U.S. Census of 1940

It’s now almost two weeks since the census date (4-1-40).

The Sixteenth United States Census determined the resident population of the United States to be 132,164,569, an increase of 7.3% over the 1930 population of 123,202,624 people. This was the first census in which every state in the continental United States had a population greater than 100,000.

The census asked the following:

  • address
  • home owned or rented
    • if owned, value
    • if rented, monthly rent
  • whether on a farm
  • name
  • relationship to head of household
  • sex
  • race
  • age
  • marital status
  • school attendance
  • educational attainment
  • birthplace
  • if foreign born, citizenship
  • location of residence five years ago and whether on a farm
  • employment status
  • if at work, whether in private or non-emergency government work, or in public emergency work (WPA, CCC, NYA, etc.)
    • if in private or non-emergency government work, hours worked in week
    • if seeking work or on public emergency work, duration of unemployment
  • occupation, industry and class of worker
  • weeks worked last year
  • wage and salary income last year

State population results

Rank State Population Region
1 New York 13,479,142 North East
2 Pennsylvania 9,900,180 North East
3 Illinois 7,897,241 Midwest
4 Ohio 6,907,612 Midwest
5 California 6,907,387 West
6 Texas 6,414,824 South
7 Michigan 5,256,106 Midwest
8 Massachusetts 4,316,721 North East
9 New Jersey 4,160,165 North East
10 Missouri 3,784,664 Midwest
11 North Carolina 3,571,623 South
12 Indiana 3,427,796 Midwest
13 Wisconsin 3,137,587 Midwest
14 Georgia 3,123,723 South
15 Tennessee 2,915,841 South
16 Kentucky 2,845,627 South
17 Alabama 2,832,961 South
18 Minnesota 2,792,300 Midwest
19 Virginia 2,677,773 South
20 Iowa 2,538,268 Midwest
21 Louisiana 2,363,880 South
22 Oklahoma 2,336,434 South
23 Mississippi 2,183,796 South
24 West Virginia 1,961,974 South
25 Arkansas 1,949,387 South
26 South Carolina 1,899,804 South
27 Florida 1,897,414 South
28 Maryland 1,821,244 South
29 Kansas 1,801,028 Midwest
30 Washington 1,736,191 West
31 Connecticut 1,709,242 North East
32 Nebraska 1,315,834 Midwest
33 Colorado 1,123,296 West
34 Oregon 1,089,684 West
35 Maine 847,226 North East
36 Rhode Island 713,346 North East
x District of Columbia 663,091 South
37 South Dakota 642,961 Midwest
38 North Dakota 641,935 Midwest
39 Montana 559,456 West
40 Utah 550,310 West
41 New Mexico 531,818 West
42 Idaho 524,873 West
43 Arizona 499,261 West
44 New Hampshire 491,524 North East
x Hawaii 423,330 West
45 Vermont 359,231 North East
46 Delaware 266,505 South
47 Wyoming 250,742 West
48 Nevada 110,247 West
x Alaska 72,524 West
Total 131,012,722

