1940 United States census

Last updated

Sixteenth census
of the United States

  1930 April 1, 1940 (1940-04-01) 1950  

Seal of the United States Census Bureau.svg
U.S. Census Bureau seal
1940 census form large.jpg
Population Schedule
General information
CountryUnited States
Total population132,164,569 (Increase2.svg 7.3%)
Most populous state New York
Least populous state Nevada

The United States census of 1940, conducted by the Census Bureau, determined the resident population of the United States to be 132,164,569, an increase of 7.3 percent over the 1930 population of 122,775,046 people. The census date of record was April 1, 1940. A number of new questions were asked including where people were 5 years before, highest educational grade achieved, and information about wages. This census introduced sampling techniques; one in 20 people were asked additional questions on the census form. Other innovations included a field test of the census in 1939. This was the first census in which every state (48) had a population greater than 100,000.


Census questions

The 1940 census collected the following information: [1]

In addition, a sample of individuals were asked additional questions covering age at first marriage, fertility, and other topics. Full documentation on the 1940 census, including census forms and a procedural history, is available from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series.

Data availability

1940 U.S. census poster 1940 US Census Poster.jpg
1940 U.S. census poster

Following completion of the census, the original enumeration sheets were microfilmed; after which the original sheets were destroyed. [2]

As required by Title 13 of the U.S. Code, access to personally identifiable information from census records was restricted for 72 years. [3] Non-personally identifiable information Microdata from the 1940 census is freely available through the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series. Also, aggregate data for small areas, together with electronic boundary files, can be downloaded from the National Historical Geographic Information System.

On April 2, 2012 [4] —72 years after the census was taken—microfilmed images of the 1940 census enumeration sheets were released to the public by the National Archives and Records Administration. [5] [6] The records are indexed only by enumeration district upon initial release; several organizations are compiling indices, in some cases through crowdsourcing. [7]

