Data Dictionary: ACS 2009 -- 2011 (3-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 2009-2011 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.