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Countdown to the 1940 Census: North Carolina by the Numbers

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Until April 2, 2012, the 1940 Census is merely a picture of the United States in numerical format.  For instance, the population count was 132,164,569 for the country when the final count was written to be preserved for all time.  North Carolina ranked 11th in overall population as 3,571,623 people proudly proclaimed The Tar Heel State to be their home as of April 1, 1940.  It is probably no surprise that New York was the most populous state with 13,469,142 people living inside of its borders.

There were 1,772,990 males and 1,798,633 females in the state.

The 5 most populated counties were Guilford (153,916), Mecklenburg (151,826), Forsyth (126,475), Wake (109,544), and Buncombe (108,755).

The 5 least populated counties were Camden (5,440), Tyrrell (5,556), Dare (6,041), Clay (6,405), and Graham (6,418). 

Backs of homes in Hayti area of Durham, NC; photo taken by Jack Delano in May 1940, Library of Congress, American Memory.

471,863North Carolinianslived in a dwelling with a radio.

Of the 820,888 total dwelling units inNorth Carolina, 569,857 of them had no shower or bath tub and 316,506 of them had running water inside the dwelling.

If you’re interested in learning more about the 1940 Census data from a statistical point of view before you can get your hands on the actual, factual Census gems of people and places for your family history research, the following are excellent resources from the Government and Heritage Library collection:

Sixteenth Census of the United States: 1940, Population

Census descriptions of geographic subdivisions and enumeration districts, 1830-1950. 1940 vols. 82-84 [microform]

 Many of the statistics posted above came from the University of Virginia Historical Census Browser which allows users to examine Census data from 1790 – 1960 on a state and county level as well as from a variety of categories including education and literacy, agriculture, and economy, manufacturing, and employment.

 Wright State University also offers a detailed overview of the Census with links to other Census related websites.

Since 1878, the Census Bureau has served as the resource for statistical information about the people who live in the United Statesby publishing the Statistical Abstract of the United States.  Available online as well as in print at local libraries, the Statistical Abstract dissects the information collected during the decennial censuses as well as data collected in the off years. 

1940 Statistical Abstract

1941 Statistical Abstract

 2012 will be the last year that the Statistical Abstract will be published, but it will remain a vital resource for those who are interested in the social, political, and economic data of the United States.

On the first and third Mondays of the month our guest blogger,  Government and Heritage Library intern Carla Sarratt will be  counting down to the release of the 1940 Census data on Monday, April 2, 2012.

About the author

Formerly employed with the 2010 Census, Carla Sarratt is a Master of Library Science student at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina interning with the Government and Heritage Library.



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