Data Dictionary: Census 1990
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Survey: Census 1990
Data Source: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau
Table: T109. Period Of Military Service for Civilian veterans 16 years and over [8]
Universe: Civilian veterans 16 years and over
Table Details
T109. Period Of Military Service for Civilian veterans 16 years and over
Universe: Civilian veterans 16 years and over
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer, U.S. Census Bureau; Census of Population and Housing, 1990: Summary Tape File 3 on CD-ROM [machine-readable data files] / prepared by the Bureau of the Census. Washington: The Bureau [producer and distributor], 1991.
 
Period of Military Service
Persons who indicated in question 17a that they had served on active duty (civilian veterans) or were now on active duty were asked to indicate in question 17b the period or periods in which they served. Persons serving in at least one wartime period are classified in their most recent wartime period. For example, persons who served both during the Korean conflict and the post-Korean peacetime era between February 1955 and July 1964 are classified in one of the two "Korean conflict" categories. If the same person had also served during the Vietnam era, he or she would instead be included in the "Vietnam era and Korean conflict" category. The responses were edited to eliminate inconsistencies between reported period(s) of service and the age of the person and to cancel out reported combinations of periods containing unreasonable gaps (for example, a person could not serve during World War I and the Korean conflict without serving during World War II). Note that the period of service categories shown in this report are mutually exclusive.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer, U.S. Census Bureau; Census of Population and Housing, 1990: Summary Tape File 3 on CD-ROM [machine-readable data files] / prepared by the Bureau of the Census. Washington: The Bureau [producer and distributor], 1991.
 
Veteran Status
The data on veteran status were derived from responses to question 17a. For census data products, a "civilian veteran" is a person 16 years old or over who had served (even for a short time) but is not now serving on active duty in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or the Coast Guard, or who served as a Merchant Marine seaman during World War II. Persons who served in the National Guard or military 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 16 years old and over are classified as nonveterans.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer, U.S. Census Bureau; Census of Population and Housing, 1990: Summary Tape File 3 on CD-ROM [machine-readable data files] / prepared by the Bureau of the Census. Washington: The Bureau [producer and distributor], 1991.
 
Age
The data on age were derived from answers to questionnaire item 5, which was asked of all persons. The age classification is based on the age of the person in complete years as of April 1, 1990. The age response in question 5a was used normally to represent a person's age. However, when the age response was unacceptable or unavailable, a person's age was derived from an acceptable year-of-birth response in question 5b.

Data on age are used to determine the applicability of other questions for a person and to classify other characteristics in census tabulations. Age data are needed to interpret most social and economic characteristics used to plan and examine many programs and policies. Therefore, age is tabulated by single years of age and by many different groupings, such as 5-year age groups.

Some tabulations are shown by the age of the householder. These data were derived from the age responses for each householder. (For more information on householder, see the discussion under "Household Type and Relationship.")

Median Age
This measure divides the age distribution into two equal parts: one-half of the cases falling below the median value and one-half above the value. Generally, median age is computed on the basis of more detailed age intervals than are shown in some census publications; thus, a median based on a less detailed distribution may differ slightly from a corresponding median for the same population based on a more detailed distribution. (For more information on medians, see the discussion under "Derived Measures.")

Limitation of the Data
Counts in 1970 and 1980 for persons 100 years old and over were substantially overstated. Improvements were made in the questionnaire design, in the allocation procedures, and to the respondent instruction guide to attempt to minimize this problem for the 1990 census.

Review of detailed 1990 census information indicated that respondents tended to provide their age as of the date of completion of the questionnaire, not their age as of April 1, 1990. In addition, there may have been a tendency for respondents to round their age up if they were close to having a birthday. It is likely that approximately 10 percent of persons in most age groups are actually 1 year younger. For most single years of age, the misstatements are largely offsetting. The problem is most pronounced at age 0 because persons lost to age 1 may not have been fully offset by the inclusion of babies born after April 1, 1990, and because there may have been more rounding up to age 1 to avoid reporting age as 0 years. (Age in complete months was not collected for infants under age 1.)

The reporting of age 1 year older than age on April 1, 1990, is likely to have been greater in areas where the census data were collected later in 1990. The magnitude of this problem was much less in the three previous censuses where age was typically derived from respondent data on year of birth and quarter of birth. (For more information on the design of the age question, see the section below that discusses "Comparability.")

Comparability
Age data have been collected in every census. For the first time since 1950, the 1990 data are not available by quarter year of age. This change was made so that coded information could be obtained for both age and year of birth. In each census since 1940, the age of a person was assigned when it was not reported. In censuses before 1940, with the exception of 1880, persons of unknown age were shown as a separate category. Since 1960, assignment of unknown age has been performed by a general procedure described as "imputation." The specific procedures for imputing age have been different in each census. (For more information on imputation, see Appendix C, Accuracy of the Data.)