1930 U.S. Census

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The United States Federal Census

This article is part of a series.
Overview of the U.S. Census
Finding and Reading U.S. Census Records
1790 U.S. Census
1800 U.S. Census
1810 U.S. Census
1820 U.S. Census
1830 U.S. Census
1840 U.S. Census
1850 U.S. Census
1860 U.S. Census
1870 U.S. Census
1880 U.S. Census
1890 U.S. Census
1900 U.S. Census
1910 U.S. Census
1920 U.S. Census
1930 U.S. Census
1940 U.S. Census
Census Indexes and Finding Aids
Using the Soundex with Census Records
Non-Population Schedules and Special Censuses
State and Local Censuses
Census Substitutes
African American Census Schedules
Reconstructed 1790 Census Schedules
Censuses of Native Americans
List of Useful Census References

This article originally appeared in "Census Records" by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Matthew Wright in The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy

The 1930 census was taken on April 1, 1930. The official census population count was 123,202,624.

Questions Asked in the 1930 Census

1930 census schedule from Hoboken, Hudson County, New Jersey, that lists fourteen-year-old Frank Sinatra.

The 1930 Census form called for the street, avenue, road, and house number; the number of dwelling house and family in order of visitation; the name of each person whose place of abode on April 1, 1930 was with this family; the relationship of this person to the head of the family; whether the home was owned or rented; the value of home, if owned, or monthly rental, if rented; whether the person owned a radio set; whether the family lived on a farm; each person's sex; color or race; age at last birthday; marital condition; and age at first marriage; whether he or she attended school or college any time since Sept. 1, 1929; whether he or she was able to read or write; his or her place of birth, and the place of birth for his or her father and mother; the language spoken at home before coming to the United States; the year of both his or her immigration into the United States and naturalization, if applicable; whether the person was able to speak English; his or her trade, profession, or particular kind of work done, and the industry of business with which he or she was involved, and his or her, class of worker; and whether the person was actually at work the day before the enumerator came. If not, the census includes this person's line number on unemployment schedule, and also asks whether the person was a veteran of the U.S. military or naval force, and if yes, during, what war or expedition. It also includes, if applicable, the number of the corresponding farm schedule (Note: The farm schedules have not survived).

Other Significant Facts about the 1930 Census

A WPA Soundex exists for the 1930 census for the following states only: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. The following counties were Soundexed for Kentucky: Bell, Floyd, Harlan, Kenton, Mehlenberg, Perry, and Pike. The following West Virginia counties were indexed: Fayette, Harrison, Kanawha, Logan, McDowell, Mercer, and Raleigh.

All of the Soundex indexes are in the traditional format, with the exception of Georgia, which is in Miracode. All of the Soundexed states, except for Georgia, list the institutions at the end of the publication. There appear to be no mixed codes for the 1930 census.

Research Tips for the 1930 Census

Since nearly everyone has some knowledge or access to knowledge of family names, relationships, and the family's state of residence in 1930, this census is the widely considered to be the best starting point for research in federal records. Working from known information about the most recent generations, an efficient researcher works backwards in time to discover family relationships and to determine where additional records may be found.

To effectively search the 1930 census, know as much about where the person lived as is possible.

The following finding aids will be available at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and at NARA's regional records services facilities.

  • Enumeration District Maps for the Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1930), 35 rolls.
  • Index to Selected City Streets and Enumeration Districts, 1930. (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1931), 11 rolls.
  • Descriptions of Census Enumeration Districts, 1830'1950. (National Archives Microfilm Publication T1224), rolls 61'90.

For additional information on the 1930 census, see the 1930 census website.

Note: To complement its collection of 1930 resources, the National Archives has also purchased copies of city directories for 1928'1932. For a complete list of which directories NARA has, see the 1930 website. These are not National Archives publications, but can be purchase from Primary Source Microfilm (an imprint of the Gale Group).

Comparison of Census Information, 1790-1940

Personal Info on Census 1790 1800 1810 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940
Name of family head only
Headcount by age, gender, ...
Standard census form
Names of all individuals
Profession or occupation
Place of birth
Attended school that year
Highest grade completed
Married that year
Read or write
Deaf, blind, insane, idiotic, ...
Real estate value
Personal estate value
Separate slave schedule
Father of foreign birth
Mother of foreign birth
Month of birth
Month of birth that year
Male citizen over 21 years
Male over 21 denied vote
Visitation number of dwelling
Visitation number of family
Street name in city
House number in city
Relationship to family head
Marital status
Month of marriage that year
No. of months unemployed
Father's birthplace sup
Mother's birthplace sup
Sickness on census day
Year of birth
No. of years present marriage
Mother how many children sup
Number of children living
Year of immigration to US
No. of years in US
Naturalization status
Months attended school

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