1920 United States Census

Record Description

Federal censuses are usually reliable, depending on the knowledge of the informant and the care of the census enumerator. Information may have been given to a census taker by any member of the family or by a neighbor. Some information may have been incorrect or deliberately falsified.

Federal census takers were asked to record information about all those who were in each household on the census day, which was 1 January for the 1920 census. A census taker might have visited a house on a later date, but the information he collected was supposed to be about the people who were in the house on the census day. The basic census enumeration unit was the county. Each county was divided into enumeration districts, one for each enumerator. The completed forms were sent to the Census Office in the Commerce Department in Washington D.C. The 1920 census covers 95-97% of the population.  

The U.S. federal census was conducted each decade from 1790 to the present. This information pertains to the census conducted in 1920.

The U.S. federal census was taken at the beginning of every decade, beginning in 1790, to apportion the number of representatives that a state could send to the House of Representatives in Congress. In the absence of a national system of vital registration, many vital statistics and personal questions were asked to provide a statistical profile of the nation and its states. 

Federal censuses are usually reliable, depending on the knowledge of the informant and the care of the census enumerator. Information may have been given to a census taker by any member of the family or by a neighbor.

Some information may have been incorrect or deliberately falsified. 

Record Content

Important genealogical information in the 1920 census:

* State, county, township, town/city, precinct and enumeration district
* Date census was taken (information given based on a 1 January 1920 date)
* Street name and house number
* Name of head of household
* Names of all members of household
* Relationship to head of household
* Gender
* Race
* Age (can be used to calculate the approximate birth year)
* Marital status (single, married, widowed or divorced)
* Immigrant or naturalized citizen
* Date of naturalization
* Whether attended school or not
* Able to read and write?
* Birthplace of each member
* Language spoken
* Father's birthplace
* Mother's birthplace
* Occupation