Data Dictionary: Census 1990
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Survey: Census 1990
Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Table: P12. Race By Sex By Age [326]
Universe: Persons
Table Details
P12. Race By Sex By Age
Universe: Persons
Variable Label
P012_001
P012_002
P012_003
P012_004
P012_005
P012_006
P012_007
P012_008
P012_009
P012_010
P012_011
P012_012
P012_013
P012_014
P012_015
P012_016
P012_017
P012_018
P012_019
P012_020
P012_021
P012_022
P012_023
P012_024
P012_025
P012_026
P012_027
P012_028
P012_029
P012_030
P012_031
P012_032
P012_033
P012_034
P012_035
P012_036
P012_037
P012_038
P012_039
P012_040
P012_041
P012_042
P012_043
P012_044
P012_045
P012_046
P012_047
P012_048
P012_049
P012_050
P012_051
P012_052
P012_053
P012_054
P012_055
P012_056
P012_057
P012_058
P012_059
P012_060
P012_061
P012_062
P012_063
P012_064
P012_065
P012_066
P012_067
P012_068
P012_069
P012_070
P012_071
P012_072
P012_073
P012_074
P012_075
P012_076
P012_077
P012_078
P012_079
P012_080
P012_081
P012_082
P012_083
P012_084
P012_085
P012_086
P012_087
P012_088
P012_089
P012_090
P012_091
P012_092
P012_093
P012_094
P012_095
P012_096
P012_097
P012_098
P012_099
P012_100
P012_101
P012_102
P012_103
P012_104
P012_105
P012_106
P012_107
P012_108
P012_109
P012_110
P012_111
P012_112
P012_113
P012_114
P012_115
P012_116
P012_117
P012_118
P012_119
P012_120
P012_121
P012_122
P012_123
P012_124
P012_125
P012_126
P012_127
P012_128
P012_129
P012_130
P012_131
P012_132
P012_133
P012_134
P012_135
P012_136
P012_137
P012_138
P012_139
P012_140
P012_141
P012_142
P012_143
P012_144
P012_145
P012_146
P012_147
P012_148
P012_149
P012_150
P012_151
P012_152
P012_153
P012_154
P012_155
P012_156
P012_157
P012_158
P012_159
P012_160
P012_161
P012_162
P012_163
P012_164
P012_165
P012_166
P012_167
P012_168
P012_169
P012_170
P012_171
P012_172
P012_173
P012_174
P012_175
P012_176
P012_177
P012_178
P012_179
P012_180
P012_181
P012_182
P012_183
P012_184
P012_185
P012_186
P012_187
P012_188
P012_189
P012_190
P012_191
P012_192
P012_193
P012_194
P012_195
P012_196
P012_197
P012_198
P012_199
P012_200
P012_201
P012_202
P012_203
P012_204
P012_205
P012_206
P012_207
P012_208
P012_209
P012_210
P012_211
P012_212
P012_213
P012_214
P012_215
P012_216
P012_217
P012_218
P012_219
P012_220
P012_221
P012_222
P012_223
P012_224
P012_225
P012_226
P012_227
P012_228
P012_229
P012_230
P012_231
P012_232
P012_233
P012_234
P012_235
P012_236
P012_237
P012_238
P012_239
P012_240
P012_241
P012_242
P012_243
P012_244
P012_245
P012_246
P012_247
P012_248
P012_249
P012_250
P012_251
P012_252
P012_253
P012_254
P012_255
P012_256
P012_257
P012_258
P012_259
P012_260
P012_261
P012_262
P012_263
P012_264
P012_265
P012_266
P012_267
P012_268
P012_269
P012_270
P012_271
P012_272
P012_273
P012_274
P012_275
P012_276
P012_277
P012_278
P012_279
P012_280
P012_281
P012_282
P012_283
P012_284
P012_285
P012_286
P012_287
P012_288
P012_289
P012_290
P012_291
P012_292
P012_293
P012_294
P012_295
P012_296
P012_297
P012_298
P012_299
P012_300
P012_301
P012_302
P012_303
P012_304
P012_305
P012_306
P012_307
P012_308
P012_309
P012_310
P012_311
P012_312
P012_313
P012_314
P012_315
P012_316
P012_317
P012_318
P012_319
P012_320
P012_321
P012_322
P012_323
P012_324
P012_325
P012_326
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer, U.S. Census Bureau; Census of Population and Housing, 1990: Summary Tape File 1 on CD-ROM [machine-readable data files] / prepared by the Bureau of the Census. Washington: The Bureau [producer and distributor], 1991.
 
