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Frequently Asked Questions

What was the official census date?

The official census date was April 1, 1930.

Do the original records exist?

No. After filming the census in 1949, the Bureau of the Census destroyed the originals. The 1930 population schedules are reproduced as National Archives Microfilm Publication T626 (2,667 rolls).

Why is the last roll of film numbered 2,668, but there are only 2,667 rolls of film?

When the Bureau of the Census numbered the rolls of microfilm, they skipped from roll 1601 to 1603. There is no roll 1602. Rolls 1601 and 1603 include Queens, New York. NARA staff verified that every enumeration district for Queens was microfilmed.

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How were Native Americans enumerated?

Native Americans are listed in the general population.

What happened to the Farm Schedules, Unemployment Schedules, Supplemental Indian Schedules?

  • None of these records have been located with the exception of the farm schedules for Alaska, Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. These are in the process of being microfilmed.
  • The Supplemental Indian schedules were destroyed, but Native Americans are found in the general population on the population schedules.

What do the columns on the schedule marked "code" mean?

Following questions 21 and 26, the Bureau listed codes. These codes provide no additional information. After the Bureau collected the census schedules, the staff, not the enumerator, coded the information on occupations and nativity using codes established for the 1930 census. The Bureau staff tabulated this data to create the statistical summaries for its reports to Congress.

What are the major differences from the earlier census records?

  1. In 1920, the census asked "if naturalized, year of naturalization." In 1930, the Census asked only if the person were naturalized.
  2. The 1900, 1910, and 1920 censuses asked if a person owned or rented a house. In 1930, the schedules also included the value of the home or the amount of rent paid each month.
  3. The 1930 census asked if the home had a radio.
  4. The 1930 census asked a person's age at the time of his or her first marriage.
  5. In 1930, the census asked which specific war a man fought in.

How can I locate institutions in the census?

  • On the microfilms, ED numbers for institutions are listed at the end of the Soundex indexes for each state, except for Georgia, which does not include institutions. Institutions are distributed throughout the schedule microfilms.

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Are there any name indexes?

There are Soundex indexes for the following states in their entirety:

  • Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

In addition, there are Soundex indexes for the selected counties in Kentucky and West Virginia.

  • Only the following Kentucky counties are indexed: Bell, Floyd, Harlan, Kenton, Muhlenberg, Perry, and Pike.
  • Only the following West Virginia counties are indexed: Fayette, Harrison, Kanawha, Logan, McDowell, Mercer, and Raleigh.

Why aren't all the states Soundexed?

In the 1960s, the Bureau of the Census prepared the Soundex cards, but only for the Southern states."

Is it possible that a person can be missed in the index?

Yes, but, there are no statistics on the rate of error. If you cannot find a person in the Soundex, then try to find them on the schedule.

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:

  • City directories are useful because they give street addresses. You can take the address and then use one of the following methods to find the enumeration district. To aid researchers, the National Archives has purchased some microfilmed city directories for the years around 1930. This microfilm series is available at the National Archives Building and at our regional facilities. The census is not available at the Presidential Libraries. These are not National Archives publications and can be neither purchased nor rented from NARA. Many local libraries have city directories local to their area.
  • Geographic descriptions of enumeration districts can be found in T1224, Descriptions of Enumeration Districts, 1830-1950 (156 rolls). The descriptions are arranged by state, then by county. The 1930 descriptions can be found on rolls 61 through 90. These are written descriptions of each enumeration district.
  • Enumeration district maps can be found in 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.
  • 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.

How can I view or buy the 1930 census microfilm?

The census is available for viewing on microfilm at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, and at our regional facilities nationwide. The census is not available at the Presidential Libraries.

Please see our most current fee schedule

NARA accepts orders for microfilmed 1930 census schedules (T626) and related microfilmed 1930 Soundexes. The price is $125 per roll ordered ($135 to foreign addresses) for black-and-white microfilm (census schedules and Soundex). Credit card orders are accepted at 1-800-234-8861.

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What are the definitions of terms used in the census?

  • Census__1) a counting of the population; 2) the actual pages of the census schedules
  • Enumeration__another word for taking the census
  • Enumerator__a census taker
  • Enumeration district__abbreviated as ED, it is the area assigned to one enumerator in one census period; 2 to 4 weeks in 1930.
  • Institutions__Hospitals, schools, jails, etc. that were given separate EDs for the 1930 census.
  • NP or nonpopulation__an ED where no one lived. Noted as "NP" in the catalog.
  • Precinct__the limits of an officer's jurisdiction or an election district
  • Place__specific geographic places or features such as streets, towns, villages, rivers, or mountains.
  • Schedule__the pages that the enumerators filled out when taking the census
  • Soundex__an indexing system based on the way a name is pronounced rather than how it is spelled.
  • Void__an ED that was combined with another ED. Noted as "void" in the catalog
  • Useful Web Sites:

What questions were on the 1930 Census?

  • Place of abode

    Street, avenue, road, etc.
    House number
    Number of dwelling house in order of visitation
    Number of family in order of visitation

  • Name

    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.

  • Relation

    Relationship of this person to the head of the family

  • Home Data

    Home owned or rented
    Value of home, if owned, or monthly rental, if rented
    Radio set
    Does this family own a farm?

  • Personal description

    Sex
    Color or race
    Age at last birthday
    Marital condition
    Age at first marriage

  • Education

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

    Place of birth__person
    Place of birth__father
    Place of birth__mother

  • Mother tongue (or native language) of foreign born

    Language spoken in home before coming to the United States

  • Citizenship, etc

    Year of immigration into the United States
    Naturalization
    Whether able to speak English

  • Occupation & industry

    Trade, profession, or particular kind of work done
    Industry or business
    Class of worker

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

    Yes or no
    If not, line number on Unemployment schedule [These schedules no longer exist]

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

    Yes or no
    What war or expedition?

  • Farm schedule

    Number of farm schedule [These schedules no longer exist]

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