Data Dictionary: ACS 2010 -- 2012 (3-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Table: B21005. Age By Veteran Status By Employment Status For The Civilian Population 18 To 64 Years [34]
Universe: Universe: Civilian population 18 to 64 years
Table Details
B21005. Age By Veteran Status By Employment Status For The Civilian Population 18 To 64 Years
Universe: Universe: Civilian population 18 to 64 years
Variable Label
B21005001
B21005002
B21005003
B21005004
B21005005
B21005006
B21005007
B21005008
B21005009
B21005010
B21005011
B21005012
B21005013
B21005014
B21005015
B21005016
B21005017
B21005018
B21005019
B21005020
B21005021
B21005022
B21005023
B21005024
B21005025
B21005026
B21005027
B21005028
B21005029
B21005030
B21005031
B21005032
B21005033
B21005034
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2012 3yr Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Age
The data on age were derived from answers to Question 4 in the 2012 American Community Survey. The age classification is based on the age of the person in complete years at the time of interview. Both age and date of birth are used in combination to calculate the most accurate age at the time of the interview. Respondents are asked to give an age in whole, completed years as of interview date as well as the month, day and year of birth. People are not to round an age up if the person is close to having a birthday, and to estimate an age if the exact age is not known. An additional instruction on babies also asks respondents to print "0" for babies less than one year old. Inconsistently reported and missing values are assigned or imputed based on the values of other variables for that person, from other people in the household, or from people in other households ("hot deck" imputation).

Age is asked for all persons in a household or group quarters. On the mailout/mailback paper questionnaire for households, both age and date of birth are asked for persons listed as person numbers 1-5 on the form. Only age (in years) is initially asked for persons listed as 6-12 on the mailout/mailback paper questionnaire. If a respondent indicates that there are more than 5 people living in the household, 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 date of birth for any person in the household missing date of birth information. In Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews (CATI) and Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) instruments both age and date of birth is asked for all persons. In 2006, the ACS began collecting data in group quarters (GQs). This included asking both age and date of birth for persons living in a group quarters. For additional data collection methodology, please see http://www.census.gov/acs.

Data on age are used to determine the applicability of other questions for a particular individual and to classify other characteristics in tabulations. Age data are needed to interpret most social and economic characteristics used to plan and analyze programs and policies. Age is central for any number of federal programs that target funds or services to children, working-age adults, women of childbearing age, or the older population. The U.S. Department of Education uses census age data in its formula for allotment to states. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs uses age to develop its mandated state projections on the need for hospitals, nursing homes, cemeteries, domiciliary services, and other benefits for veterans. For more information on the use of age data in Federal programs, please see http://www.census.gov/acs.

Median Age
The median age is the age that divides the population into two equal-size groups. Half of the population is older than the median age and half is younger. Median age is based on a standard distribution of the population by single years of age and is shown to the nearest tenth of a year. (See the sections on "Standard Distributions" and "Medians" under "Derived Measures.")

Age Dependency Ratio
The age dependency ratio is derived by dividing the combined under 18 years and 65 years and over populations by the 18-to-64 population and multiplying by 100.

Old-Age Dependency Ratio
The old-age dependency ratio is derived by dividing the population 65 years and over by the 18-to-64 population and multiplying by 100.

Child Dependency Ratio
The child dependency ratio is derived by dividing the population under 18 years by the 18-to-64 population, and multiplying by 100.

Question/Concept History

The 1996-2002 American Community Survey question asked for month, day, and year of birth before age. Since 2003, the American Community Survey question asked for age, followed by month, day, and year of birth. In 2008, an additional instruction was provided with the age and date of birth question on the American Community Survey questionnaire to report babies as age 0 when the child was less than 1 year old. The addition of this instruction occurred after 2005 National Census Test results indicated increased accuracy of age reporting for babies less than one year old.

Limitation of the Data

Beginning in 2006, the population living in group quarters (GQ) was included in the American Community Survey population universe. Some types of group quarters have populations with age distributions that are very different from that of the household population. The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the age distribution for a given geographic area. This is particularly true for areas with a substantial GQ population. For example, in areas with large colleges and universities, the percent of individuals 18-24 would increase due to the inclusion of GQs in the American Community Survey universe.

Comparability

Caution should be taken when comparing population in age groups across time. The entire population continually ages into older age groups over time, and babies fill in the youngest age group. Therefore, the population of a certain age is made up of a completely different group of people in one time period than in another (e.g. one age group in 2000 versus same age group in 2012). Since populations occasionally experience booms/increases and busts/decreases in births, deaths, or migration (for example, the postwar Baby Boom from 1946-1964), one should not necessarily expect that the population in an age group in one year should be similar in size or proportion to the population in the same age group in a different period in time. For example, Baby Boomers were age 36 to 54 in Census 2000 while they were age 47 to 65 in the 2012 ACS. The age structure and distribution would therefore shift in those age groups to reflect the change in people occupying those age- specific groups over time.

