Data Dictionary: ACS 2011 (1-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Table: B20003. Aggregate Earnings In The Past 12 Months (In 2011 Inflation-Adjusted Dollars) By Sex By Work Experience For The Population 16 Years And Over With Earnings [7]
Universe: Universe: Population 16 years and over with earnings
Table Details
B20003. Aggregate Earnings In The Past 12 Months (In 2011 Inflation-Adjusted Dollars) By Sex By Work Experience For The Population 16 Years And Over With Earnings
Universe: Universe: Population 16 years and over with earnings
Relevant Documentation:
Aggregate Earnings
Aggregate earnings are the sum of wage/salary and net self- employment income for a particular universe of people 16 years old and over. Aggregate earnings are rounded to the nearest hundred dollars. (For more information, see "Aggregate" under "Derived Measures.")

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2011 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Sex
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 see www.census.gov/acs.

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 see www.census.gov/acs.

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 (www.census.gov/acs). 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.

Comparability
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 www.census.gov/acs.

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 2011 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Veteran Status
Data on veteran status and period of military service were derived from answers to Questions 26 and 27.
Veteran Status
Veterans are men and women who have served (even for a short time), but are not currently serving, on active duty in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or the Coast Guard, or who served in the U.S. Merchant Marine during World War II. People who served in the National Guard or Reserves are classified as veterans only if they were ever called or ordered to active duty, not counting the 4-6 months for initial training or yearly summer camps. All other civilians are classified as nonveterans.

While it is possible for 17 year olds to be veterans of the Armed Forces, ACS data products are restricted to the population 18 years and older.

Answers to this question provide specific information about veterans. Veteran status is used to identify people with active duty military service and service in the military Reserves and the National Guard. ACS data define civilian veteran as a person 18 years old and over who served (even for a short time), but is not now serving on acting duty in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard, or who served as a Merchant Marine seaman during World War II. Individuals who have training for Reserves or National Guard but no active duty service are not considered veterans in the ACS. These data are used primarily by the Department of Veterans Affairs to measure the needs of veterans.

Other uses include:

  • Used at state and county levels to plan programs for medical and nursing home care for veterans.
  • Used by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to plan the locations and sizes of veterans' cemeteries.
  • Used by local agencies, under the Older Americans Act, to develop health care and other services for elderly veterans.
Used to allocate funds to states and local areas for employment and job training programs for veterans under the Job Training Partnership Act.

Question/Concept History
For the 1999-2002 American Community Survey, the question was changed to match the Census 2000 item. The response categories were modified by expanding the "No active duty service" answer category to distinguish persons whose only military service was for training in the Reserves or National Guard, from persons with no military experience whatsoever.

Beginning in 2003, the "Yes, on active duty in the past, but not now" category was split into two categories. Veterans are now asked whether or not their service ended in the last 12 months.

Limitation of the Data
There may be a tendency for the following kinds of persons to report erroneously that they served on active duty in the Armed Forces: (a) persons who served in the National Guard or Military Reserves but were never called to duty; (b) civilian employees or volunteers for the USO, Red Cross, or the Department of Defense (or its predecessors, the Department of War and the Department of the Navy); and (c) employees of the Merchant Marine or Public Health Service.

Beginning in 2006, the population in group quarters (GQ) was included in the ACS. Some types of GQ populations may have period of military service and veteran status distributions that are different from the household population. The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the period of service and veteran status distributions. This is particularly true for areas with a substantial GQ population.

Comparability
The ACS has two separate questions for veteran status and period of military service, whereas in Census 2000, it was a two-part question. The wording for the veteran status question remains the same, however, the response categories have changed over time (see the section "Question/Concept History").

The Group Quarters (GQ) population was included in the 2006 ACS and not included in prior years of ACS data, thus comparisons should be made only if the geographic area of interest does not include a substantial GQ population.

For comparisons to the Current Population Survey (CPS), please see "Comparison of ACS and ASEC Data on Veteran Status and Period of Military Service: 2007."

Period of Military Service
People who indicate that they had ever served on active duty in the past or were currently on active duty are asked to indicate the period or periods in which they served. Currently, there are 11 periods of service on the ACS questionnaire. Respondents are instructed to mark a box for each period in which they served, even if just for part of the period. The periods were determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs and generally alternate between peacetime and wartime, with a few exceptions. The responses to this question are edited for consistency and reasonableness. The edit eliminates inconsistencies between reported period(s) of service and age of the person; it also removes reported combinations of periods containing unreasonable gaps (for example, it will not accept a response that indicated the person had served in World War II and in the Vietnam era, but not in the Korean conflict).

