Blacks missing from 1940s U.S. Census

Written by admin   // May 24, 2012   // 0 Comments

by Erica Taylor, Courtesy of

As of April 2, 2012, the 72-year confidentiality period concluded for the 1940 census. As a result, the U.S. Census Bureau finally disclosed the number of missing African-Americans from the 1940 census, including Wimbledon Tennis champion, Althea Gibson and her entire family.

Not only was Gibson, who was a teenager at the time, missing from the 1940 Census, but over one million blacks were also missing from the data.

With the numerous amount of blacks left out of the count, the distribution of resources and government funding was left to others. While it was widely known that blacks were unaccounted for in the census, the data bring the true evidence to light.

Increasing sources of error are found as people search their genealogical histories looking for ancestors. Althea Gibson’s sister, Lillian Chisholm who identified the New York neighborhood in which she was raised, accounted for the missing Gibson family. According to the Bureau, an enumerator visited the building five times in April 1940.

So by how much was the miscount in 1940? It was estimated at 8.4 percent, meaning that a population counted at 12.9 million was actually approximately 14.1 million.

Similar posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *