Data Dictionary: ACS 2008 -- 2010 (3-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Table: C24020. Sex By Occupation For The Full-Time, Year-Round Civilian Employed Population 16 Years And Over [73]
Universe: Full-time, year-round civilian employed population 16 years and over
Table Details
C24020. Sex By Occupation For The Full-Time, Year-Round Civilian Employed Population 16 Years And Over
Universe: Full-time, year-round civilian employed population 16 years and over
Variable Label
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2008-2010 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
The data on sex were derived from answers to Question 3. Individuals were asked to mark either "male" or "female" to indicate their biological sex. For most cases in which sex was invalid, the appropriate entry was determined from other information provided for that person, such as the person's given (i.e., first) name and household relationship. Otherwise, sex was allocated from a hot deck.

Sex is asked for all persons in a household or group quarters. On the mailout/mailback paper questionnaire for households, sex is asked for all persons listed on the form. This form accommodates asking sex for up to 12 people listed as living or residing in the household for at least 2 months. If a respondent indicates that more people are listed as part of the total persons living in the household than the form can accommodate, or if any person included on the form is missing sex, then the household is eligible for Failed Edit Follow-up (FEFU). During FEFU operations, telephone center staffers call respondents to obtain missing data. This includes asking sex for any person in the household missing sex information. In Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews (CATI) and Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) instruments sex is asked for all persons. In 2006, the ACS began collecting data in group quarters (GQs). This included asking sex for persons living in a group quarters. For additional data collection methodology, please visit

Data on sex are used to determine the applicability of other questions for a particular individual and to classify other characteristics in tabulations. The sex data collected on the forms are aggregated and provide the number of males and females in the population. These data are needed to interpret most social and economic characteristics used to plan and analyze programs and policies. Data about sex are critical because so many federal programs must differentiate between males and females. The U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services are required by statute to use these data to fund, implement, and evaluate various social and welfare programs, such as the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) or the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Laws to promote equal employment opportunity for women also require census data on sex. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs must use census data to develop its state projections of veterans' facilities and benefits. For more information on the use of sex data in Federal programs, please visit

Sex Ratio
The sex ratio represents the balance between the male and female populations. Ratios above 100 indicate a larger male population, and ratios below 100 indicate a larger female population. This measure is derived by dividing the total number of males by the total number of females and then multiplying by 100. It is rounded to the nearest tenth.

Question/Concept History
Sex has been asked of all persons living in a household since the 1996 ACS Test phase. When group quarters were included in the survey universe in 2006, sex was asked of all person in group quarters as well.
Beginning in 2008, the layout of the sex question response categories was changed to a horizontal side-by-side layout from a vertically stacked layout on the mail paper ACS questionnaire

Limitation of the data
Beginning in 2006, the population in group quarters (GQ) was included in the ACS. Some types of GQ populations have sex distributions that are very different from the household population. The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the sex distribution. This is particularly true for a given geographic area. This is particularly true for areas with a substantial GQ population.

The Census Bureau tested the changes introduced to the 2008 version of the sex question in the 2007 ACS Grid-Sequential Test ( The results of this testing show that the changes may introduce an inconsistency in the data produced for this question as observed from the years 2007 to 2008.

Sex is generally comparable across different data sources and data years.

However, data users should still be aware of methodological differences that may exist between different data sources if they are comparing American Community Survey sex data to other data sources, such as Population Estimates or Decennial Census data. For example, the American Community Survey data are that of a respondent-based survey and subject to various quality measures, such as sampling and nonsampling error, response rates and item allocation. This differs in design and methodology from other data sources, such as Population Estimates, which is not a survey and involves computational methodology to derive intercensal estimates of the population. While ACS estimates are controlled to Population Estimates for sex at the nation, state and county levels of geography as part of the ACS weighting procedure, variation may exist in the sex structure of a population at lower levels of geography when comparing different time periods or comparing across time due to the absence of controls below the county geography level. For more information on American Community Survey data accuracy and weighting procedures, please see

It should also be noted that although the American Community Survey (ACS) produces population, demographic and housing unit estimates, it is the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program that produces and disseminates the official estimates of the population for the nation, states, counties, cities and towns and estimates of housing units for states and counties.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2008-2010 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
Occupation describes the kind of work a person does on the job. Occupation data were derived from answers to questions 45 and 46. Question 45 asks: "What kind of work was this person doing?" Question 46 asks: "What were this person's most important activities or duties?"

These questions were asked of all people 15 years old and over who had worked in the past 5 years. For employed people, the data refer to the person's job during the previous week. For those who worked two or more jobs, the data refer to the job where the person worked the greatest number of hours. For unemployed people and people who are not currently employed but report having a job within the last five years, the data refer to their last job.

These questions describe the work activity and occupational experience of the American labor force. Data are used to formulate policy and programs for employment, career development and training; to provide information on the occupational skills of the labor force in a given area to analyze career trends; and to measure compliance with antidiscrimination policies. Companies use these data to decide where to locate new plants, stores, or offices.

Coding Procedures
Occupation statistics are compiled from data that are coded based on the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Manual: 2010, published by the Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget. Census occupation codes, based on the 2010 SOC, provide 539 specific occupational categories, for employed people, including military, arranged into 23 major occupational groups.