Race
The data on race were derived from answers to questionnaire item 4, which was asked of all persons. The concept of race as used by the Census Bureau reflects self-identification; it does not denote any clear-cut scientific definition of biological stock. The data for race represent self-classification by people according to the race with which they most closely identify. Furthermore, it is recognized that the categories of the race item include both racial and national origin or socio-cultural groups.

During direct interviews conducted by enumerators, if a person could not provide a single response to the race question, he or she was asked to select, based on self-identification, the group which best described his or her racial identity. If a person could not provide a single race response, the race of the mother was used. If a single race response could not be provided for the person's mother, the first race reported by the person was used. In all cases where occupied housing units, households, or families are classified by race, the race of the householder was used.

The racial classification used by the Census Bureau generally adheres to the guidelines in Federal Statistical Directive No. 15, issued by the Office of Management and Budget, which provides standards on ethnic and racial categories for statistical reporting to be used by all Federal agencies. The racial categories used in the 1990 census data products are provided below.

White
Includes persons who indicated their race as "White" or reported entries such as Canadian, German, Italian, Lebanese, Near Easterner, Arab, or Polish.

Black
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Black or Negro" or reported entries such as African American, Afro-American, Black Puerto Rican, Jamaican, Nigerian, West Indian, or Haitian.

American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut
Includes persons who classified themselves as such in one of the specific race categories identified below.

American Indian
Includes persons who indicated their race as "American Indian," entered the name of an Indian tribe, or reported such entries as Canadian Indian, French-American Indian, or Spanish-American Indian.

American Indian Tribe
Persons who identified themselves as American Indian were asked to report their enrolled or principal tribe. Therefore, tribal data in tabulations reflect the written tribal entries reported on the questionnaires. Some of the entries (for example, Iroquois, Sioux, Colorado River, and Flathead) represent nations or reservations.

The information on tribe is based on self-identification and therefore does not reflect any designation of Federally- or State-recognized tribe. Information on American Indian tribes is presented in summary tape files and special data products. The information is derived from the American Indian Detailed Tribal Classification List for the 1990 census. The classification list represents all tribes, bands, and clans that had a specified number of American Indians reported on the census questionnaire.

Eskimo
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Eskimo" or reported entries such as Arctic Slope, Inupiat, and Yupik.

Aleut
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Aleut" or reported entries such as Alutiiq, Egegik, and Pribilovian.

Asian or Pacific Islander
Includes persons who reported in one of the Asian or Pacific Islander groups listed on the questionnaire or who provided write-in responses such as Thai, Nepali, or Tongan. A more detailed listing of the groups comprising the Asian or Pacific Islander population is presented in table A below. In some data products, information is presented separately for the Asian population and the Pacific Islander population.

Asian
Includes "Chinese," "Filipino," "Japanese," "Asian Indian," "Korean," "Vietnamese," and "Other Asian." In some tables, "Other Asian" may not be shown separately, but is included in the total Asian population.

Chinese
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Chinese" or who identified themselves as Cantonese, Tibetan, or Chinese American. In standard census reports, persons who reported as "Taiwanese" or "Formosan" are included here with Chinese. In special reports on the Asian or Pacific Islander population, information on persons who identified themselves as Taiwanese are shown separately.

Filipino
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Filipino" or reported entries such as Philipino, Philippine, or Filipino American.

Japanese
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Japanese" and persons who identified themselves as Nipponese or Japanese American.

Asian Indian
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Asian Indian" and persons who identified themselves as Bengalese, Bharat, Dravidian, East Indian, or Goanese.

Korean
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Korean" and persons who identified themselves as Korean American.

Vietnamese
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Vietnamese" and persons who identified themselves as Vietnamese American.

Cambodian
Includes persons who provided a write-in response such as Cambodian or Cambodia.

Hmong
Includes persons who provided a write-in response such as Hmong, Laohmong, or Mong.

