The 1930 census is the 15th Federal census mandated by the U.S. Constitution, which states "The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. . . "
The 1930 census consists of 2,667 rolls of population schedules and 1,587 rolls of Soundex indexes for 12 southern states, totaling 4,254 rolls. Even though the statistical summaries collected by enumerators are made public shortly after the census is taken, information on individuals and families is restricted by law for privacy reasons for 72 years. [92 Stat. 915; Public Law 95-416; October 5, 1978].
A NOTE OF CAUTION TO RESEARCHERS: There are personal name finding aids (Soundex) for 12 southern states only. The National Archives will make available research guides and geographic finding aids to help researchers locate families not listed in the Soundex. Knowing the exact spelling of the last name, the state and county where the family lived in 1930 will greatly assist the search.
The National Archives has Federal decennial censuses dating back to the 1790 census, which consisted of 12 rolls of microfilm. The most recent census to be released was the 1920 census that was opened on April 1, 1992. It consists of 2,076 rolls of film.
While the original intent of the census was to determine how many representatives each state was entitled to send to the U.S. Congress, it has become a vital tool for Federal agencies in determining allocation of Federal funds and resources. The census has also become a key research tool for sociologists, demographers, historians, political scientists and genealogists. The 1930 census provides a wealth of socio-economic information such as the following: names of all persons living in each home; relationship of each person to the head of household; whether the home is owned or rented; value of the home; if the family owns a radio; if they own a farm; whether they attended school or college; if they can read or write; place of birth; citizenship status; and occupation.
For more information on the 1930 census, see http://1930census.archives.gov/