Archives.com, home of the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project, has released an interactive census graphic to celebrate the fact that the 1940 Census is now fully indexed and searchable, free to all, thanks to the contributions of thousands of volunteers. The graphic, called “The American Family Through Time” and set up like a board game, is fun to explore and informative to boot.
Clicking on one of the decades launches a descriptive page on that census, including population data from the U.S. Census Bureau displayed in colorful pie charts. Another click takes you to a handy list of questions asked on each census. Back on the main board, you can access graphics on occupations, housing, and education. There’s even a card pile of “Fun Census Facts” full of census trivia to keep you busy. It’s an entertaining way to illustrate what otherwise could be some rather dry material.
Progressing through the board really brings home the changes in census statistics over the years. Makes me wonder what the Americans of 1790 would think if they could see the country today. One thing's for sure: we’ve come a long way, baby.