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RDA: Census Occupation and Prestige Scores

RDA Census Occupation files contain occupation and prestige score data which provide more specific detail than is available in coded data of the public release files.

Time Series RDA Census Occupation Code files

Available for RDA request are “standard” files of Census Occupation data for the following Time Series studies:

  • ANES 1986 Time Series Study
  • ANES 1988 Time Series Study
  • ANES 1990 Time Series Study
  • ANES 1992 Time Series Study
  • ANES 1994 Time Series Study
  • ANES 1996 Time Series Study
  • ANES 1998 Time Series Study
  • ANES 2000 Time Series Study
  • ANES 2002 Time Series Study
  • ANES 2004 Time Series Study

The same variables  are present in each “standard” RDA Census Occupation file for ANES Time Series studies 1978-2004. In any one of these files, however, there may be no data in some of the variables; for example, variables for head of household have no data for years after 1986 because the concept of ‘head of household’ was abandoned in 1988. Presence of data within RDA variables for each Time Series study “standard” file is documented in a table  describing the RDA occupation code vars and in a table  describing the RDA prestige score vars (prestige scores were assigned according to Census Occupation code).

There are no RDA data files of Census Occupation codes or prestige scores for any Time Series studies 1984 or earlier, or for Time Series studies after 2004.

Prior to 1986, all occupation codes were made available in the Time Series public releases. Prior to 1976, these included data coded from master code sets other than U.S. Census Occupation Codes (e.g. Political Behavior Occupation Codes, which were not identical but corresponded closely to Census Occupation codes). In 1976, ANES began utilitizing U.S. Census Occupation Codes to code open-end texts of respondent descriptions of occupation, and the full 3-digit Census codes were made available unrestricted in Time Series public releases 1976-1984.

Beginning in 1986, in the interest of protecting respondent anonymity, ANES began collapsing the full 3-digit Census Occupation Codes to a standard 71-category (2-digit) version for Time Series public releases. This practice continued until use of master Census Occupation codes from the 1980 and 1990 Censuses was replaced by use of master codes from the 2000 Census. The complete Census Bureau overhaul of Census Occupation Codes for the 2000 Census produced a new master code set without relation to the set used in the preceding two Censuses. For the 2004 Time Series public release, no version of the occupation codes from the 2000 Census, including any collapsed version, could be included in the public release, however variables were added to the release which provided the usual 71-category collapse of full occupation coding based on categories from the 1990 Census. Full 1990 Census occupation codes are available as RDA data for the 2004 Time Series study, as well as full 2000 Census occupation codes.

At ANES project level, no new occupational coding scheme has been approved yet for Time Series studies subsequent to 2004. After the ANES 2008 Time Series Study, its Principal Investigators conducted an independent endeavor reviewing ANES coding procedures, including those for occupation; this review produced files of coded data for the 2008 Time Series open-ends. Official ANES open-end coding practices are still under review. (Note: redacted texts of open-ended responses for occupation are downloadable from the ANES Web site for Time Series studies after 2004).

Non-Time Series RDA Census Occupation Code files

There are no RDA data files of Census Occupation codes or prestige scores for any non-Time Series studies 1984 or earlier.

For non-Time Series studies conducted after 1984, users must inquire if full Census Occupation codes or prestige scores are available as restricted data, although it has typically been the case that occupation has not been coded specifically for studies outside of the Time Series. Fulfillment of requests would be subject to the limitations described for RDA data files which have not already been pre-prepared.