Census of Population, 1940 [United States]: Public Use Microdata Sample (ICPSR 8236)

Published: Jan 12, 2006

Principal Investigator(s):
United States Department of Commerce. Bureau of the Census


Version V1

The 1940 Census Public Use Microdata Sample Project was assembled through a collaborative effort between the United States Bureau of the Census and the Center for Demography and Ecology at the University of Wisconsin. The collection contains a stratified 1-percent sample of households, with separate records for each household, for each "sample line" respondent, and for each person in the household. These records were encoded from microfilm copies of original handwritten enumeration schedules from the 1940 Census of Population. Geographic identification of the location of the sampled households includes Census regions and divisions, states (except Alaska and Hawaii), standard metropolitan areas (SMAs), and state economic areas (SEAs). Accompanying the data collection is a codebook that includes an abstract, descriptions of sample design, processing procedures and file structure, a data dictionary (record layout), category code lists, and a glossary. Also included is a procedural history of the 1940 Census. Each of the 20 subsamples contains three record types: household, sample line, and person. Household variables describe the location and condition of the household. The sample line records contain variables describing demographic characteristics such as nativity, marital status, number of children, veteran status, wage deductions for Social Security, and occupation. Person records also contain variables describing demographic characteristics including nativity, marital status, family membership, education, employment status, income, and occupation.

United States Department of Commerce. Bureau of the Census. Census of Population, 1940 [United States]: Public Use Microdata Sample. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2006-01-12. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR08236.v1

Export Citation:

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National Science Foundation (SES-7704135)


1978 -- 1983

The data files are arranged by subsample, with each subsample stored as a separate physical file of information. Within each of the 20 subsamples, records are sequenced by state. Extracting all of the records for one state entails reading through all of the 20 physical files and selecting that state's records from each of the 20 subsamples.

The collection consists of a total of 2,133,800 hierarchical records: 391,034 household records, 391,034 sample line records, and 1,351,732 person records.

The 1940 Census had both a complete count and a sample component. Individuals selected for the sample component were asked an additional set of questions. Only households with persons who answered the additional questions were included in the public use microdata sample. The collection also contains records of group quarters members who were also on the Census sample line. The 20 subsamples were selected randomly.

All people and households within the United States recorded on the 1940 Census.

microfilm copies of original handwritten enumeration schedules from the 1940 Census

census/enumeration data



2006-01-12 All files were removed from dataset 21 and flagged as study-level files, so that they will accompany all downloads.


  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions.

  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented.
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