State rankings

RankStatePopulation as of
1940 census [8]
Population as of
1930 census
1Flag of New York.svg  New York 13,479,14212,588,066891,076 Increase2.svg7.1% Increase2.svg
2Flag of Pennsylvania.svg  Pennsylvania 9,900,1809,631,350268,830 Increase2.svg2.8% Increase2.svg
3Flag of Illinois (1915-1969).svg  Illinois 7,897,2417,630,654266,587 Increase2.svg3.5% Increase2.svg
4Flag of Ohio.svg  Ohio 6,907,6126,646,697260,915 Increase2.svg3.9% Increase2.svg
5Flag of California.svg  California 6,907,3875,677,2511,230,136 Increase2.svg21.7% Increase2.svg
6Flag of Texas.svg  Texas 6,414,8245,824,715590,109 Increase2.svg10.1% Increase2.svg
7Flag of Michigan.svg  Michigan 5,256,1064,842,325413,781 Increase2.svg8.5% Increase2.svg
8Flag of Massachusetts.svg  Massachusetts 4,316,7214,249,61467,107 Increase2.svg1.6% Increase2.svg
9Flag of New Jersey.svg  New Jersey 4,160,1654,041,334118,831 Increase2.svg2.9% Increase2.svg
10Flag of Missouri.svg  Missouri 3,784,6643,629,367155,297 Increase2.svg4.3% Increase2.svg
11Flag of North Carolina (1885-1991).svg  North Carolina 3,571,6233,170,276401,347 Increase2.svg12.7% Increase2.svg
12Flag of Indiana.svg  Indiana 3,427,7963,238,503189,293 Increase2.svg5.8% Increase2.svg
13Flag of Wisconsin (1913-1981).svg  Wisconsin 3,137,5872,939,006198,581 Increase2.svg6.8% Increase2.svg
14Flag of the State of Georgia (1920-1956).svg  Georgia 3,123,7232,908,506215,217 Increase2.svg7.4% Increase2.svg
15Flag of Tennessee.svg  Tennessee 2,915,8412,616,556299,285 Increase2.svg11.4% Increase2.svg
16Flag of Kentucky.svg  Kentucky 2,845,6272,614,589231,038 Increase2.svg8.8% Increase2.svg
17Flag of Alabama.svg  Alabama 2,832,9612,646,248186,713 Increase2.svg7.1% Increase2.svg
18Flag of Minnesota (1893-1957).svg  Minnesota 2,792,3002,563,953228,347 Increase2.svg8.9% Increase2.svg
19Flag of Virginia.svg  Virginia 2,677,7732,421,851255,922 Increase2.svg10.6% Increase2.svg
20Flag of Iowa.svg  Iowa 2,538,2682,470,93967,329 Increase2.svg2.7% Increase2.svg
21Flag of Louisiana.svg  Louisiana 2,363,5162,101,593261,923 Increase2.svg12.5% Increase2.svg
22Flag of Oklahoma (1925-1941).svg  Oklahoma 2,336,4342,396,040−59,606 Decrease2.svg−2.5% Decrease2.svg
23Flag of Mississippi (1894-1996).png  Mississippi 2,183,7962,009,821173,975 Increase2.svg8.7% Increase2.svg
24Flag of Arkansas.svg  Arkansas 1,949,3871,854,48294,905 Increase2.svg5.1% Increase2.svg
25Flag of West Virginia.svg  West Virginia 1,901,9741,729,205172,769 Increase2.svg10.0% Increase2.svg
26Flag of South Carolina.svg  South Carolina 1,899,8041,738,765161,039 Increase2.svg9.3% Increase2.svg
27Flag of Florida (1900-1985).svg  Florida 1,897,4141,468,211429,203 Increase2.svg29.2% Increase2.svg
28Flag of Maryland.svg  Maryland 1,821,2441,631,526189,718 Increase2.svg11.6% Increase2.svg
29Flag of Kansas (1927-1961).svg  Kansas 1,801,0281,880,999−79,971 Decrease2.svg−4.3% Decrease2.svg
30Flag of Washington (1923-1967).png  Washington 1,736,1911,563,396172,795 Increase2.svg11.1% Increase2.svg
31Flag of Connecticut.svg  Connecticut 1,709,2421,606,903102,339 Increase2.svg6.4% Increase2.svg
32Flag of Nebraska.svg  Nebraska 1,315,8341,377,963−62,129 Decrease2.svg−4.5% Decrease2.svg
33Flag of Colorado (1911-1964).svg  Colorado 1,123,2961,035,79187,505 Increase2.svg8.4% Increase2.svg
34Flag of Oregon.svg  Oregon 1,089,684953,786135,898 Increase2.svg14.2% Increase2.svg
35Flag of Maine.svg  Maine 847,226797,42349,803 Increase2.svg6.2% Increase2.svg
36Flag of Rhode Island.svg  Rhode Island 713,346687,49725,849 Increase2.svg3.8% Increase2.svg
Flag of Washington, D.C..svg  District of Columbia 663,091486,869176,222 Increase2.svg36.2% Increase2.svg
37Flag of South Dakota (1909-1963).svg  South Dakota 642,961692,849−49,888 Decrease2.svg−7.2% Decrease2.svg
38Flag of North Dakota.svg  North Dakota 641,935680,845−38,910 Decrease2.svg−5.7% Decrease2.svg
39Flag of Montana (1905-1981).svg  Montana 559,456537,60621,850 Increase2.svg4.1% Increase2.svg
40Flag of Utah (1913-2011).svg  Utah 550,310507,84742,463 Increase2.svg8.4% Increase2.svg
41Flag of New Mexico.svg  New Mexico 531,818423,317108,501 Increase2.svg25.6% Increase2.svg
42Flag of Idaho.svg  Idaho 524,873445,03279,841 Increase2.svg17.9% Increase2.svg
43Flag of Arizona.svg  Arizona 499,261435,57363,688 Increase2.svg14.6% Increase2.svg
44Flag of New Hampshire.svg  New Hampshire 491,524465,29326,231 Increase2.svg5.6% Increase2.svg
Flag of Hawaii.svg  Hawaii 422,770368,30054,470 Increase2.svg14.8% Increase2.svg
45Flag of Vermont.svg  Vermont 359,231359,611−380 Decrease2.svg−0.1% Decrease2.svg
46Flag of Delaware.svg  Delaware 266,505238,38028,125 Increase2.svg11.8% Increase2.svg
47Flag of Wyoming.svg  Wyoming 250,742225,56525,177 Increase2.svg11.2% Increase2.svg
48Flag of Nevada.svg  Nevada 110,24791,05819,189 Increase2.svg21.1% Increase2.svg
Flag of Alaska.svg  Alaska 72,52459,27813,246 Increase2.svg22.3% Increase2.svg
Flag of the United States.svg  United States 132,165,129123,202,6608,962,469 Increase2.svg7.3% Increase2.svg

