Data Dictionary: Census 1990
you are here: choose a survey survey data set table details
Survey: Census 1990
Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Table: P56. School Enrollment For Hispanic Population [5]
Universe: Persons of Hispanic origin 3 years and over
Table Details
P56. School Enrollment For Hispanic Population
Universe: Persons of Hispanic origin 3 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.
 
School Enrollment and Type Of School
Data on school enrollment were derived from answers to questionnaire item 11, which was asked of a sample of persons. Persons were classified as enrolled in school if they reported attending a "regular" public or private school or college at any time between February 1, 1990, and the time of enumeration. The question included instructions to "include only nursery school, kindergarten, elementary school, and schooling which would lead to a high school diploma or a college degree" as regular school. Instructions included in the 1990 respondent instruction guide, which was mailed with the census questionnaire, further specified that enrollment in a trade or business school, company training, or tutoring were not to be included unless the course would be accepted for credit at a regular elementary school, high school, or college. Persons who did not answer the enrollment question were assigned the enrollment status and type of school of a person with the same age, race or Hispanic origin, and, at older ages, sex, whose residence was in the same or a nearby area.

Public and Private School
Includes persons who attended school in the reference period and indicated they were enrolled by marking one of the questionnaire categories for either "public school, public college" or "private school, private college." The instruction guide defines a public school as "any school or college controlled and supported by a local, county, State, or Federal Government." "Schools supported and controlled primarily by religious organizations or other private groups" are defined as private. Persons who filled both the "public" and "private" circles are edited to the first entry, "public."

Level of School in Which Enrolled
Persons who were enrolled in school were classified as enrolled in "preprimary school," "elementary or high school," or "college" according to their response to question 12 (years of school completed or highest degree received). Persons who were enrolled and reported completing nursery school or less were classified as enrolled in "preprimary school," which includes kindergarten. Similarly, enrolled persons who had completed at least kindergarten, but not high school, were classified as enrolled in elementary or high school. Enrolled persons who reported completing high school or some college or having received a postsecondary degree were classified as enrolled in "college." Enrolled persons who reported completing the twelfth grade but receiving "NO DIPLOMA" were classified as enrolled in high school. (For more information on level of school, see the discussion under "Educational Attainment.")

Comparability
School enrollment questions have been included in the census since 1840; grade attended was first asked in 1940; type of school was first asked in 1960. Before 1940, the enrollment question in various censuses referred to attendance in the preceding six months or the preceding year. In 1940, the reference was to attendance in the month preceding the census, and in the 1950 and subsequent censuses, the question referred to attendance in the two months preceding the census date.

Until the 1910 census, there were no instructions limiting the kinds of schools in which enrollment was to be counted. Starting in 1910, the instructions indicated that attendance at "school, college, or any educational institution" was to be counted. In 1930 an instruction to include "night school" was added. In the 1940 instructions, night school, extension school, or vocational school were included only if the school was part of the regular school system. Correspondence school work of any kind was excluded. In the 1950 instructions, the term "regular school" was introduced, and it was defined as schooling which "advances a person towards an elementary or high school diploma or a college, university, or professional school degree." Vocational, trade, or business schools were excluded unless they were graded and considered part of a regular school system. On-the-job training was excluded, as was nursery school. Instruction by correspondence was excluded unless it was given by a regular school and counted towards promotion.

In 1960, the question used the term "regular school or college" and a similar, though expanded, definition of "regular" was included in the instructions, which continued to exclude nursery school. Because of the census' use of mailed questionnaires, the 1960 census was the first in which instructions were written for the respondent as well as enumerators. In the 1970 census, the questionnaire used the phrase "regular school or college" and included instructions to "count nursery school, kindergarten, and schooling which leads to an elementary school certificate, high school diploma, or college degree." Instructions in a separate document specified that to be counted as regular school, nursery school must include instruction as an important and integral phase of its program, and continued the exclusion of vocational, trade, and business schools. The 1980 census question was very similar to the 1970 question, but the separate instruction booklet did not require that nursery school include substantial instructional content in order to be counted.

The age range for which enrollment data have been obtained and published has varied over the censuses. Information on enrollment was recorded for persons of all ages in the 1930 and 1940 and 1970 through 1990; for persons under age 30, in 1950; and for persons age 5 to 34, in 1960. Most of the published enrollment figures referred to persons age 5 to 20 in the 1930 census, 5 to 24 in 1940, 5 to 29 in 1950, 5 to 34 in 1960, 3 to 34 in 1970, and 3 years old and over in 1980. This growth in the age group whose enrollment was reported reflects increased interest in the number of children in preprimary schools and in the number of older persons attending colleges and universities.

In the 1950 and subsequent censuses, college students were enumerated where they lived while attending college, whereas in earlier censuses, they generally were enumerated at their parental homes. This change should not affect the comparability of national figures on college enrollment since 1940; however, it may affect the comparability over time of enrollment figures at sub-national levels.

Type of school was first introduced in the 1960 census, where a separate question asked the enrolled persons whether they were in a "public" or "private" school. Since the 1970 census, the type of school was incorporated into the response categories for the enrollment question and the terms were changed to "public," "parochial," and "other private." In the 1980 census, "private, church related" and "private, not church related" replaced "parochial" and "other private."

