1940 US Census website nearly crashes after opening, millions of data released

By on Apr 3, 2012 in Lifestyle, United States Comments

The 1940 US Census website nearly crashed after it opened on Monday, April 2, 2012 at 9 a.m. ET, revealing millions of data that the public can view for free.

1940 US Census poster
Image Credit: Census.gov

“Due to extraordinary demand, this website is undergoing updates to better accommodate users.” A statement now reads at 1940census.archives.gov, noting that the 1940 US Census data are made up of 3.8 million images, scanned from over 4,000 rolls of microfilm.

“While these changes take place, you can still use many of the useful features built into this website (search for enumeration districts, bookmark results, etc). We appreciate your patience, as enhancements are underway!” The statement added.

As told by US National Archives Director of Public and Media Communications Susan Cooper to ABC News, the 1940 US Census website had 22.5 million hits during the first three hours of operation and rose to 37 million hits by mid-afternoon; which was far more than what was expected.

“We are having a server problem. Because there is such a huge volume, they’re having a hard time keeping up.” Cooper was quoted telling to ABC News, noting that they are working hard to add more capacity.

“We knew we would have high traffic volume, and we thought we were prepared for it,” she said, ‘but I think we’ve been very surprised by actually how popular it is.” Cooper added.

Meanwhile, the US Census Bureau noted the data includes respondents’ birthplace, citizenship status, occupation, race, wages and income, but stressed that no Social Security numbers are being released.

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