The 1930 Census — A Research Guide

by | 5 Jan 2021

Census Day: 1 April 1930; 1 October 1929 in Alaska
Time to Complete: One month
U.S. Population: 123.2 million

On April 1, 1930, the Bureau of the Census began taking the 15th decennial census of the United States. All responses were to reflect the individual’s status as of 1 April 1930, even if the status had changed between April 1st and the day of enumeration (i.e., children born after 1 April 1930 should not be listed even if the census taker visited after that date, and people who died after 1 April should be counted).

The 1930 U.S. census highlights the country’s move into the technology age by adding a new question about radio ownership. Other new questions included the individual’s age at the time of his or her first marriage, the specific war in which an individual served (if applicable), and the value of the home or the amount of rent paid each month. Other changes from the 1920 census included dropping the question about the year of naturalization, and the instruction to enumerators to designate one member of each household as the “homemaker.” Native Americans living were included in the enumeration of the general population, with two extra columns added to note the degree of Indian blood (column 19) and the tribe (column 20). Serving military members were treated as residents of their duty posts in 1930, so may not have been enumerated with their family or in their hometown.

Questions Asked in the 1930 Census

  • street or road name; house number or farm
  • name, age (at last birthday), and sex of each individual in the household
  • relationship of each individual to head of household
  • whether the home was owned or rented, and if mortgaged
  • value of the home or monthly mortgage or rental payment
  • whether owns a radio set
  • color or race
  • whether single, married, widowed, or divorced
  • age at first marriage
  • year of immigration
  • whether naturalized (na), alien (al), or have started the naturalization process (pa = papers)
  • whether attended school since 1 September 1929
  • whether able to read and write
  • place of birth
  • father’s place of birth
  • mother’s place of birth
  • the language spoken in the home prior to coming to the United States
  • whether able to speak English
  • profession, occupation, or trade
  • type of industry or business
  • whether worked yesterday
  • whether a veteran and, if so, what war

1930 Census Online

Research Another US Census Year:

1930 Census | 1920 Census | 1910 Census | 1900 census | 1890 Census | 1880 Census | 1870 Census | 1860 Census | 1850 Census

©2021 Kimberly Powell. Use of this article elsewhere without permission violates copyright. Short excerpts and links are welcome, with credit and a link back to Learn Genealogy.

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