Period of military service distinguishes veterans who served during wartime periods from those whose only service was during peacetime. Questions about period of military service provide necessary information to estimate the number of veterans who are eligible to receive specific benefits.

Question/Concept History
In 1999, the response categories were modified by closing the "August 1990 or later (including Persian Gulf War)" period at March 1995, and adding the "April 1995" or later category.

For the 2001-2002 American Community Survey question, the response category was changed from "Korean conflict" to "Korean War."
Beginning in 2003, the response categories for the question were modified in several ways. The first category "April 1995 or later" was changed to "September 2001 or later" to reflect the era that began after the events of September 11, 2001; the second category "August 1990 to March 1995" was then expanded to "August 1990 to August 2001 (including Persian Gulf War)." The category "February 1955 to July 1964" was split into two categories: "March 1961 to July 1964" and "February 1955 to February 1961." To match the revised dates for war-time periods of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the dates for the "World War II" category were changed from "September 1940 to July 1947" to "December 1941 to December 1946," and the dates for the "Korean War" were changed from "June 1950 to January 1955" to "July 1950 to January 1955." To increase specificity, the "Some other time" category was split into two categories: "January 1947 to June 1950" and "November 1941 or earlier."
Limitation of the Data
There may be a tendency for people to mark the most recent period in which they served or the period in which they began their service, but not all periods in which they served.

Beginning in 2006, the population in group quarters (GQ) is included in the ACS. Some types of GQ populations may have period of military service and veteran status distributions that are different from the household population. The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the period of service and veteran status distributions. This is particularly true for areas with a substantial GQ population.
Comparability
Since Census 2000, the period of military service categories on the ACS questionnaire were updated to: 1) include the most recent period "September 2001 or later;" 2) list all "peace time" periods without showing a date-breakup in the list; and 3) update the Korean War and World War II dates to match the official dates as listed in US Code, Title 38. While the response categories differ slightly from those in Census 2000, data from the two questions can still be compared to one another.

Due to an editing error, veteran's period of service (VPS) prior to 2007 was being incorrectly assigned for some individuals. The majority of the errors misclassified some people who reported only serving during the Vietnam Era as having served in the category "Gulf War and Vietnam Era." The remainder of the errors misclassified some people who reported only serving between the Vietnam Era and Gulf War as having served in the category "Gulf War."

The Group Quarters (GQ) population was included in the 2006 ACS and not included in prior years of ACS data, thus comparisons should be made only if the geographic area of interest does not include a substantial GQ population.

For comparisons to the Current Population Survey (CPS), please see "Comparison of ACS and ASEC Data on Veteran Status and Period of Military Service: 2007."

Service-Connected Disability Status and Ratings
Data on service-connected disability- rating status and service-connected disability ratings were derived from answers to Questions 28a and 28b.

Service-Connected Disability-Rating Status
People who indicated they had served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, military Reserves, or National Guard, or trained with the Reserves or National Guard or were now on active duty were asked to indicate whether or not they had a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) service-connected disability rating. These disabilities are evaluated according to the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities in Title 38, U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Part 4.

"Service-connected" means the disability was a result of disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) uses a priority system to allocate health care services among veterans enrolled in its programs. Data on service-connected disability status and ratings are used by the Department of Veterans Affairs to measure the demand for VA health care services in local market areas across the country as well as to classify veterans into priority groups for VA health care enrollment.

Question/Concept History
This question was added to the American Community Survey in 2008. For more information, see "Evaluation Report Covering Service-Connected Disability."
Limitation of the Data
There may be a tendency for people to erroneously report having a 0 percent rating when they have no service-connected disability rating at all.
Comparability
The question was not asked in Census 2000. It was added to the ACS in 2008.

Service-Connected Disability Rating
This question is asked of people who reported having a VA service-connected disability rating. These ratings are graduated according to degrees of disability on a scale from 0 to 100 percent, in increments of 10 percent. The ratings determine the amount of compensation payments made to the veterans. A zero-rating, which is different than having no rating at all, means a disability exists but it is not so disabling that it entitles the veteran to compensation payments.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) uses a priority system to allocate health care services among veterans enrolled in its programs. Data on service-connected disability status and ratings are used by the Department of Veterans Affairs to measure the demand for VA health care services in local market areas across the country as well as to classify veterans into priority groups for VA health care enrollment.

Question/Concept History
This question was added to the American Community Survey in 2008. For more information, see "Evaluation Report Covering Service-Connected Disability."

