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Using the Decennial Census to Draw Conclusions About American Life

Using the Decennial Census to Draw Conclusions About American Life

Activity Description


Students will examine questions from 1940, 1960, and 2010 census questionnaires to analyze socioeconomic changes in the U.S. population before and after World War II.

Suggested Grade Level


Approximate Time Required

45-60 minutes

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to gather information from primary sources.
  • Students will be able to make inferences from 1940, 1960, and 2010 census questionnaires to explain how the questions relate to the socioeconomic issues of each era.

Materials Required

  • The student version of this activity, 30 pages
  • A teacher computer with Internet access and a projector to display web sites

A computer with Internet access for each student is optional.

Activity Items

The following items are part of this activity. Items, their sources, and any relevant instructions for viewing them
online appear at the end of this teacher version.

  • 1940 Census Questionnaire
  • 1960 Census Questionnaire
  • 2010 Census Questionnaire

Teacher Notes

Blooms Taxonomy

Blooms Taxonomy

Students will evaluate primary and secondary sources to make inferences and draw conclusions about socioeconomic changes in the U.S. population between 1940 and 2010.


High School History


  • Data collection
  • Decennial census
  • Societal changes
  • World War II

Skills Taught

  • Analyzing primary sources
  • Drawing conclusions
  • Making inferences
Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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