1930 Census Federal Population Schedule

The 1930 census contains records for approximately 123 million Americans. The Fifteenth United States Census officially began on April 1, 1930 and took just over a month to complete. 

The total population recorded was 123,202,624.  The official cutoff for enumeration was 12:01 a.m. on April 1.  Therefore, births that occurred after this date were not included.

Overview of the 1930 Census

The 1930 census is a great place to start. It was taken beginning on April 1, 1930, except for the Alaska census, which began early, on October 1, 1929.

Fifty-six states and territories were enumerated and marked according to counties within those states and territories.

Each county was given a number according to alphabetical order and then given more specific identification numbers within that county. For example, a county might be marked 1-1 or 10-73.

The Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Canal Zone were not subjected to this system of numbering.

Like the censuses that came before it, the 1930 census covered names, ages, races, relationships, house numbers and streets of residence.

It also included information on home ownership or rental, literacy and schooling, employment information, citizenship and immigration information and birthplaces of residents and their parents.

1930 Census Facts

  • 1930 Census Number:  123,202,624
  • 1930 Census Day:  April 1, 1930
  • 1930 Census duration:  1 month
  • 1930 Census States: 48 States
  • 1930 Census Territories: Alaska, Hawaii, American Samoa, the Canal Zone, Guam, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands

Questions Asked in the 1930 Census

Example of the 1930 United States Federal Census for Worcester County Massachusetts
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Example of the 1930 United States Federal Census for Worcester County Massachusetts

Some of the questions answered by the 1930 census included:

  • Place of residence
  • Name of each person at residence
  • Relationship of each person to head of household
  • Home data
    • Owned or rented
    • Value of home or monthly rental 
    • Radio Set 
    • Does family own a farm
  • Personal Description
    • - Sex
    • Color or race
    • Age at last birth
    • 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
    • - Each person and his or her parents birthplace
    • If United States give State or Territory
    • If foreign birth give country in which birthplace is now situated
  • Native language of foreign born
  • Citizenship
    • Year of immigration into the United States
    • Naturalization
    • Ability to speak English
  • Occupation & Industry
    • Trade or profession,  type of work done
    • Industry or business
    • Class of worker
  • Employed (Yes/No)
  • Veterans
    • What war or expedition

Seven schedules were  prepared for the 1930 census. They included:

  1. General Population Schedule
  2. Agriculture Schedule
  3. Irrigation Schedule
  4. Unemployment Schedule
  5. Drainage Schedule
  6. Distribution Schedule
  7. Mines Schedule

1930 Census Resources

The original schedules for the 1930 census were destroyed. Therefore, only the microfilm exists for research purposes. Some of the microfilm images do have defects and may not be entirely legible.

You may find the following resources helpful in your research of the 1930 census data.

The 1930 United States Federal Census database at Ancestry.com consists of all individuals enumerated in the 1930 Census, the Twelfth Census of the United States.

Additionally, the names of those listed on the population schedule are linked to actual images of the 1930 Federal Census, copied from the National Archives and Records Administration.

Download Free a US 1930 Census Extract Form which allows you to read column headings and record information from the US Census.

Unique Features of the 1930 Census

Sampling

Congress mandated that another unemployment census be conducted in 1937.

This special census was voluntary; postal carriers delivered a form to every residential address in the country and those who were unemployed were expected to fill it out and mail it back.

This special census is noteworthy because it was an opportunity for Census Bureau to experiment with statistical sampling.

Two percent of households were delivered a special census questionnaire whose results were used to test the accuracy of the larger census.

Age at First Marriage

A question that was new to the 1930 census that is useful to genealogy research was the age of the person at their first marriage.

This information can be cross referenced with other records to gain more useful information about the family.

Status Changes

Although some the family status of some people may have changed during the year, they were expected to list their status as of the day that the census began.

For example, if a child was born in Alaska after October 1, 1929, he or she should not be listed on the 1930 census.

Historical Considerations of the 1930 Census

Effects of World War I 

Due to boundary changes that occurred during World War I, some people weren’t sure how to record their country of origin because the status of the country had changed.

Countries that were affected by the boundary issue were Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia, Turkey and Bulgaria.

Enumerators were instructed to write down the city, state, province or region of birth for the resident or their parents if the resident or their parents were born in any of the effected countries.

Native Americans

The 1930 census listed Native American (referred to as “Indian”) inhabitants of reservations within the schedules for the general population.

However, each Native American’s parental records were recorded differently. On the mother’s side, tribe was recorded. On the father’s side, degree of Indian blood was recorded.

Reporting Births & Deaths

Children that were born between the official start date of the census and the actual day of enumeration were not included.

Individuals that were alive on the official start date of the census but deceased by the actual day of enumeration were included.

Military Servicemen

Servicemen were not recorded with their families in the 1930 census; they were treated as residents of their duty posts. If you’re looking for someone in the military, you should not assume they will be listed in their home town.

Interesting facts about the 1930 census

  • Herbert Hoover is President during the 1930 census.
  • It took approximately $40,156,000 and 87,756 enumerators to complete the 1930 census
  • The U.S. population increased by 13.7 percent from the 1920 census to the 1930 census
  • The 1930 Census was conducted just 5 months after the stock market crash of 1929, It also asked whether the family had a radio
  • President Herbert Hoover asks congress to pass $150 million public works project to increase employment and combat the growing depression on December 2, 1930.
  • The Mickey Mouse comic strip debuts in the January 13, 1930

Historical events surrounding the 1930 US Census

  • March 3, 1931 - Herbert Hoover signs an act officially declaring The Star Spangled Banner as the U.S. national anthem. 
  • December 5, 1933 - The 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, repealing the 18th Amendment and ending the prohibition of alcohol. 
  • March 1, 1936 - The Hoover Dam is completed two years ahead of schedule. 
  • May 27, 1937 - The Golden Gate Bridge opens in San Francisco, California. 
  • October 30, 1938 - The radio broadcast of H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, featuring a realistic account of a Martian invasion of the United States, causes widespread panic.

States Covered in the 1930 Census

1930 Census Map
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1930 Census Map

The 1930 census covered 48 States:
Alabama, Alaska Territory, American Samoa, ArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticut, Delaware, FloridaGeorgia, IdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriIdahoNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaOregon, Panama Canal Zone, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermont, VirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

The 1930 census also covered 7 Territories:
Alaska Territory, Hawaii Territory, American Samoa, Guam, Panama Canal Zone, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

What was lost from the 1930 U.S. Census?

No major loss of records for the 1930 census.

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