Laotian
Includes persons who provided a write-in response such as Laotian, Laos, or Lao.

Includes persons who provided a write-in response such as Thai Thailand, or Siamese.

Other Asian
Includes persons who provided a write-in response of Bangladeshi, Burmese, Indonesian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Amerasian, or Eurasian. See table A for other groups comprising "Other Asian."

Pacific Islander
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Pacific Islander" by classifying themselves into one of the following race categories or identifying themselves as one of the Pacific Islander cultural groups of Polynesian, Micronesian, or Melanesian.

Hawaiian
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Hawaiian" as well as persons who identified themselves as Part Hawaiian or Native Hawaiian.

Samoan
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Samoan" or persons who identified themselves as American Samoan or Western Samoan.

Guamanian
Includes persons who indicated their race as "Guamanian" or persons who identified themselves as Chamorro or Guam.

Other Pacific Islander
Includes persons who provided a write-in response of a Pacific Islander group such as Tahitian, Northern Mariana Islander, Palauan, Fijian, or a cultural group such as Polynesian, Micronesian, or Melanesian. See table A for other groups comprising "Other Pacific Islander."

Other Race
Includes all other persons not included in the "White," "Black," "American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut," and the "Asian or Pacific Islander" race categories described above. Persons reporting in the "Other race" category and providing write-in entries such as multiracial, multiethnic, mixed, interracial, Wesort, or a Spanish/Hispanic origin group (such as Mexican, Cuban, or Puerto Rican) are included here. Written entries to three categories on the race item-- "Indian (Amer.)," "Other Asian or Pacific Islander (API)," and "Other race"--were reviewed, edited, and coded by subject matter specialists. (For more information on the coding operation, see the section below that discusses "Comparability.")

The written entries under "Indian (Amer.)" and "Other Asian or Pacific Islander (API)" were reviewed and coded during 100-percent processing of the 1990 census questionnaires. A substantial portion of the entries for the "Other race" category also were reviewed, edited, and coded during the 100-percent processing. The remaining entries under "Other race" underwent review and coding during sample processing. Most of the written entries reviewed during sample processing were those indicating Hispanic origin such as Mexican, Cuban, or Puerto Rican.

If the race entry for a member of a household was missing on the questionnaire, race was assigned based upon the reported entries of race by other household members using specific rules of precedence of household relationship. For example, if race was missing for the daughter of the householder, then the race of her mother (as female householder or female spouse) would be assigned. If there was no female householder or spouse in the household, the daughter would be assigned her father's (male householder) race. If race was not reported for anyone in the household, the race of a householder in a previously processed household was assigned. This procedure is a variation of the general imputation procedures described in Appendix C, Accuracy of the Data.

Limitation of the Data
In the 1980 census, a relatively high proportion (20 percent) of American Indians did not report any tribal entry in the race item. Evaluation of the pre-census tests indicated that changes made for the 1990 race item should improve the reporting of tribes in the rural areas (especially on reservations) for the 1990 census. The results for urban areas were inconclusive. Also, the precensus tests indicated that there may be overreporting of the Cherokee tribe. An evaluation of 1980 census data showed overreporting of Cherokee in urban areas or areas where the number of American Indians was sparse.

In the 1990 census, respondents sometimes did not fill in a circle or filled the "Other race" circle and wrote in a response, such as Arab, Polish, or African American in the shared write-in box for "Other race" and "Other API" responses. During the automated coding process, these responses were edited and assigned to the appropriate racial designation. Also, some Hispanic origin persons did not fill in a circle, but provided entries such as Mexican or Puerto Rican. These persons were classified in the "Other race" category during the coding and editing process. Since sample processing included additional editing, there may be some minor differences between sample data and 100-percent data.

Comparability
Differences between the 1990 census and earlier censuses affect the comparability of data for certain racial groups and American Indian tribes. The 1990 census was the first census to undertake, on a 100-percent basis, an automated review, edit, and coding operation for written responses to the race item. The automated coding system used in the 1990 census greatly reduced the potential for error associated with a clerical review. Specialists with a thorough knowledge of the race subject matter reviewed, edited, coded, and resolved inconsistent or incomplete responses. In the 1980 census, there was only a limited clerical review of the race responses on the 100-percent forms with a full clerical review conducted only on the sample questionnaires.

