70-Year-Old Census Records Highlight Shifts in the Working World

Seventy-two years ago, the house I grew up in was occupied by the DeLong family: a husband and wife, one son, two daughters. The husband worked as a salesman, his son as a clerk. None of the women held a job.

The neighbors were laborers and waitresses and machinists. One industrious man worked 60-hour weeks at a poultry farm; another unfortunate resident had been unemployed for more than three years when census-takers knocked on his door in 1940.

For many of us today, working means cubicles and computers and commutes. It means colleagues who have graduated high school, and many who have also finished college. It means earning tens of thousands of dollars every year.

But recently released U.S. Census records from 1940 offer a very intimate glimpse at what the working world was like more than seven decades ago.

Read the rest of this story at Salary.com. Photo courtesy of U.S. Census Bureau.

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