City rankings

RankCityStatePopulation [9] Region (2016) [10]
01 New York New York 7,454,995 Northeast
02 Chicago Illinois 3,396,808 Midwest
03 Philadelphia Pennsylvania 1,931,334 Northeast
04 Detroit Michigan 1,623,452 Midwest
05 Los Angeles California 1,504,277 West
06 Cleveland Ohio 878,336 Midwest
07 Baltimore Maryland 859,100 South
08 St. Louis Missouri 816,048 Midwest
09 Boston Massachusetts 770,816 Northeast
10 Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 671,659 Northeast
11 Washington District of Columbia 663,091 South
12 San Francisco California 634,536 West
13 Milwaukee Wisconsin 587,472 Midwest
14 Buffalo New York 575,901 Northeast
15 New Orleans Louisiana 494,537 South
16 Minneapolis Minnesota 492,370 Midwest
17 Cincinnati Ohio 455,610 Midwest
18 Newark New Jersey 429,760 Northeast
19 Kansas City Missouri 399,178 Midwest
20 Indianapolis Indiana 386,972 Midwest
21 Houston Texas 384,514 South
22 Seattle Washington 368,302 West
23 Rochester New York 324,975 Northeast
24 Denver Colorado 322,412 West
25 Louisville Kentucky 319,077 South
26 Columbus Ohio 306,087 Midwest
27 Portland Oregon 305,394 West
28 Atlanta Georgia 302,288 South
29 Oakland California 302,163 West
30 Jersey City New Jersey 301,173 Northeast
31 Dallas Texas 294,734 South
32 Memphis Tennessee 292,942 South
33 Saint Paul Minnesota 287,736 Midwest
34 Toledo Ohio 282,349 Midwest
35 Birmingham Alabama 267,583 South
36 San Antonio Texas 253,854 South
37 Providence Rhode Island 253,504 Northeast
38 Akron Ohio 244,791 Midwest
39 Omaha Nebraska 223,844 Midwest
40 Dayton Ohio 210,718 Midwest
41 Syracuse New York 205,967 Northeast
42 Oklahoma City Oklahoma 204,424 South
43 San Diego California 203,341 West
44 Worcester Massachusetts 193,694 Northeast
45 Richmond Virginia 193,042 South
46 Fort Worth Texas 177,662 South
47 Jacksonville Florida 173,065 South
48 Miami Florida 172,172 South
49 Youngstown Ohio 167,720 Midwest
50 Nashville Tennessee 167,402 South
51 Hartford Connecticut 166,267 Northeast
52 Grand Rapids Michigan 164,292 Midwest
53 Long Beach California 164,271 West
54 New Haven Connecticut 160,605 Northeast
55 Des Moines Iowa 159,819 Midwest
56 Flint Michigan 151,543 Midwest
57 Salt Lake City Utah 149,934 West
58 Springfield Massachusetts 149,554 Northeast
59 Bridgeport Connecticut 147,121 Northeast
60 Norfolk Virginia 144,332 South
61 Yonkers New York 142,598 Northeast
62 Tulsa Oklahoma 142,157 South
63 Scranton Pennsylvania 140,404 Northeast
64 Paterson New Jersey 139,656 Northeast
65 Albany New York 130,577 Northeast
66 Chattanooga Tennessee 128,163 South
67 Trenton New Jersey 124,697 Northeast
68 Spokane Washington 122,001 West
69 Kansas City Kansas 121,458 Midwest
70 Fort Wayne Indiana 118,410 Midwest
71 Camden New Jersey 117,536 Northeast
72 Erie Pennsylvania 116,955 Northeast
73 Fall River Massachusetts 115,428 Northeast
74 Wichita Kansas 114,966 Midwest
75 Wilmington Delaware 112,504 South
76 Gary Indiana 111,719 Midwest
77 Knoxville Tennessee 111,580 South
78 Cambridge Massachusetts 110,879 Northeast
79 Reading Pennsylvania 110,568 Northeast
80 New Bedford Massachusetts 110,341 Northeast
81 Elizabeth New Jersey 109,912 Northeast
82 Tacoma Washington 109,408 West
83 Canton Ohio 108,401 Midwest
84 Tampa Florida 108,391 South
85 Sacramento California 105,958 West
86 Peoria Illinois 105,087 Midwest
87 Somerville Massachusetts 102,177 Northeast
88 Lowell Massachusetts 101,389 Northeast
89 South Bend Indiana 101,268 Midwest
90 Duluth Minnesota 101,065 Midwest
91 Charlotte North Carolina 100,899 South
92 Utica New York 100,518 Northeast
93 Waterbury Connecticut 99,314 Northeast
94 Shreveport Louisiana 98,167 South
95 Lynn Massachusetts 98,123 Northeast
96 Evansville Indiana 97,062 Midwest
97 Allentown Pennsylvania 96,904 Northeast
98 El Paso Texas 96,810 South
99 Savannah Georgia 95,996 South
100 Little Rock Arkansas 88,039 South