Another major difference between the 1990 and preceding censuses is the handling of the write-in responses for the Asian or Pacific Islander populations. In addition to the nine Asian or Pacific Islander categories shown on the questionnaire under the spanner "Asian or Pacific Islander (API)," the 1990 census race item provided a new residual category, "Other API," for Asian or Pacific Islander persons who did not report in one of the listed Asian or Pacific Islander groups. During the coding operation, write-in responses for "Other API" were reviewed, coded, and assigned to the appropriate classification. For example, in 1990, a write-in entry of Laotian, Thai, or Javanese is classified as "Other Asian," while a write-in entry of Tongan or Fijian is classified as "Other Pacific Islander."

Table A. Asian or Pacific Islander Groups Reported in the 1990 Census
Asian Pacific Islander
Chinese Hawaiian
Filipino Samoan
Japanese Guamanian
Asian Indian Other Pacific Islander1
Korean Carolinian
Vietnamese Fijian
Cambodian Kosraean
Hmong Melanesian3
Laotian Micronesian3
Thai Northern Mariana Islander
Other Asian1 Palauan
Bangladeshi Papua New Guinean
Bhutanese Ponapean (Pohnpeian)
Borneo Polynesian3
Burmese Solomon Islander
Celebesian Tahitian
Ceram Tarawa Islander
Indochinese Tokelauan
Indonesian Tongan
Iwo-Jiman Trukese (Chuukese)
Javanese Yapese
Malayan Pacific Islander, not specified
Maldivian
Nepali
Okinawan
Pakistani
Sikkim
Singaporean
Sri Lankan
Sumatran
Asian, not specified2


Footnotes:
1In some data products, specific groups listed under "Other Asian" or "Other Pacific Islander" are shown separately. Groups not shown are tabulated as "All other Asian" or "All other Pacific Islander," respectively.
2Includes entries such as Asian American, Asian, Asiatic, Amerasian, and Eurasian.
3Polynesian, Micronesian, and Melanesian are Pacific Islander cultural groups.

In the 1980 census, the nine Asian or Pacific Islander groups were also listed separately. However, persons not belonging to these nine groups wrote in their specific racial group under the "Other" race category. Persons with a written entry such as Laotian, Thai, or Tongan, were tabulated and published as "Other race" in the 100-percent processing operation in 1980, but were reclassified as "Other Asian and Pacific Islander" in 1980 sample tabulations. In 1980 special reports on the Asian or Pacific Islander populations, data were shown separately for "Other Asian" and "Other Pacific Islander."

The 1970 questionnaire did not have separate race categories for Asian Indian, Vietnamese, Samoan, and Guamanian. These persons indicated their race in the "Other" category and later, through the editing process, were assigned to a specific group. For example, in 1970, Asian Indians were reclassified as "White," while Vietnamese, Guamanians, and Samoans were included in the "Other" category.

Another difference between the 1990 and preceding censuses is the approach taken when persons of Spanish/Hispanic origin did not report in a specific race category but reported as "Other race" or "Other." These persons commonly provided a write-in entry such as Mexican, Venezuelan, or Latino. In the 1990 and 1980 censuses, these entries remained in the "Other race" or "Other" category, respectively. In the 1970 census, most of these persons were included in the "White" category.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer, U.S. Census Bureau; Census of Population and Housing, 1990: Summary Tape File 1 on CD-ROM [machine-readable data files] / prepared by the Bureau of the Census. Washington: The Bureau [producer and distributor], 1991.
 
Sex
The data on sex were derived from answers to questionnaire item 3, which was asked of all persons. For most cases in which sex was not reported, it was determined by the appropriate entry from the person's given name and household relationship. Otherwise, sex was imputed according to the relationship to the householder and the age and marital status of the person. For more information on imputation, see Appendix C, Accuracy of the Data.

Sex Ratio
A measure derived by dividing the total number of males by the total number of females and multiplying by 100.

Comparability
A question on the sex of individuals has been asked of the total population in every census.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer, U.S. Census Bureau; Census of Population and Housing, 1990: Summary Tape File 1 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 completed years as of April 1, 1990. The age response in question 5a was normally used 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 in 1990.

Review of detailed 1990 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 completed 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.)