An Enumeration District in Simple Terms
In laymans terms, an Enumeration District is a geographic area as defined by the U.S. Bureau of the Census and was (and still is) defined as an area for which an individual enumerator could complete a count of the population within the allotted time for that particular census year. For the 1940 Census, more than 123,000 enumerators were expected to complete the count in their assigned enumeration districts within one month. The census date for 1940 was June 1st, but since that day fell on a Sunday, the actual enumeration process didn't begin until the following date (but still used the June 1st census date).
Most cities and towns are sub-divided into smaller areas and given a series of code numbers and corresponding detailed descriptions. The prefix indicates the county within a state and the remaining numbers designate the enumeration district (often referred to as an E.D. for short). Each E.D. is described in terms of the streets included within and the direction in reference to other streets. One might read, "...the North side of Main Street from Stonehouse Road on the west to and including Madison Avenue on the east."
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has an extensive collection of city and town maps for nearly every state and territory enumerated in the 1940 census. These 1940 Enumeration District Maps are just one method to help you determine which district your family may have lived in when the 1940 census was conducted.
View and use the One-Step 1940 ED Finder!