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Occupation last year


OCCLY is a 3-digit numeric variable for 1963-2002 and a 4-digit numeric variable for 2003 and on. Codes are the same as those for OCC, except in 1963-1967.

1963-1967 OCCLY codes
1968-1971 OCC and OCCLY codes
1972-1982 OCC and OCCLY codes
1983-1991 OCC and OCCLY codes
1992-2002 OCC and OCCLY codes
2003-2010 OCC and OCCLY codes
2011-2019 OCC and OCCLY codes


OCCLY reports the person's primary occupation during the previous calendar year. A respondent who held more than one job during the preceding year was to report the job that lasted longest. The reference period for OCCLY, the preceding calendar year, is the same as the reference period for income variables in IPUMS-CPS.

The CPS interviewer collected information by asking what kind of work the person was doing during the preceding calendar year, and Census Bureau staff coded the information into the CPS or census occupational classification. Researchers who wish to work with a consistent occupational coding scheme for 1968 forward should use the OCC50LY variable.

The occupation of persons employed at the time of the survey is reported in OCC. OCC also provides information about the most recent job for persons not in the labor force at the time of the survey. For general discussion of employment concepts, including the definition of those not in the labor force, see the documentation on EMPSTAT.

The 1962 sample is unavailable due to a shared code (0) between ' medical and other health workers' and 'not in universe'. However, the unharmonized variable (OCCLYR) is provided for users who wish to analyze the data independently.


In addition to the universe changes noted above, the occupational coding scheme for the CPS changed over time. For 1963-1967, 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 2002 census classification scheme; and in 2011 and later years, using the 2010 census classification scheme.

OCCLY provides the codes given in the original CPS data; OCC50LY, which recodes occupations into a common format using the 1950 census classification scheme, provides comparability over time beginning in 1968.


  • 1963-1967: Civilians age 14+, coded as "match" on the FEBMAR variable and who worked last year (pre-1968 samples do not include persons under age 14).
  • 1968-1979: Civilians age 14+ who worked last year.
  • 1980-1987, 1990+: Civilians age 15+ who worked last year.
  • 1988-1989: Civilians age 15+ who worked last year, and armed forces members.


Years Jan Feb ASEC Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1963 – 2023 - - X - - - - - - - - -