City population results

Rank City State Population Region
01 New York New York 7,454,995 Northeast
02 Chicago Illinois 3,396,808 Midwest
03 Philadelphia Pennsylvania 1,931,334 Northeast
04 Detroit Michigan 1,623,452 Midwest
05 Los Angeles California 1,504,277 West
06 Cleveland Ohio 878,336 Midwest
07 Baltimore Maryland 859,100 South
08 St. Louis Missouri 816,048 Midwest
09 Boston Massachusetts 770,816 Northeast
10 Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 671,659 Northeast
11 Washington District of Columbia 663,091 South
12 San Francisco California 634,536 West
13 Milwaukee Wisconsin 587,472 Midwest
14 Buffalo New York 575,901 Northeast
15 New Orleans Louisiana 494,537 South
16 Minneapolis Minnesota 492,370 Midwest
17 Cincinnati Ohio 455,610 Midwest
18 Newark New Jersey 429,760 Northeast
19 Kansas City Missouri 399,178 Midwest
20 Indianapolis Indiana 386,972 Midwest
21 Houston Texas 384,514 South
22 Seattle Washington 368,302 West
23 Rochester New York 324,975 Northeast
24 Denver Colorado 322,412 West
25 Louisville Kentucky 319,077 South
26 Columbus Ohio 306,087 Midwest
27 Portland Oregon 305,394 West
28 Atlanta Georgia 302,288 South
29 Oakland California 302,163 West
30 Jersey City New Jersey 301,173 Northeast
31 Dallas Texas 294,734 South
32 Memphis Tennessee 292,942 South
33 Saint Paul Minnesota 287,736 Midwest
34 Toledo Ohio 282,349 Midwest
35 Birmingham Alabama 267,583 South
36 San Antonio Texas 253,854 South
37 Providence Rhode Island 253,504 Northeast
38 Akron Ohio 244,791 Midwest
39 Omaha Nebraska 223,844 Midwest
40 Dayton Ohio 210,718 Midwest
41 Syracuse New York 205,967 Northeast
42 Oklahoma City Oklahoma 204,424 South
43 San Diego California 203,341 West
44 Worcester Massachusetts 193,694 Northeast
45 Richmond Virginia 193,042 South
46 Fort Worth Texas 177,662 South
47 Jacksonville Florida 173,065 South
48 Miami Florida 172,172 South
49 Youngstown Ohio 167,720 Midwest
50 Nashville Tennessee 167,402 South
51 Hartford Connecticut 166,267 Northeast
52 Grand Rapids Michigan 164,292 Midwest
53 Long Beach California 164,271 West
54 New Haven Connecticut 160,605 Northeast
55 Des Moines Iowa 159,819 Midwest
56 Flint Michigan 151,543 Midwest
57 Salt Lake City Utah 149,934 West
58 Springfield Massachusetts 149,554 Northeast
59 Bridgeport Connecticut 147,121 Northeast
60 Norfolk Virginia 144,332 South
61 Yonkers New York 142,598 Northeast
62 Tulsa Oklahoma 142,157 South
63 Scranton Pennsylvania 140,404 Northeast
64 Paterson New Jersey 139,656 Northeast
65 Albany New York 130,577 Northeast
66 Chattanooga Tennessee 128,163 South
67 Trenton New Jersey 124,697 Northeast
68 Spokane Washington 122,001 West
69 Kansas City Kansas 121,458 Midwest
70 Fort Wayne Indiana 118,410 Midwest
71 Camden New Jersey 117,536 Northeast
72 Erie Pennsylvania 116,955 Northeast
73 Fall River Massachusetts 115,428 Northeast
74 Wichita Kansas 114,966 Midwest
75 Wilmington Delaware 112,504 South
76 Gary Indiana 111,719 Midwest
77 Knoxville Tennessee 111,580 South
78 Cambridge Massachusetts 110,879 Northeast
79 Reading Pennsylvania 110,568 Northeast
80 New Bedford Massachusetts 110,341 Northeast
81 Elizabeth New Jersey 109,912 Northeast
82 Tacoma Washington 109,408 West
83 Canton Ohio 108,401 Midwest
84 Tampa Florida 108,391 South
85 Sacramento California 105,958 West
86 Peoria Illinois 105,087 Midwest
87 Somerville Massachusetts 102,177 Northeast
88 Lowell Massachusetts 101,389 Northeast
89 South Bend Indiana 101,268 Midwest
90 Duluth Minnesota 101,065 Midwest
91 Charlotte North Carolina 100,899 South
92 Utica New York 100,518 Northeast
93 Waterbury Connecticut 99,314 Northeast
94 Shreveport Louisiana 98,167 South
95 Lynn Massachusetts 98,123 Northeast
96 Evansville Indiana 97,062 Midwest
97 Allentown Pennsylvania 96,904 Northeast
98 El Paso Texas 96,810 South
99 Savannah Georgia 95,996 South
100 Little Rock Arkansas 88,039 South

You can also check out the census website:


Reading Eagle (September 24, 1940)


Falling Birth Rate and Immigration Barriers Slow U.S. Growth

Washington, Sept. 24 (UP) –

The population of the continental United States reached a new high of 131,409,881 in the 1940 Census, but a declining birth rate and immigration restrictions during the past decade slowed the rate of America’s growth to the lowest point in history.

Complete census bureau figures, made public for the first time showed that the nation registered a gain of 8,634,835 over the last previous census in 1930 when 122,775,046 persons were counted. The increase was considering less than the 10,000,000 which had been expected.

The new count, with figures as of April 1 of this year, showed a rate of growth amounting only to 7% – less than half of the percentage gain registered in any previous 10-year period. The 1930 totals showed a 16.1% increase over the 1920 figure of 105,710,620.

Nationwide Survey

The new figures were based on a nationwide survey which got underway on April 2, 1940, and lasted throughout the month. It was the most ambitious count ever undertaken and included widely disputed questions on home life and conditions never before asked.

Officials blamed the slowing expansion of population on a decline in the nation’s birth rate and more stringent restrictions on the entry of foreigners. They predicted that the population of the United States would become static at 150,000,000 persons between 1970 and 1980.

The outstanding feature of the 1930s was the depopulation of the so-called “dust bowl.” Migrations from that region cost the states of North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma an estimated 5% of their 1930 populations. The only other state to register a decrease was Vermont, where worn-out farmlands and a falling off in manufactures pushed the total down 0.6%

The decrease in those six states also set a new record, since in no previous decade have more than three states been placed in the minus column.

California Takes Lead

The remainder of the 48 states registered gains, with California taking the lead with an increase of 1,196,437. New York was second with an increase of 791,556. The California climate, together with its attraction for “dust bowl” refugees, accounted for a large proportion of its gain, officials said, while New York remained the center for the settlement of immigrants.

