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1940 U.S. Census: 50 States, 134 Million Names, 1 Index

Today is all about numbers. The first is 100, as in 100 percent of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census is now indexed. That means all 50 states are available to search to your heart’s content. Our indexing came up with 134,395,545 people counted. Most reports on the 1940 census give the U.S. population as 132 million and change, so you may be wondering where the extra 2 million people came from.

Two words: Puerto Rico. OK, and Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Panama Canal Zone. They were all included in the 1940 U.S. census and add another 2.1 million or so records to the final count.

  The Oldest American(s) We came up with a tie for the oldest person in the census: Mary Dilworth of Oxford, Mississippi,  

  and Cándido Vega Y Torres of Guayama, Puerto Rico, both listed their ages as 119.  

  We identified 35,646,274 heads of household, for an average household size of 3.7 people. The average age of the respondent who talked with the enumerator was 43.   Where Did They All Come From? It’s probably not difficult to guess the number one state reported as birthplace on the census, but a couple of the other nine might surprise you. Here they are in order:

  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Illinois
  • Ohio
  • Texas
  • Missouri
  • Michigan
  • North Carolina
  • Georgia

 

Amongst foreign-born folks, the top five reported birth countries were

  • Italy
  • Germany
  • Russia
  • Poland
  • England  

 

So, What’s Your Name? We can also tell you the top 10 male and female names on the 1940 census: John William James Robert Joseph George Charles Frank Edward Richard   Mary Anna Helen Margaret Elizabeth Dorothy Ruth Marie Rose Alice   If you need proof, just stroll down this street in Butler, PA:  

 

The top five surnames in the 1940 census were

  • Smith
  • Johnson
  • Brown
  • Williams
  • Jones.  

Who Do You Want to Find? But the most important number in the 1940 U.S. Census might be 1. That one date you’ve been waiting to find. That one relative you hadn’t been able to locate until now. That one discovery that opens up a dozen more. One more question, one more record, one last look… So dig in and enjoy. After all, it’s 10 years before we get another one.

Kris Williams Discusses the Importance of the 1940 U.S. Census