Limitation of the Data
There may be a tendency for people to erroneously report having a 0 percent rating when they have no service-connected disability rating at all.
Comparability
The question was not asked in Census 2000. It was added to the ACS in 2008.
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2011 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Work Experience
The data on work experience were derived from answers to Questions 38, 39, and 40. This term relates to work status in the past 12 months, weeks worked in the past 12 months, and usual hours worked per week worked in the past 12 months.

To comply with provisions of the Civil Rights Act, the U.S. Department of Justice uses these data to determine the availability of individuals for work. Government agencies, in considering the programmatic and policy aspects of providing federal assistance to areas, have emphasized the requirements for reliable data to determine the employment resources available. Data about the number of weeks and hours worked last year are essential because these data allow the characterization of workers by full-time/part-time and full-year/part-year status. Data about working last year are also necessary for collecting accurate income data by defining the universe of persons who should have earnings as part of their total income.
Work Status in the Past 12 Months
The data on work status in the past 12 months were derived from answers to Question 38. People 16 years old and over who worked 1 or more weeks according to the criteria described below are classified as "Worked in the past 12 months." All other people 16 years old and over are classified as "Did not work in the past 12 months."
Weeks Worked in the Past 12 Months
The data on weeks worked in the past 12 months were derived from responses to Question 39, which was asked of people 16 years old and over who indicated that they worked during the past 12 months.

The data pertain to the number of weeks during the past 12 months in which a person did any work for pay or profit (including paid vacation and paid sick leave) or worked without pay on a family farm or in a family business. Weeks of active service in the Armed Forces are also included.

Usual Hours Worked Per Week Worked in the Past 12 Months
The data on usual hours worked per week worked in the past 12 months were derived from answers to Question 40. This question was asked of people 16 years old and over who indicated that they worked during the past 12 months.

The data pertain to the number of hours a person usually worked during the weeks worked in the past 12 months. The respondent was to report the number of hours worked per week in the majority of the weeks he or she worked in the past 12 months. If the hours worked per week varied considerably during the past 12 months, the respondent was to report an approximate average of the hours worked per week.

People 16 years old and over who reported that they usually worked 35 or more hours each week during the weeks they worked are classified as "Usually worked full time;" people who reported that they usually worked 1 to 34 hours are classified as "Usually worked part time."
Aggregate Usual Hours Worked Per Week in the Past 12 Months
Aggregate usual hours worked is the sum of the values for usual hours worked each week of all the people in a particular universe. (For more information, see "Aggregate" under "Derived Measures.")
Mean Usual Hours Worked Per Week in the Past 12 Months
Mean usual hours worked is the number obtained by dividing the aggregate number of hours worked each week of a particular universe by the number of people in that universe. For example, mean usual hours worked for workers 16 to 64 years old is obtained by dividing the aggregate usual hours worked each week for workers 16 to 64 years old by the total number of workers 16 to 64 years old. Mean usual hours worked values are rounded to the nearest one-tenth of an hour. (For more information, see "Mean" under "Derived Measures.")
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.
Number of Workers in Family in the Past 12 Months
The term "worker" as used for these data is defined based on the criteria for work status in the past 12 months.
Question/Concept History
Beginning in 2008, the weeks worked question was separated into 2 parts: part (a) asked whether the respondent worked 50 or more weeks in the past 12 months and part (b) asked respondents who answered 'no' to part (a) how many weeks they worked, even for a few hours.

Limitation of the Data
It is probable that the number of people who worked in the past 12 months and the number of weeks worked are understated since there is some tendency for respondents to forget intermittent or short periods of employment or to exclude weeks worked without pay. There may also be a tendency for people not to include weeks of paid vacation among their weeks worked; one result may be that the American Community Survey figures understate the number of people who worked "50 to 52 weeks."

The American Community Survey data refer to the 12 months preceding the date of interview. Since not all people in the American Community Survey were interviewed at the same time, the reference period for the American Community Survey data is neither fixed nor uniform.

Beginning in 2006, the population in group quarters (GQ) is included in the ACS. Some types of GQ populations may have work experience distributions that are different from the household population. The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the work experience distribution. This is particularly true for areas with a substantial GQ population.

The Census Bureau tested the changes introduced to the 2008 version of the weeks worked question in the 2006 ACS Content 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, see "2006 ACS Content Test Evaluation Report Covering Weeks Worked" (www.census.gov/acs).

Comparability
For information on Work Experience data comparability, please see the comparability section for Employment Status.