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TX Rural School Children, San Augustine
County, Texas

1943

Rural farm residents had a median of 7.7 years of school in 1940, a full grade less than their urban counterpart.

Library of Congress

IL Working on the Cylinder of
a Locomotive, Chicago, Illinois

1942

The 1940s saw
high levels of
railway ridership,
as soldiers
headed off to war.

Library of Congress

PA Children of the Mill, Johnstown, Pennsylvania

1940

Thanks to the busy mills, most steel towns in the state had very low vacancy rates —only 1% of Johnstown’s housing units were empty in 1940.

Image courtesy of Indiana University Archives. Charles W. Cushman collection.

NM Cutting pies and cakes at the barbecue dinner at the Pie Town, New Mexico Fair

1940

The population of the Land of Enchantment in 1940 was 531,818.

Library of Congress

WA Car in Bonneville, Washington

1938

The cost of a gallon of gas was around 10 cents in 1938.

Image courtesy of Indiana University Archives. Charles W. Cushman collection.

NY Union Square, 14th Street and Broadway, Manhattan

1936

Spending on advertising, including outdoor billboards, in the U.S. was about $2.1 billion in 1940.

Library of Congress

UT Servicing a floodlight that turns night into day at the big construction operations for a new steel plant

1942

A vast amount of steel was needed during World War II for the expansion of the U.S. defense.

Library of Congress

ID A slice of life on Main Street, Cascade, Idaho

1941

The average car in 1940 cost under $1,000.

Library of Congress

WI Guide at Little Norway, Blue Mounds, Wisconsin

1942

There were 100.7 males per 100 females in the U.S. in 1940.

Library of Congress

IN “Top Women” at U.S. Steel, Gary, Indiana

1945

In 1940, women made 62 cents for each dollar a man earned.

U.S. National Archives

TN Crane Operator at TVA’s Douglas Dam, Tennessee

1942

Construction of the Douglas Dam took just 12 months and 17 days, a world’s record when it was completed in February 1942.

Library of Congress

KY Mountaineers and Farmers Trading Mules and Horses on Jockey Street, Campton, Kentucky

1940

By 1945, tractor power overtook horse power on American farms.

Library of Congress

NY A Typical Day on the Lower East Side

1941

The 1940 Census included the first census of housing, with questions about radios, flush toilets, lighting equipment, running water and more.

Image courtesy of Indiana University Archives. Charles W. Cushman collection.

Search for your family for FREE in our complete 1940 U.S. Census index.

1940 Census. Now fully indexed.

Search every name, state and territory
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On April 1, 1940 history was made as the 16th U.S. Census was taken in America and its territories. And today, each and every one of the 134 million records is ready for you to explore here on Ancestry.com. Simply search for your family member by name and you could find records that include details like address, age, occupation, income, education level and more. Almost 9 out of 10 Americans has a relative in the 1940 Census. See who you can discover, right now.

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What was happening in the U.S. in 1940?

From sea to shining sea—and beyond—we’ve found interesting and surprising facts
about the states and territories from the 1940s era. Click on a location to learn more.

Look who we found in 1940.

Actors, icons, captains of industry and more, the 1940 census is filled with some of the biggest names of the day. See who we discovered.

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