During the 1930s, the Census Bureau conducted special censuses of 15 U.S. towns at their request and expense. An official from the Census Bureau supervised the counts, but the enumerators were local residents.  The census schedules list the name, address, relationship to the head of the family, sex, color, and age of every inhabitant on the specified census day. The Riverside, Illinois, schedules for 1938 also include the name of the usual occupation and the current occupation of each inhabitant.  Censuses were conducted in these towns:

The motivations for asking for a special census varied.  Legislation enacted by the Indiana General Assembly required 20 Indiana cities to revert to town government on January 1, 1934, because their populations were less than the 3,000 required for status as a city.  The four Indiana cities that had special censuses taken in September and October 1933 believed they had more than 3,000 residents.  For example, newspaper reports concerning the Petersburg count indicated city paid the Bureau $150 for the special census and that their enumerators counted 3,106 persons, which enabled Petersburg to retain city status. More information can be found in newspaper articles such as "Fight to Retain Status as City," Evansville Courier and Press, October 26, 1933, page 4; "Federal Men to Take Census in Petersburg," Evansville Courier and Press, October 28, 1933, page 14; and "Stops Vote at Petersburg," Evansville Journal, November 2, 1933, page 1.

Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania, 1933 census, Enumeration District 2, page 1, enumerated by George ButtsIn 1933, Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania, was alarmed at the prospect of losing some of its state funding for local schools because the 1930 census had reported its population had decreased to under 5,000 persons.  This newspaper article gives the details: "Re-Census Taken in Johnsonburg for Board of Education – Johnsonburg Press: At the request of the Johnsonburg Board of Education and citizens, Edw. W. Koch, detailed here as supervisor from the U.S. Bureau of the Census, arrived here this week to organize and started Friday morning on a recount or re-enumeration of the population of Johnsonburg borough. The allegation is that the census of 1920 gave Johnsonburg a population of 5,400 whereas the more recent count taken in 1930 reduced the enumerated population of the borough to 4,737, a decrease of 633, notwithstanding that the number of registered voters showed an increase. The most serious result of this alleged decrease in the town’s population below the 5,000 mark is the effect to taxpayers on the increased cost of conducting the public schools, for while it was claimed there had been a decrease in population the enrollment of the public schools showed a decided increase. [The] ... classification of the boro schools was reduced to 4th class from the previous higher rating of 3rd class, the direct effect of this being to cut down in the appropriation of money received from the state for school purposes ... [and has] other effects...."  The Kane Republican (Kane, PA), Feb. 4, 1933, page 2. 

Johnsonburg citizens probably rejoiced that the February 1933 population count was reported to be higher than the 1930 count: "A special census was conducted by the Census Bureau at Washington, DC, for the borough of Johnsonburg, Elk county, and the official count which has just been given out credits the paper city with a population of 5,502." The Clarion Democrat (Clarion, PA), February 23, 1933, page 5, column 1.

These special census schedules are in the record series, Schedules of Municipal Population Enumerations, 1932-1938 (National Archives Identifier 2791185).  These are the only municipal censuses conducted by the Census Bureau that are in NARA custody. 

Digitized newspaper articles can be found at the Library of Congress Chronicling America website at https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/, commercial genealogy websites, and websites of state archives and public libraries. 

Image:  Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania, 1933 census, Enumeration District 2, page 1, enumerated by George Butts