What was the portrait of U.S. households in 1940? Today's release of detailed files from the 1940 Census can tell you just that!
After the mandatory 72-year waiting period, during which time all Census statistics are required to maintain the anonymity of respondents, today the National Archives released the 1940 Census to the public. The website (http://1940census.archives.gov) provides access to digital images of the Census, which includes more than 3.8 million pages overall.
According to the Census Bureau, the 1940 forms asked questions about name, age, relationship, and occupation. Additional questions covered other topics of interest at the time: internal migration; employment status; participation in the New Deal Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Works Progress Administration (WPA), and National Youth Administration (NYA) programs; and years of education.
For those who take an interest in history -- broadly or at the family level -- the details released today provide an insightful peek into the work and demographic aspects of households in 1940. I've already searched the records for one set of my great-grandparents!
You can find more information on the main 1940 Census site, or through the "Getting Started" tutorial.