1940 Federal Population Census
Updated October 1, 2009
These short films were created by the US Census Bureau to train the 1940 census enumerators on their general duties and responsibilities.
This video gives an overview of the 1940 census and emphasizes the responsibility of all citizens to participate.
Runtime is 3 min. 19 secs.
Census of Population
This training video reviews the major questions relating to general population on the census schedule.
Runtime is 10 min. 26 secs.
The training films for Housing and Agriculture relate to two census schedules that were taken but were later destroyed. The original records for these schedules no longer exist but statistical summaries of the Population and Housing Reports can be found on the Bureau of Census website.
Census of Housing
This training video discusses how the census of housing will be used for the first time by the Census Bureau.
Runtime is 10 min 49 secs.
Census of Agriculture
This training video educates enumerators on the correct way to fill out the agriculture census.
Runtime is 10 min. 40 secs.
A general overview of the 1940 census as the "permanent inventory of the nation," this film emphasizes the responsibility of all citizens to participate. It reviews the three main parts of the census, including the population, agriculture, and housing schedules, and delves into the background of the census and the reasons behind the questions. The duties of the enumerators are also reviewed, highlighting the three major principles of accuracy, complete coverage, and confidential answers.
A dramatized review of the major questions relating to general population on the census schedule, this film demonstrates to enumerators how to accurately identify and enter the names of all members of a household, determine employment status, and identify categories of employment.
This film explains how the census of housing will be used for the first time by the Census Bureau to compile an "important social and economic inventory" of the nation's homes and other dwellings. It explains how to fill out the questions on the schedule, and explains the various types of homes to be described. The correct ways to report housing expenses are also covered, including heating, utilities, as well as market value of property and mortgage debt.
This training film uses dramatization to educate enumerators on the correct way to fill out the agricultural census, including how to recognize all types of general and specialized farms, report crop yields and failures, and enumerate livestock according to their age at the time of the census. Some dated farming methods are captured on film, including horse-powered field equipment.