The 1940 Census of Housing

This week everyone is talking about the 1940 Population Census which was released publicly for the first time by the National Archives on Monday. Even though that census hasn’t even been indexed yet genealogists everywhere are trying to find friends and family in it.

What you might not realize is that in 1940, along with the Population Census, there was a Census of Housing. The Census of Housing asked detailed questions of urban and rural home owners such as the year the home was built and whether there was a toilet or not. It even asked what type of company held their mortgages.

Even vacant properties were documented. Questions were asked to determine if the vacant properties were for rent or whether the owners were simply away.

This training video available on YouTube from the National Archives shows how information was collected and even shows the forms used providing a glimpse about the specific questions asked.

The 1940 Census of Housing from the US National Archives

Unfortunately, the 1940 Census of Housing was destroyed after the statistical information was extracted from it. You can view the statistical information online on the government census website. You’ll have to scroll about half way down the page to see the information which is provided in pdf links. Even though the statistical information doesn’t provide the granular detail that house historians need it is still very interesting none-the-less.  Take a peek and get a sense of what your town or state was like in 1940.

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