Respondents provided the data for the tabulations by writing on the questionnaires descriptions of the kind of work and activities they are doing. Clerical staff in the National Processing Center in Jeffersonville, Indiana converted the written questionnaire descriptions to codes by comparing these descriptions to entries in the Alphabetical Index of Industries and Occupations.

Some occupation groups are related closely to certain industries. Operators of transportation equipment, farm operators and workers, and healthcare providers account for major portions of their respective industries of transportation, agriculture, and health care. However, the industry categories include people in other occupations. For example, people employed in agriculture include truck drivers and bookkeepers; people employed in the transportation industry include mechanics, freight handlers, and payroll clerks; and people employed in the health care industry include janitors, security guards, and secretaries.

Editing Procedures
Following the coding operation, a computer edit and allocation process excludes all responses that should not be included in the universe, and evaluates the consistency of the remaining responses. The codes for occupation are checked for consistency with the industry and class of worker data provided for that respondent. Occasionally respondents supply occupation descriptions that are not sufficiently specific for precise classification, or they do not report on these questions at all. Certain types of incomplete entries are corrected using the Alphabetical Index of Industries and Occupations.

If one or more of the three codes (occupation, industry, or class of worker) is blank after the edit, a code is assigned from a donor respondent who is a "similar" person based on questions such as age, sex, educational attainment, income, employment status, and weeks worked. If all of the labor force and income data are blank, all of these economic questions are assigned from a "similar" person who had provided all the necessary data.

Question/Concept History
Occupation data have been collected during decennial censuses since 1850. Starting with the 2010 Census, occupation data will no longer be collected during the decennial census. Long form data collection has transitioned to the American Community Survey. The American Community Survey began collecting data on occupation in 1996. The questions on occupation were designed to be consistent with the 1990 Census questions on occupation. American Community Survey questions on occupation have remained consistent between 1996 and 2010.

Limitation of the Data
Beginning in 2006, the population in group quarters (GQ) was included in the ACS. Some types of GQ populations have occupational distributions that are different from the household population. The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the occupational distribution in some geographic areas with a substantial GQ population.

Data on occupation, industry, and class of worker are collected for the respondent's current primary job or the most recent job for those who are not employed but have worked in the last 5 years. Other labor force questions, such as questions on earnings or work hours, may have different reference periods and may not limit the response to the primary job. Although the prevalence of multiple jobs is low, data on some labor force items may not exactly correspond to the reported occupation, industry, or class of worker of a respondent.

Comparability of occupation data was affected by a number of factors, primarily the system used to classify the questionnaire responses. Changes in the occupational classification system limit comparability of the data from one year to another. These changes are needed to recognize the "birth" of new occupations, the "death" of others, the growth and decline in existing occupations, and the desire of analysts and other users for more detail in the presentation of the data. Probably the greatest cause of noncomparability is the movement of a segment from one category to another. Changes in the nature of jobs, respondent terminology, and refinement of category composition made these movements necessary.

ACS data from 1996 to 1999 used the same occupation classification systems used for the 1990 census; therefore, the data are comparable. Since 1990, the occupation classification has been revised to reflect changes within the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC). The SOC was updated in 2000 and these changes were reflected in the Census 2000 occupation codes. The 2000-2002 ACS data used the same occupation classification systems used for Census 2000, therefore, the data are comparable. Because of the possibility of new occupations being added to the list of codes, the Census Bureau needed to have more flexibility in adding codes. Consequently, in 2002, census occupation codes were expanded from three-digit codes to four-digit codes. For occupation, this entailed adding a "0" to the
end of each occupation code. The SOC was revised once more in 2010. Based on the 2010 SOC changes, Census codes were revised resulting in a net gain of 30 Census occupation codes (from 509 occupations to 539 occupations). Most of these changes were concentrated in information technology, healthcare, printing, and human resources occupations. For more information on occupational comparability across classification systems, please see technical paper #65: The Relationship Between the 1990 Census and Census 2000 Industry and Occupation Classification Systems. For information on the 2010 SOC and Census codes, please see the summary of 2010 changes and the Census 2002 to 2010 occupation crosswalk.

See the 2010 Code List for Occupation Code List.

See also, Industry and Class of Worker.

Full-Time, Year-Round Workers
All people 16 years old and over who usually worked 35 hours or more per week for 50 to 52 weeks in the past 12 months.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2008-2010 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
Civilian Employed
This term is defined exactly the same as the term "employed" above.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2008-2010 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
This category includes all civilians 16 years old and over who either (1) were "at work," that is, those who did any work at all during the reference week as paid employees, worked in their own business or profession, worked on their own farm, or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers on a family farm or in a family business; or (2) were "with a job but not at work," that is, those who did not work during the reference week but had jobs or businesses from which they were temporarily absent due to illness, bad weather, industrial dispute, vacation, or other personal reasons. Excluded from the employed are people whose only activity consisted of work around the house or unpaid volunteer work for religious, charitable, and similar organizations; also excluded are all institutionalized people and people on active duty in the United States Armed Forces.