Data users should also be aware of methodology differences that may exist between different data sources if they are comparing American Community Survey age data to 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 error. 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 age at the nation, state and county levels of geography as part of the ACS weighting procedure, variation may exist in the age 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 http://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 (http://factfinder2.census.gov).

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2012 3yr Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Veteran Status
Data on veteran status and period of military service were derived from answers to Questions 26 and 27 in the 2012 American Community Survey.

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.

Also, Veteran Status is:

  • 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" on the ACS website (http://census.gov/acs).

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" on the ACS website (http://census.gov/acs).

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 in 2012 American Community Survey.

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" on the ACS website (http://census.gov/acs).

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" on the ACS website (http://census.gov/acs).

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 2012 3yr Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Employment Status
The data on employment status were derived from Questions 29 and 35 to 37 in the 2012 American Community Survey. (In the 1999-2002 American Community Survey, data were derived from Questions 22 and 28 to 30; in the 1996-1998 American Community Survey, data were derived from Questions 21 and 28 to 30.) The questions were asked of all people 15 years old and over. The series of questions on employment status was designed to identify, in this sequence: (1) people who worked at any time during the reference week; (2) people on temporary layoff who were available for work; (3) people who did not work during the reference week but who had jobs or businesses from which they were temporarily absent (excluding layoff); (4) people who did not work during the reference week, but who were looking for work during the last four weeks and were available for work during the reference week; and (5) people not in the labor force. (For more information, see the discussion under "Reference Week.")

The employment status data shown in American Community Survey tabulations relate to people 16 years old and over.

Employment status is key to understanding work and unemployment patterns and the availability of workers. Based on labor market areas and unemployment levels, the U.S. Department of Labor identifies service delivery areas and determines amounts to be allocated to each for job training. The impact of immigration on the economy and job markets is determined partially by labor force data, and this information is included in required reports to Congress. The Office of Management and Budget, under the Paperwork Reduction Act, uses data about employed workers as part of the criteria for defining metropolitan areas. The Bureau of Economic Analysis uses this information, in conjunction with other data, to develop its state per capita income estimates used in the allocation formulas and eligibility criteria for many federal programs such as Medicaid.

Employed
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.

Civilian Employed
This term is defined exactly the same as the term "employed" above.

Unemployed
All civilians 16 years old and over are classified as unemployed if they (1) were neither "at work" nor "with a job but not at work" during the reference week, and (2) were actively looking for work during the last 4 weeks, and (3) were available to start a job. Also included as unemployed are civilians who did not work at all during the reference week, were waiting to be called back to a job from which they had been laid off, and were available for work except for temporary illness. Examples of job seeking activities are:

  • Registering at a public or private employment office
  • Meeting with prospective employers
  • Investigating possibilities for starting a professional practice or opening a business
  • Placing or answering advertisements
  • Writing letters of application
  • Being on a union or professional register


Civilian Labor Force
Consists of people classified as employed or unemployed in accordance with the criteria described above.

Unemployment Rate
The unemployment rate represents the number of unemployed people as a percentage of the civilian labor force. For example, if the civilian labor force equals 100 people and 7 people are unemployed, then the unemployment rate would be 7 percent.

Labor Force
All people classified in the civilian labor force plus members of the U.S. Armed Forces (people on active duty with the United States Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard).

Labor Force Participation Rate
The labor force participation rate represents the proportion of the population that is in the labor force. For example, if there are 100 people in the population 16 years and over, and 64 of them are in the labor force, then the labor force participation rate for the population 16 years and over would be 64 percent.

Not in Labor Force
All people 16 years old and over who are not classified as members of the labor force. This category consists mainly of students, homemakers, retired workers, seasonal workers interviewed in an off season who were not looking for work, institutionalized people, and people doing only incidental unpaid family work (less than 15 hours during the reference week).

Worker
This term appears in connection with several subjects: employment status, journey-to-work questions, class of worker, weeks worked in the past 12 months, and number of workers in family in the past 12 months. The meaning varies and, therefore, should be determined in each case by referring to the definition of the subject in which it appears. When used in the concepts "workers in family" and "full-time, year-round workers," the term "worker" relates to the meaning of work defined for the "work experience" subject.

Question/Concept History -

Worked Last Week (Question 29 in the 2012 American Community Survey): From 1999-2007, an italicized instruction was added to the question to help respondents determine what to count as work. Starting in 2008, the instruction was removed and the question wasseparated into two parts in an effort to give respondents - particularly people with irregular kinds of work arrangements - two opportunities to grasp and respond to the correct intent of the question.

