Frequently Asked Questions about the 1940 Census
Q. When will the 1940 census be available to the public?
A. The 1940 census population schedules has been available for research since April 2, 2012.
Q. Where will I be able to research the 1940 Census?
A. The National Archives and Records Administration provides free online access to the 1940 census at 1940census.archives.gov. Researchers may search the 1940 census using NARA's public access computers at any NARA archival location or using any other computer connected to the internet.
Q. Is there a fee to search or download from the 1940 census web site?
A. No. The 1940 census web site is free. Users can download the results of their searches.
Q. Is there a name index to the 1940 census?
A. No. A name index does not yet exist for the 1940 census. However, Ancestry.com and FamilySearch are currently both working on indexing projects.
Q. If there is no name index, how can I locate people in the census?
A. You can locate people by identifying the enumeration district in which they lived in 1940 and then browsing the census population schedules for that enumeration district. The National Archives has placed copies of the enumeration district maps and descriptions in the National Archives Catalog. For more information go to How to Start Your 1940 Census Research
Q. How can I locate someone if I don't know where he or she lived?
A. There are other sources that may provide addresses from around 1940. For more information go to How to Start Your 1940 Census Research.
Q. What questions were asked on the 1940 census?
A. A list of questions, including those on the supplemental schedules, is on our web site at Questions Asked on the 1940 Census.
Q. I heard that there were supplemental questions asked on the 1940 census. Will I find information about my family in the supplemental questions?
A. The supplemental questions were asked for the people listed on two lines on each page of the census schedules (about a five percent sample of the census). The supplemental schedule asks the place of birth of the person's father and mother; language spoken in earliest childhood home; if the person was a veteran; if the person was a child whose father was a veteran; did the veteran serve in a specific war or in peacetime military service; for persons 14 years old or older, does the person have a Social Security number, were deductions for Federal Old Age Insurance or Railroad Retirement made in 1939; the person's usual occupation, not just what they were doing the week of March 24-30, 1940; and for all women who are or have been married, has this woman been married more than once, age at first marriage, and number of children born.
Q. Where may I find a blank copy of the 1940 census population schedule form?
A. We have blank forms available online at 1940 Census Forms.
Q. What do the codes used on the 1940 census mean?
A. There are 10 separate codes on the census. The Bureau of the Census entered the codes at their headquarters after the enumerator shipped the census schedules to Washington, DC. A complete list of occupational and industrial codes is at Occupation and Industry Classifications
Q. How may do I request a certified copy of a page in the 1940 census?
A. The National Archives will certify copies of pages in the 1940 census. Please visit the National Archives or send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org. The cost to receive a certified copy by mail will be $30.00 ($15.00 for the mail order and $15.00 for the certification).
Q. Is it possible to purchase a copy of the entire 1940 census or of a particular state?
A. Yes. The National Archives Trust Fund is selling copies of the entire 1940 census as well as copies of individual states in both digital and microfilm format. For more information please visit their web site at the National Archives Store.
Q. Can I purchase a copy of an entire county or enumeration district from the 1940 census?
A. No. We are only selling either the entire census or individual states. However you can go to the 1940 census web site and download all the images for a particular county or enumeration district for free.
If you have a question that hasn't been answered here, please email us at 1940Census@nara.gov.