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Data Dictionary: Census 1980
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Survey: Census 1980
Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Table: T74. Occupation [18]
Universe: Employed Persons 16 Years And Over
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; Census of Population and Housing, 1980: Summary Tape File 3 [machine-readable data file] / conducted By the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Washington: Bureau of the Census [producer and distributor], 1982.
The kind of work the person was doing at a job or business during the reference week or, if not at work, at the most recent job or business if employed since 1975. Persons working at more than one job were instructed to describe the one at which the person worked the most hours during the reference week. Occupation is most frequently tabulated for employed persons 16 years old and over, and less often for the experienced civilian labor force, which includes both employed and experienced unemployed 16 years old and over. Occupation data were also collected but are not tabulated for persons not currently in the labor force who have worked since 1975. Occupation is not determined for persons in the Armed Forces. These data were collected on a sample basis.

The write-in responses to questions 29a and 29b were taken together to assign the respondent to one of 503 occupation categories, coded by specially trained industry and occupation coders in census processing offices. Only the code, i.e., none of the written-in information, is retained on census basic records and public-use microdata. Census occupation categories are fully defined in the Classified Index of Industries and Occupations, PHC80-R3. (Persons wishing to use the census system in coding other data bases may use the Alphabetical Index of Industries and Occupations, PHC80-R4.)

Relation to Standard Occupational Classification
The 503 occupation categories generally are based on the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system, originally issued in 1977 by the Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards and revised in 1980. One of the major purposes Of the sot is to promote uniformity and comparability in the presentation of occupational data collected by various agencies. Public use microdata documentation and other references will define the relationship between the 3-digit census codes and the revised 4-digit SOC codes.

Summary and major occupation categories are as follows:

Managerial and professional specialty occupations:
  • Executive, administrative, and managerial occupations
  • Professional specialty occupations

Technical, sales, and administrative support occupations:
  • Technicians and related support occupations
  • Sales occupations
  • Administrative support occupations, including clerical

Service occupations:
  • Private household occupations
  • Protective service occupations
  • Service occupations, except protective and household

Farming, forestry, and fishing occupations

Precision production, craft, and repair occupations

Operators, fabricators, and laborers:
  • Machine operators, assemblers, and inspectors
  • Transportation and material moving occupations
  • Handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers

These are the categories included in STF 3 and Census Tracts reports. More detailed tabulations present subcategories within these basic groups. In the most detailed tabulations, some categories represent subdivisions of an occupation on the basis of industry or class of worker.

Historical comparability
Occupation has been asked in each census since l850. The 1980 occupation question differs from its 1970 counterpart primarily by omitting a request for the respondent's job title. Because this information sometimes proved misleading, it was dropped for 1980.

The major difference in occupation data for 1970 and 1980 stems from the adaptation of census occupation coding to the new Standard Occupational Classification system, first issued in 1977. While many of the broad categories observed in the, 1980 scheme have been designed to offer a general measure of compatibility with many 1970 categories, the principles governing the classification and many of the detailed categories have been altered substantially. Reference materials on the relationships of 1970 and 1980 occupation classifications are being prepared. For more information, contact Population Division, Bureau of the Census.

See also: "Class of Worker;" "Industry;" "Labor Force Status".