On Layoff (Question 35a in the 2012 American Community Survey): Starting in 1999, the "Yes, on temporary layoff from most recent job" and "Yes, permanently laid off from most recent job" response categories were condensed into a single "Yes" category. An additional question (Q35b) was added to determine the temporary/permanent layoff distinction.

Temporarily Absent (Question 35b in the 2012 American Community Survey): Starting in 2008, the temporarily absent question included a revised list of examples of work absences.

Recalled to Work (Question 35c in the 2012 American Community Survey): This question was added in the 1999 American Community Survey to determine if a respondent who reported being on layoff from a job had been informed that he or she would be recalled to work within 6 months or been given a date to return to work.

Looking for Work (Question 36 in the 2012 American Community Survey): Starting in 2008, the actively looking for work question was modified to emphasize 'active' job- searching activities.

Available to Work (Question 37 in the 2012 American Community Survey): Starting in 1999, the "Yes, if a job had been offered" and "Yes, if recalled from layoff' response categories were condensed into one category, "Yes, could have gone to work."

Limitation of the Data

The data may understate the number of employed people because people who have irregular, casual, or unstructured jobs sometimes report themselves as not working. The number of employed people "at work" is probably overstated in the data (and conversely, the number of employed "with a job, but not at work" is understated) since some people on vacation or sick leave erroneously reported themselves as working. This problem has no effect on the total number of employed people. The reference week for the employment data is not the same for all people. Since people can change their employment status from one week to another, the lack of a uniform reference week may mean that the employment data do not reflect the reality of the employment situation of any given week. (For more information, see the discussion under "Reference Week.")

Beginning in 2006, the population in group quarters (GQ) is included in the ACS. Some types of GQ populations have employment status distributions that are different from the household population. All institutionalized people are placed in the "not in labor force category." The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the employment status distribution. This is particularly true for areas with a substantial GQ population. For example, in areas having a large state prison population, the employment rate would be expected to decrease because the base of the percentage, which now includes the population in correctional institutions, is larger.

The Census Bureau tested the changes introduced to the 2008 version of the employment status questions in the 2006 ACS Content Test. The results of this testing show that the changes may introduce an inconsistency in the data produced for these questions as observed from the years 2007 to 2008, see "2006 ACS Content Test Evaluation Report Covering Employment Status" on the ACS website (http://www.census.gov/acs).

Along with the 2008 ACS release, the Census Bureau produced a research note comparing 2007 and 2008 ACS employment estimates to 2007 and 2008 Current Population Survey (CPS)/Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) estimates. The research note shows that the changes to the employment status series of questions in the 2008 ACS will make ACS labor force data more consistent with benchmark data from the CPS and LAUS program. For more information, see "Changes to the American Community Survey between 2007 and 2008 and the Effects on the Estimates of Employment and Unemployment" (http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/laborfor/researchnote092209.html).

Comparability

Since employment data from the American Community Survey are obtained from respondents in households, they differ from statistics based on reports from individual business establishments, farm enterprises, and certain government programs. People employed at more than one job are counted only once in the American Community Survey and are classified according to the job at which they worked the greatest number of hours during the reference week. In statistics based on reports from business and farm establishments, people who work for more than one establishment may be counted more than once. Moreover, some tabulations may exclude private household workers, unpaid family workers, and self-employed people, but may include workers less than 16 years of age.
An additional difference in the data arises from the fact that people who had a job but were not at work are included with the employed in the American Community Survey statistics, whereas many of these people are likely to be excluded from employment figures based on establishment payroll reports. Furthermore, the employment status data in tabulations include people on the basis of place of residence regardless of where they work, whereas establishment data report people at their place of work regardless of where they live. This latter consideration is particularly significant when comparing data for workers who commute between areas.

For several reasons, the unemployment figures of the Census Bureau are not comparable with published figures on unemployment compensation claims. For example, figures on unemployment compensation claims exclude people who have exhausted their benefit rights, new workers who have not earned rights to unemployment insurance, and people losing jobs not covered by unemployment insurance systems (including some workers in agriculture, domestic services, and religious organizations, and self-employed and unpaid family workers). In addition, the qualifications for drawing unemployment compensation differ from the definition of unemployment used by the Census Bureau. People working only a few hours during the week and people with a job but not at work are sometimes eligible for unemployment compensation but are classified as "Employed" in the American Community Survey. Differences in the geographical distribution of unemployment data arise because the place where claims are filed may not necessarily be the same as the place of residence of the unemployed worker.
For guidance on differences in employment and unemployment estimates from different sources, go to (http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/laborfor/laborguidance082504.html.