vital to using the 1940 census.

 

 

Addresses may be found on:


Family correspondence and postcards

City directory and phonebook listings



World War II military draft and service records

For those who died at the same address, the
Missouri Death Certificates may also provide
address information.



1930 Census ED number 1

If the family had not moved, their enumeration district from the 1930 census may be converted to determine the enumeration district in the 1940 census, using the website http://stevemorse.org/census/unified.

Once you have an address in an urban area the website http://stevemorse.org/census/unified may help you identify the enumeration district. Partial to complete street name indexes to enumeration districts have been created for the Missouri cities of Boonville, Brookfield, Cape Girardeau, Caruthersville, Clayton, Columbia, Fulton, Hannibal, Independence, Jefferson City, Joplin, Kansas City, Kirksville, Kirkwood, Maplewood, Marshall, Mexico, Poplar Bluff, Richmond Heights, Sedalia, Springfield, St. Charles, St. Joseph, St. Louis, University City and Webster Groves. Most other municipalities consist of only one or two enumeration districts.

The enumeration districts for these smaller towns and Missouri's rural areas can be identified on the original 1940 census maps available at http://stevemorse.org/census/xml1940edmaps.html. The maps are browse-able by state, county and city.

Once you know the enumeration district, and the records are released on April 2, 2012 you can scroll through the images for that district on 1940census.archives.gov.

Useful Links

1940 Census General Information (NARA)

How to start your 1940 Census research (NARA)

1940 Census Template

Questions asked on the 1940 census (NARA)

1940 Census Fun Facts

1940 Census Bureau Video