The 1940 Census – How Much Did America Change?

The National Archives have revealed the data that was registered during the 1940 census, thus enabling Americans to realize how much America changed in the past 72 years. The census was made on April 2, 1940 and was kept secret until today for privacy reasons.

It is not only the future, but also the past that seems to arouse people’s curiosity. As a result, the National Archives have decided to publish the “manuscript” of the census, so people can see what respondents answered 72 years ago. All the census schedules, maps and sociological minutiae have been transformed in 3.8 million digital images that will be available to the American citizens starting April 2.

The data is very important for historians who need this information to get a better picture of the society in the 1940s. For that, they will most likely look at the answers provided in relation to employment, income and material comforts. According to the declaration of the Census Bureau, the government decided to reveal the data of the census after 72 years because they thought this period would be longer than most life spans.

Based on the information that has been published so far, it appears that the population of America has tripled within this period of time. In 1940, there were 132 million people in the United States, whereas in 2010, the date of the most recent census, there were almost 309 million people. Back then, 90 percent people were white, 9.8 percent were African Americans and 0.4 percent declared other races. 70 years later, 72.4 percent people declared that they are white and 12.6 percent signed up as African American.

Even though the population of America is now much more educated than it used to be seven decades ago, there is still a big percentage of unemployment. 5 percent of the population had college degrees in 1940 as compared to 28 percent Americans who declared that they have a college degree in 2010. The median income has been subject to various modifications, as well. A family earned a median income of $956 in 1940; in 2010 the median income was calculated to $33,276.

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