1930 Census

Web Sites:

Reverend Smith enumerates navajo camp

Reverend Smith enumerates Navajo camp. (Courtesy of Census Bureau)

Press Kit:

For additional PRESS information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.
1930 Census FAQs

    What is the official census date?
    The official census date was April 1, 1930. The release date is April 1, 2002 based on the 72-year privacy restrictions on census records.

    Do the originals exist?
    No. After filming the census in 1949, the Bureau of the Census destroyed the originals.

    Are there any indexes?
    Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia are Soundexed in their entirety.

    The following Kentucky counties are indexed: Bell, Floyd, Harlan, Kenton, Muhlenberg, Perry, and Pike.

    The following West Virginia Counties are indexed: Fayette, Harrison, Kanawha, Logan, McDowell, Mercer, and Raleigh.

    If a state isn't Soundexed, how can I search the census?
    If you know where the person you are looking for lived, you may still be able to locate them on the census. There are several different search strategies you can use to find them.

    • The Census Microfilm Locator is an online searchable database at You can search by state, county, township, institution, or other place names. As long as the place or institution is included in the description of the enumeration districts, it can be found.

    • To aid researchers, the National Archives has purchased some microfilmed city directories for the years around 1930. These are not National Archives publications and can be neither purchased nor rented from NARA.

    • Microfilm publication T1224, Descriptions of Enumeration Districts, 1830-1950 (156 rolls). The geographic descriptions are arranged by state, then by county.

    • Microfilm publication M1930, Enumeration District Maps for the Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930 (36 rolls). These maps show the boundaries and the number of each enumeration district.

    • Microfilm publication M1931, Index to Selected City Streets and Enumeration Districts, 1930 Census (7 rolls). This series cross references street addresses with enumeration districts for more than 50 cities.

    Definitions of some of the terms used in the census:

    • Census: 1) a counting of the population; 2) the actual pages of the census schedules
    • Schedule: the pages that the enumerators filled out when taking the census
    • Enumeration: another word for taking the census
    • Enumeration district: abbreviated as ED, it is the area assigned to one enumerator in one census period; two to four weeks in 1930
    • Precinct: the limits of an officer's jurisdiction or an election district
    • Soundex: an indexing system based on the way a name is pronounced rather than how it is spelled

Questions Asked on the 1930 Census

    Place of abode

    1. Street, avenue, road, etc.

    2. House number

    3. Number of dwelling house in order of visitation

    4. Number of family in order of visitation


    5. Name of each person whose place of abode on April 1, 1930, was in this family. Enter surname first, then the given name, and middle initial, if any. Include every person living on April 1, 1930. Omit children born since April 1, 1930.


    6. Relationship of this person to the head of the family Home Data

    7. Home owned or rented

    8. Value of home, if owned, or monthly rental, if rented

    9. Radio set

    10. Does this family own a farm?

    Personal description

    11. Sex

    12. Color or race

    13. Age at last birthday

    14. Marital condition

    15. Age at first marriage


    16. Attended school or college any time since Sept. 1, 1929

    17. Whether able to read or write

    Place of birth

    Place of birth of each person enumerated and of his or her parents. If born in the United States, give State or Territory. If of foreign birth, give country in which birthplace is now situated. Distinguish Canada-French from Canada-English, and Irish Free State from Northern Ireland.

    18. Place of birth-person

    19. Place of birth-father

    20. Place of birth-mother

    Mother tongue (or native language) of foreign born

    21. Language spoken in home before coming to the United States Citizenship, etc.

    22. Year of immigration into the United States

    23. Naturalization

    24. Whether able to speak English

    Occupation & industry

    25. Trade, profession, or particular kind of work done

    26. Industry or business

    27. Class of worker


    Whether actually at work yesterday (or the last regular working day)

    28. Yes or no

    29. If not, line number on Unemployment schedule [These schedules no longer exist]


    Whether a veteran of U.S. Military or naval forces

    30. Yes or no

    31. What war or expedition? Farm schedule

    32. Number of farm schedule [These schedules no longer exist]

Behind the Scenes: Preserving the 1930 Census

    In the 1940's, shortly after the Census Bureau microfilmed the original records from the 1930's census, the Bureau destroyed the paper originals.

    After the original microfilm was transferred to the National Archives, the Special Media Lab at the National Archives spent nearly 3 years inspecting the collection frame by frame, making necessary repairs, identifying and cleaning original camera negatives, and rehousing them into acid-free archival microfilm boxes in order to insure that the information was preserved. The Special Media Microfilm Duplication Lab spent thousands of hours producing high quality duplicate negatives and positives using state-of-the-art-duplicating machines never before used on census materials. These duplicating machines rendered higher quality images by the use of a glass drum and high-tension belt system with far less loss of definition (focus) than older printing machines. By using a polyester film-base, the new master negatives have a life expectancy of 500 years, when the film is stored and handled properly.

    The original microfilm, dating from the 1940's, consists of an acetate film-base that has a life expectancy of approximately 100 years. In the near future, the camera original films will be shipped to an off-site cold storage facility to help maximize the remaining life expectancy of the film.

    To prepare for the opening of the 1930 census, the National Archives Special Media Preservation Laboratory produced two sets of preservation master negatives and 15 sets of positive reference copies of the 1930 Census microfilm. Each set consists of 2,667 rolls of 35-mm schedules and 1,587 rolls of 16-mm soundex indexes. In all, the lab produced more than 60,000 rolls of duplicate negatives and positives for use by the National Archives 13 regional archives facilities; the Microfilm Reading Room in the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, and the microfilm loan program.

Nationwide NARA Facilities: Where the 1930 Census Will Open on April 1, 2002

NARA's Pacific Alaska Region (Anchorage)
654 West Third Avenue
Anchorage, Alaska 99501-2145
NARA's Northeast Region (Pittsfield)
10 Conte Drive
Pittsfield, Massachusetts 01201-8230
NARA's Pacific Region (Laguna Niguel)
24000 Avila Road, First Floor-East Entrance
Laguna Niguel, California 92677-3497
NARA's Northeast Region (Boston)
380 Trapelo Road
Wa1tham, Massachusetts 02452-6399
NARA's Pacific Region (San Francisco)
1000 Commodore Drive
San Bruno, California 94066-2350
Missouri NARA's Central Plains Region (Kansas City)
2312 East Bannister Road
Kansas City, Missouri 64131-3011
NARA's Rocky Mountain Region Building
Building 46, Denver Federal Center
Fifth Street and Center Avenue Denver, Colorado 80225
New York
NARA's Northeast Region (New York City)
1 Bowling Green, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10004
District of Columbia
National Archives Building
Pennsylvania Avenue at 8 Street, NW
Washington, DC 20408
Telephone: 202-501-5500
NARA's Mid Atlantic Region
(Center City Philadelphia)
900 Market Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107-4292
NARA's Southeast Region
1557 St. Joseph Avenue
East Point, Georgia 30344-2593
NARA's Southwest Region
501 West Felix Street, Building I
Fort Worth, Texas 76115-3405
Illinois NARA's Great Lakes Region (Chicago)
7358 South Pulaski Road
Chicago, Illinois 60629-5898
NARA's Pacific Alaska Region (Seattle)
6125 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, Washington 98115-7999
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