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Adult civilian, armed forces, or child

Codes and Frequencies

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POPSTAT reports the person's status in the population -- whether the person is an adult civilian, member of the U. S. armed forces, or a child.

The CPS is, in large part, a labor market survey, and is used to measure unemployment among the civilian labor force. (The U.S. unemployment rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics excludes members of the armed forces.) Children (for ASEC samples under age 14 through 1979 and under age 15 beginning in 1980; for non-ASEC samples under 14 through February, 1989 and under 15 beginning March 1989) were not asked questions pertaining to economic activity. Members of the armed forces were asked only a small number of questions relating to demographic facts, migration, and income during the previous calendar year. POPSTAT provides a useful "filter" variable for excluding persons who had no responses for many of the survey questions. If children and/or members of the armed forces were excluded from the universe of a particular question, they appear only in the "not in universe" category of a variable.


Apart from the change in the lowest age category of "adult civilians", this variable is completely comparable across years. In the ASEC, adult civilians are individuals 14 and older from 1962-1979; 15 and older from 1980-present. In non-ASEC files, adult civilians are individuals 14 and older from 1984-1988; 15 and older from 1989 forward.


  • 1962-1967 (ASEC): Persons age 14+ (pre-1968 samples do not include persons under age 14).
  • 1968+ (ASEC): All persons.
  • 1984+ (non-ASEC): All persons.


Years Jan Feb ASEC Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1962 – 1983 - - X - - - - - - - - - -
1984 – 2023 X X X X X X X X X X X X X
2024 X X - X X X X - - - - - -


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