Use for Japanese American internment

During World War II, the Census Bureau responded to numerous information requests from US government agencies, including the US Army and the US Secret Service, to facilitate the internment of Japanese Americans. In his report of the operation, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. John L. DeWitt wrote that "The most important single source of information prior to the evacuation was the 1940 Census of Population." [11] [12] [13]

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  1. "Library Bibliography Bulletin 88, New York State Census Records, 1790–1925". New York State Library. October 1981. p. 45 (p. 51 of PDF). Retrieved December 15, 2008.
  2. The Ancestry Insider (May 16, 2012). "1940 Census Update for 16 May 2012: Bad News". www.ancestryinsider.blogspot.com. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
  3. "Historical Background". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 12, 2009. Retrieved July 2, 2009.
  4. "1940 Census". Archived from the original on January 3, 2007. Retrieved November 26, 2006.
  5. Weinstein, Allen (April 2008). "Access to genealogy data at NARA grows" (PDF). NARA Staff Bulletin. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved July 2, 2009.
  6. Weinstein, Allen (Summer 2008). "Finding Out Who You Are: First Stop, National Archives". Prologue magazine, vol. 40, no. 2. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved July 2, 2009.
  7. Daley, Bill (March 27, 2012). "Unlocking a new door to the 1940s – 1940 census details to be released to public". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
  8. https://www.census.gov/library/publications/1942/dec/population-vol-1.html
  9. Population of the 100 Largest Cities and Other Urban Places in the United States: 1790 to 1990, U.S. Census Bureau, 1998
  10. "Regions and Divisions". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on December 3, 2016. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
  11. Japanese evacuation from the West coast, 1942 : final report, by De Witt, J. L. (John Lesesne), b. 1880; United States. Army. Western Defense Command
  12. Confirmed: The U.S. Census Bureau Gave Up Names of Japanese-Americans in WW II
  13. Some Japanese-Americans Wrongfully Imprisoned During WWII Oppose Census Question