- Questionnaire Text
- UnHarmonized Variables
OCC reports the person's primary occupation. Respondents who held more than one job were to report the job at which they worked the largest number of hours. For persons who were employed at the time of the survey, OCC relates to the job worked during the preceding week; unemployed persons and those not currently in the labor force were to give their most recent occupation. The CPS interviewer collected information by asking what kind of work the person was doing, and Census Bureau staff coded the information into the contemporary CPS or census occupational classification. Researchers who wish to work with a consistent occupational coding scheme for 1968 forward should use the OCC1950 variable. For general discussion of employment concepts, including the definition of those not in the labor force, see the documentation on EMPSTAT.
In addition to universe changes, the coding scheme for the occupational data in the CPS changed over time. For 1962-1967, an occupational classification scheme with fewer than 40 codes was used. In 1968-1971, occupations were coded using the 1960 census classification scheme; in 1972-1982, using the 1970 census classification scheme; in 1983-1991, using the 1980 census classification scheme; in 1992-2002, using the 1990 census classification scheme; in 2003-2010, using the 2000 census classification scheme; in 2011-2019, using the 2010 census classification scheme; and in 2020 onward using the 2017 census classification scheme. Users should note that within the 1992-2002 period, from September 1995 forward, those previously coded as "legislators" (003) and "postmasters" (016) are coded as "managers and administrators, N.E.C."(022), and those previously coded as "judges"(178) are coded as "lawyers"(179).
OCC provides the codes given in the original CPS data; OCC1950, which recodes occupations into a common format using the 1950 census classification scheme, provides comparability over time beginning in 1968.
Comparability with IPUMS-USA
The universe for this variable differs between IPUMS CPS and IPUMS USA; labels for the codes 999 (1968-1982) and 000/0000 (1983+) differ accordingly. Beginning in 1980, the census used age 16 as the lowest age cut-off for employment questions, with age 14 as the cut-off in earlier enumerations. The CPS used a cut-off of age 15 for OCC beginning in 1988 and age 14 in earlier years. The picture of general occupational structure given by the CPS beginning in 1968 may be different than that given by the census and the ACS, because only one-fourth of CPS respondents who were not currently in the labor force were asked about their past occupation. This limit does not apply to the census and ACS. Because the CPS is designed to measure the labor force experience of civilians, members of the armed forces were not asked this question in the Current Population Survey. Persons in the military are included in the census and ACS data on OCC. IPUMS CPS has provided the universes that most closely represent the empirical data for OCC. In many samples several hundred respondents are shown as having valid responses despite not meeting universe requirements. These respondents generally have an employment status of "not in labor force."
- 1962-1967 (ASEC): Civilians age 14+ who were employed, on layoff, or experienced unemployed looking for work
- 1968-1969 (ASEC): Civilians age 14+ who were employed, looking for employment, or unemployed who had ever worked and were in month in sample 1 or 5
- 1970-1975 (ASEC): Civilians age 14+ who were employed or were unemployed, looking, and had worked in the past
- 1976-1987: Civilians age 14+ who were employed, unemployed but had worked in the past, or were not in labor force but had worked in the past 5 years and were in month in sample 4 or 8
- 1988: Civilians age 14+ who were employed, on layoff, unemployed but had worked in the past, or were not in labor force but had worked in the past 5 years and were in month in sample 4 or 8
- 1989-1993: Civilians age 15+ who were employed, on layoff, unemployed but had worked in the past, or not in labor force but had worked in the past 5 years
- 1994+: Civilians age 15+ who were employed, on layoff, unemployed but had worked in the past, or not in labor force but had worked in the past year
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