Contact: Mark Tolbert III
Public Information Office
(301) 457-3691/457-3620 (fax)
(301) 457-1037 (TDD)
In 1930, when life expectancy in the United States was less than 60 years, compared to 77 now, census enumerators gathered information across America during the dawn of the Great Depression. Those time capsules of records, collected 72 years ago, will be released by the National Archives on April 1.
The 1930 census found just 5,165 people residing in a dusty, desert outpost called Las Vegas, Nev., where the railroad was the principal industry; and 48,118 in another desert town to the south called Phoenix, Ariz. Both Western cities today are among the fastest growing in the nation: Census 2000 tabbed Las Vegas' population at 478,434 and Phoenix at 1,321,045.
Other highlights from the 1930 census include:
In order to protect the confidentiality of individual census records, the Census Bureau and the National Archives withheld the release of these records to the public until 72 years after the census in which they were collected [92 Stat. 915, Public Law 95-416; October 5, 1978]. The original 1930 documents were destroyed long ago, but not before their photographic images were transferred to rolls of microfilm in 1944 and 1945 and kept in locked vaults at the National Archives.