Town/Village Level Data for 1930 and 1940 Full Samples

I’m doing some research for a professor who is attempting to collect data on racial disparities in the town of Oberlin, OH in the years 1930 and 1940 using census data.

I managed to narrow down the data to solely Oberlin using a combination of STDCITY and INCORP, but these variables are only available for the 1% samples of each census. Given that the most narrow variable to select cases for is METAREA, a 1% sample of the Cleveland metro area includes little to no data from Oberlin.

Are there any variables that could help me narrow this METAREA data to Oberlin specifically that are available with the full data samples? If not, is there any other recourse for me here? Thanks in advance for any help you can give me!

You should be able to identify Oberlin, OH using the ENUMDIST variable. This variable is publicly available in the 1940 full count file. Based on the information from the Steve Morse website, the enumeration districts for Oberlin, OH in 1940 are 930, 940, 950, and 960. You will also need to include the STATEFIP and COUNTYICP variables into your data extract. Ohio is STATEFIP==39 and Lorain County is COUNTYICP==930. This is because the ENUMDIST variable is only unique within states and counties.

For the 1930 full count file, this becomes a little more complicated. The ENUMDIST variable is not publicly available in 1930, primarily because this data file is still in a “preliminary release.” Unfortunately, I am not aware of any alternative ways to identify Oberlin, OH using the 1930 US Census data.

Hi Jeff,

Thank you so much for getting back to me, and for your assistance with my issue! I’ve decided to move forward with the full sample from 1940 and the 5% sample from 1930, and I really really appreciate you tracking down all of that information for me.

I do have one further question, however: When I went to the Steve Morse website and input Ohio, Lorain County, and Oberlin as the town, I’m getting ED’s 13, 14, 15, 17, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 43, 46, and 93-97 (in short, not the codes listed above). Is there something I’m doing wrong? I just want to make sure I’m collecting the right data!

Dear Lindsay,

Morse’s site looks for any mention of the word “Oberlin” when it searches the ED descriptions. This includes both Oberlin village and any roads with the word “Oberlin” in it. EDs 93-97 are for Oberlin village, and the other EDs include a road with the word “Oberlin” in it.

On the Morse site, there is a radio button for the ED description. If you click that radio button and then click on an ED link, you will be shown the PDF of the ED description. You will see that 93-96 are for Oberlin village, and the other EDs contain a road with the word Oberlin in it.

EDs 93-96 have a total population count of 4,319 in the 1940 complete count microdata. The published count for Oberlin village is 4,305. Thus, I think the microdata do an excellent job capturing the population of Oberlin.

Dave Van Riper


This was so extremely helpful - I was able to navigate the Morse website and extract exactly the data I was looking for from my very long .csv file! I can’t thank you enough for all of the assistance!

Most sincerely,
(An extremely grateful undergraduate student)