1940 USA Census Sheets
One of the major innovations of the 1940 census was the use of advanced statistical techniques, including probability sampling, which had been used only on an experimental basis before. Sampling had been tested in a trial census of unemployment carried out by the Civil Works Administration in 1933-1934 and surveys of retail stores in the same decade, and an official sample survey of unemployment in 1937 that covered about 20,000 households.
Sampling in the 1940 census allowed the addition of a number of demographic questions of enumerated persons without unduly increasing the overall burden on respondents and on data processing. It also made it possible to publish preliminary returns 8 months ahead of the complete tabulations. Sampling also allowed the Census Bureau to increase the number of detailed tables published and review the quality of the data processing with more efficiency.
Several new questions reflected the concerns of the depression years. Along with the new census focusing on the condition of the nation’s housing stock and the need for public housing programs, the 1940 census included questions about employment, unemployment, internal migration and income.