Grade of enrollment was first available in the 1940 census, where it was obtained from responses to the question on highest grade of school completed. Enumerators were instructed that "for a person still in school, the last grade completed will be the grade preceding the one in which he or she was now enrolled." From 1950 to 1980, grade of enrollment was obtained from the highest grade attended in the two-part question used to measure educational attainment. (For more information, see the discussion under "Educational Attainment.") The form of the question from which level of enrollment was derived in the 1990 census most closely corresponds to the question used in 1940. While data from prior censuses can be aggregated to provide levels of enrollment comparable to the 1990 census, 1990 data cannot be disaggregated to show single grade of enrollment as in previous censuses.

Data on school enrollment were also collected and published by other Federal, State, and local government agencies. Where these data were obtained from administrative records of school systems and institutions of higher learning, they were only roughly comparable with data from population censuses and household surveys because of differences in definitions and concepts, subject matter covered, time references, and enumeration methods. At the local level, the difference between the location of the institution and the residence of the student may affect the comparability of census and administrative data. Differences between the boundaries of school districts and census geographic units also may affect these comparisons.

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.
 
Hispanic Origin
The data on Spanish/Hispanic origin were derived from answers to questionnaire item 7, which was asked of all persons. Persons of Hispanic origin are those who classified themselves in one of the specific Hispanic origin categories listed on the questionnaire--"Mexican," "Puerto Rican," or "Cuban"--as well as those who indicated that they were of "other Spanish/Hispanic" origin. Persons of "Other Spanish/Hispanic" origin are those whose origins are from Spain, the Spanish-speaking countries of Central or South America, or the Dominican Republic, or they are persons of Hispanic origin identifying themselves generally as Spanish, Spanish-American, Hispanic, Hispano, Latino, and so on. Write-in responses to the "other Spanish/Hispanic" category were coded only for sample data.

Origin can be viewed as the ancestry, nationality group, lineage, or country of birth of the person or the person's parents or ancestors before their arrival in the United States. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.

Some tabulations are shown by the Hispanic origin of the householder. In all cases where households, families, or occupied housing units are classified by Hispanic origin, the Hispanic origin of the householder is used. (See the discussion of householder under "Household Type and Relationship.")

During direct interviews conducted by enumerators, if a person could not provide a single origin response, he or she was asked to select, based on self-identification, the group which best described his or her origin or descent. If a person could not provide a single group, the origin of the person's mother was used. If a single group could not be provided for the person's mother, the first origin reported by the person was used.

If any household member failed to respond to the Spanish/Hispanic origin question, a response was assigned by the computer according to the reported entries of other household members by using specific rules of precedence of household relationship. In the processing of sample questionnaires, responses to other questions on the questionnaire, such as ancestry and place of birth, were used to assign an origin before any reference was made to the origin reported by other household members. If an origin was not entered for any household member, an origin was assigned from another household according to the race of the householder. This procedure is a variation of the general imputation process described in Appendix C, Accuracy of the Data.

Comparability
There may be differences between the total Hispanic origin population based on 100-percent tabulations and sample tabulations. Such differences are the result of sampling variability, nonsampling error, and more extensive edit procedures for the Spanish/Hispanic origin item on the sample questionnaires. (For more information on sampling variability and nonsampling error, see Appendix C, Accuracy of the Data.)

The 1990 data on Hispanic origin are generally comparable with those for the 1980 census. However, there are some differences in the format of the Hispanic origin question between the two censuses. For 1990, the word "descent" was deleted from the 1980 wording. In addition, the term "Mexican-Amer." used in 1980 was shortened further to "Mexican-Am." to reduce misreporting (of "American") in this category detected in the 1980 census. Finally, the 1990 question allowed those who reported as "other Spanish/Hispanic" to write in their specific Hispanic origin group.

Misreporting in the "Mexican-Amer." category of the 1980 census item on Spanish/Hispanic origin may affect the comparability of 1980 and 1990 census data for persons of Hispanic origin for certain areas of the country. An evaluation of the 1980 census item on Spanish/Hispanic origin indicated that there was misreporting in the Mexican origin category by White and Black persons in certain areas. The study results showed evidence that the misreporting occurred in the South (excluding Texas), the Northeast (excluding the New York City area), and a few States in the Midwest Region. Also, results based on available data suggest that the impact of possible misreporting of Mexican origin in the 1980 census was severe in those portions of the above-mentioned regions where the Hispanic origin population was generally sparse. However, national 1980 census data on the Mexican origin population or total Hispanic origin population at the national level was not seriously affected by the reporting problem. (For a more detailed discussion of the evaluation of the 1980 census Spanish/Hispanic origin item, see the 1980 census Supplementary Reports.)

The 1990 and 1980 census data on the Hispanic population are not directly comparable with 1970 Spanish origin data because of a number of factors: (1) overall improvements in the 1980 and 1990 censuses, (2) better coverage of the population, (3) improved question designs, and (4) an effective public relations campaign by the Census Bureau with the assistance of national and community ethnic groups.

Specific changes in question design between the 1980 and 1970 censuses included the placement of the category "No, not Spanish/Hispanic" as the first category in that question. (The corresponding category appeared last in the 1970 question.) Also, the 1970 category "Central or South American" was deleted because in 1970 some respondents misinterpreted the category; furthermore, the designations "Mexican-American" and "Chicano" were added to the Spanish/Hispanic origin question in 1980. In the 1970 census, the question on Spanish origin was asked of only a 5-percent sample of the population.