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Newly released 1940 Census data shows Wilson's history

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In 1940, Wilson County had a population of 25,267, which was an increase of 5,411 compared to data from the 1930 census, which is also visible on the 1940 population records. In 1930, Wilson County had a population of 19,856.

By comparison, Wilson Countys current population estimate according to the 2010 census is 113,993.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the national population grew by only 7.3 percent between 1930 and 1940, the lowest rate of growth before or since. For comparison, from 1920 to 1930, the population grew by 16.2 percent.

Wilson outpaced the nation as a whole during the Depression with a 27.3 percent increase during the 1930s.

The data also showed populations for the two municipalities in Wilson County and the population of Mt. Juliet, which at the time was an unincorporated community. Lebanons city population in 1940 was 5,940 and at the time the city consisted of four council wards.

In 1940, Ward 1, which contained portions of town around East Main Street and North Cumberland Street, contained 1,648 residents. Ward 2 also contained residents around East Main as well as the area around South Cumberland Street and had 1,287 residents.

Ward 3 included Cumberland University and the Wilson County Jail in areas around West Main Street and South Cumberland Street. The population of that ward in 1940 was 1,657. Ward 4 contained Castle Heights Military Academy and areas around West Main and North Cumberland. The population in Ward 4 was 1,358.

Lebanons total population in 1930 was 4,656 and all four wards saw increases in population during the 1930s.

Watertown had a population of only 908 residents within the city limits, which actually was a decrease from the 1930 population of 928. However, the population of Watertowns civil district, including residents living outside the city, was 1,136 in 1940. The population of the area decreased from 1,212 since 1930.

In 1940, Mt. Juliet was not incorporated but contained 1,742 residents, which was up from 1930s population of 1,401.

The archives website also lists the census schedules for every district, complete with the names of residents, their age, race, gender, place of birth and more. The release of the 1940 data will undoubtedly be a useful tool for local residents looking to find their family history here in Wilson County.

You can view the local 1940 census data by visiting and searching the state of Tennessee, then Wilson County.

Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at

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