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Public Statements

Reps Davis and Gowdy Honor the Bicentennial of the 1940s Census


Location: Washington, DC

Chairman Gowdy and Ranking Member Davis introduced a resolution honoring the bi-centennial of the 1940 Census was the first Census taken after the Great Depression and it gave great insight on where we were as a nation. Gowdy stated, "On the tail of National Archivist, David Ferriero, being warmly received and much appreciated by the Spartanburg community during his visit to South Carolina, I have introduced a resolution with Rep. Danny Davis praising the National Archives and Census Bureau for the work they did to collect and maintain the 1940 Census data. The 1940 Census is significant because it was the first Census to ask questions about income and housing and provides critical data comparisons on the increase in population since 1940 and the number of housing units available. I encourage all Americans to take advantage of the release of this information and use this data to research the history of their families."

The 1940 Census captivated a chilling era full of hardships, such as 9 million homes lacked running water, 13 million had outside toilets or none at all, and 14 million had no bath facilities; The birth rate dropped to 18 babies per 1,000 people in 1940 from 25 per 1,000 in 1915; and more than 15 percent of the labor force was unemployed just to name a few.

Rep. Davis stated, "Counting the people is a very important aspect of continuous development. We need to know who we are, where we are and where we seem to be going. The census gives us that information and it is a very critically important tool for the US economy".

The 1940 Census also gives us a great indication on how much this country has grown and expanded since that census was taking. For instance the 1940 Census counted 132.2 million people and by 2010 the U.S. population had grown to 308.7 million people, in 1940, the median annual earnings for men and women were $956 and $592, respectively. In 2010, they were $47,715 and $36,931, respectively.

Together we honor the historical value of the release of the 1940 Census and applaud the National Archives and Records Administration and the U.S. Census Bureau for the work they have done with this very important issue. We also encourage each and every United States Citizen to go and research their family history during that time.

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