On a percentage basis, the 36.2% gain registered in Washington, D.C., topped any of the states. Largely because of the influx of government workers under the New Deal, the population totals for the nation’s capital jumped from 486,869 to 663,153.

Florida led the percentage list of states, climbing 27.9% – from 1,468,211 in 1930 to 1,877,791 this year. New Mexico followed with a gain of 24.9%, while California came third with a 21.1% rise.

One state – Montana – reserved the trend of the country as a whole, showing a 3.1% increase as compared with a slight decline for the preceding decade. Only 11 states – Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, South Carolina and Virginia – grew more rapidly in the past 10 years than in the 1920s.

Seven states, excluding California and New York, increased more than 250,000 during the decade. They were Texas, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Louisiana.

Texas Displaced

The ranking of states by population remained remarkably steady, officials said. In the first 10, the only change was the displacement of Texas from fifth place by California. The greatest shift occurred in the placement of Kansas, which dropped five places, from 24th to 29th. Florida gained

The lowest ranking state, as in previous years, was Nevada, which passed the 100,000 mark for the first time – climbing from 91,058 to 110,014.

A survey of geographical divisions revealed that while the 21 states in the northern group, comprising the New England, Middle Atlantic, East North Central and West North Central divisions, had almost 60% of the total 1930 population, they accounted for only about one-third of the total increase for the decade.

The 17 Southern states accounted for approximately 44% of the nation’s gain, although they had only 31% of its 1930 population. States in the mountain and Pacific divisions, which had only 10% of the total population in 1930, took 22% of the total rise this year.

The rate of increase in the industrial states, officials said, was generally lower than the national average, even when the “dust bowl” states are taken into consideration.

Higher Birth Rate

The relatively more rapid rate of growth of the Southern states, it was said, can be explained partially by the generally higher rate in those regions. Another factor is that improved employment conditions have led a larger percentage of the people to remain within the borders of the Southern states, in comparison with the trend in previous decades.

While the shifts in population undoubtedly will have some effect on Congressional representation from various states, census bureau officials said that the changes would be smaller than it was in 1930, when 21 seats were reapportioned. They said that California is the only state which is absolutely sure to increase its Congressional representation next year.

Whatever changes are necessary will be worked out by experts using a complicated mathematical formula and will be presented to Congress within one week after it meets for its first session in 1941. Congress must act on the proposed changes within 60 days, either accepting the experts’ determinations or proposing changes and systems of determination of its own.


Census Figures Reveal Midwest Also Will Lose in Congress

Washington, Sept. 24 (AP) –

The 1940 census figures indicated today that the South and Far West would gain eight seats in the House of Representatives at the expense of the Midwest and industrial East.

Unofficial computations made on the basis of preliminary figures showed that, under the existing formula, the reappointment due next spring may give two extra seats to California and one each to Arizona, Florida, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon and Tennessee.

The same figures indicated losses of one seat each for Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. These states either lost population or failed to gain as much as the others.

No official computations were available because the census experts who will have to certify the results are waiting for the final 1940 population figures on the states. At last count, they had about 125,000 transients to allocate to their home states. If these persons are spread fairly evenly among the states, there may be no change at all in the unofficial apportionment based on preliminary figures. If the transients should be bunched in certain “borderline” states, however, they may upset the calculations.

Electoral College Changes

But if preliminary computations stand up, they will form the basis upon which the House of Representatives will be elected in 1942 and they also will alter the electoral college voting in the presidential election of 1944.

The calculations were based on Congress’ previously announced intention of keeping the number of seats in the House at 435 – the number prevailing since the 1910 census. Legally, Congress could adopt a system of adding enough seats to satisfy the gaining states without taking any away from the indicated losers. This was done generally before 1910.

Under a recent measure, Congress has given itself 60 days to act on appointment after it receives formal notification from the President early next January on the results of the census. If nothing is done in that period, the clerk of the House will have the duty of proclaiming reapportionment according to the mathematical formula now in use.

Then the states will have to do their own redistricting to suit their new allotments.

The preliminary figures indicated that each state would be entitled to one seat for every 300,280 residents, except for the smaller states which are guaranteed one seat. Ten years ago, the ratio was one seat for 279,712 residents.


The Milwaukee Journal (October 20, 1940)

Washington, D.C. (AP) –

The census bureau estimated Saturday that the number of citizens of voting age in the 48 states is now 80,528,000, an increase of 5,391,000 since 1936 when 45,646,817 ballots were cast in the presidential election.

The gross population, 21 years of age and over, is 84,178,000, the bureau said. From this figure, it deducted 3,200,000 aliens and 450,000 District of Columbia residents to arrive at its total of potential voters. Aliens are not permitted to vote and there is no ballot in the District of Columbia, although many of its residents vote in states.

The bureau said that the numerical increase in persons 21 and over in the last 10 years was 11,234,376, compared with a total population rise of 8,634,635.

Declining birth rates and the prolongation of life through medical advances, the bureau said, are responsible for the greater increase in the number of persons above voting age.