Mature Women Industries Variables

Open-ended questions (e.g., "What kind of business or industry is/was this?") were included in each interview and used to code the industry of the respondent's current job or current/last job. In addition, the industry of intervening jobs was coded for each personal interview beginning in 1969 and for each dual job reported in a personal interview beginning in 1972. Verbatim responses to this question were coded by Census personnel using three-digit codes from the 1960, 1980, 1990, and 2000 classification systems (Census 1960, 1980, 1990, and 2000). Two- and one-digit edited versions of these raw variables are available for most survey years for 1960 codes. Table MW1 summarizes the years in which each of the various coding systems were used. The User Notes at the end of this section contain an extensive discussion of Census/CHRR editing and creation procedures that affect the industry variables.

Table MW1. Industry Coding Systems Used by Survey Year

Coding System 1967-82 1984, 1986 1987, 1989 1992 1995-03
1960 Codes * * * *  
1980 Codes-current/last job only   *      
1980 Codes-current/last job and dual job only     * *  
1980 Codes-all jobs         *
1990 Codes-current/last job and dual job only       *  
1990 Codes-all jobs         *
2000 Codes-all jobs         *

The first survey included a retrospective collection of respondents' work experience prior to 1966, which asked about the industry of the longest job ever held and the longest job held between or since certain life cycle events (e.g., between stopping school and first marriage, between first marriage and first child, since the birth of first child, or since first marriage). These life cycle events questions were presented to varying universes (e.g., ever married, married without children, never married with children, and never married without children). A five-year retrospective fielded in 1977 included a question on the industry of the longest job held since June 1972. Related variables present for single survey years are (1) the industry of an alternative job that those respondents who reported job-shopping while remaining employed with the same firm indicated that they could have had and/or had been offered (1971) and (2) the industry of the employer from whom the respondent receives or will receive a pension and the type of industry providing a pension for her husband (1989).

Present for each survey year through 1992, edited variables from the Occupation & Industry (O & I) Rewrite provide one-, two-, and three-digit versions of the raw current/last job variables. Several versions of the current/last job variables (e.g., edited and unedited, collapsed and noncollapsed) are also available.

Survey Instruments & Documentation: Questions about industry affiliation can be found in the regularly fielded "Current Labor Force Status," "Work Experience," "Work Experience & Attitudes," "Retrospective Work History," "Employment," and "Respondent's Employer Supplement" sections of the questionnaire. Industry questions can also be found in the special 1967 "Work Experience Before 1966," 1989 "Pension & Retirement," and 1992-2003 "Husband's Current Labor Force Status"/"Husband's Retrospective Work History" sections of the questionnaires. 

User Notes

Variable titles for industries listed within the various NLS documentation items do not always specify which Census coding system was utilized. If no year is listed, users should assume that the 1960 classification system was used for coding.  Later releases added the year to the title indicating which Census system was used.

Substantive differences exist between a number of similarly titled occupation, industry, and class of worker variables present in the Original Cohort data files. One set of raw variables relating to the respondent's current job is derived from responses to questions found within the "CPS" section of each questionnaire. Additional versions of this set of variables are created using the two different procedures described below.

(1) An Occupation & Industry (O & I) Rewrite creates a set of seven summary variables that enable researchers to identify the last occupation, industry, or class of worker status of all respondents who were interviewed in a given year, whether or not they were currently working. Values utilized are either those from the job in which the respondent was employed the week before the interview or values from the job that was current at the last time the respondent reported employment. Although the industry associated with an intervening job might technically be a respondent's most recent industry affiliation, the O & I program is not designed to pick up information from such jobs. All O & I Rewrite variables are classified utilizing the 1960 Census codes. Titles for this set of O & I Rewrite variables appear in Table MW2.

Table MW2. Occupation & Industry Variables from the O & I Rewrite

Variable Title Version Question #
Class of Worker at Current or Last Job Collapsed CV (Created Variables)
Occupation of Current or Last Job 3-digit
Occupation of Current or Last Job Duncan Index
Occupation of Current or Last Job 1-digit
Industry of Current or Last Job 3-digit
Industry of Current or Last Job 2-digit
Industry of Current or Last Job 1-digit

The user can differentiate O & I Rewrite variables from non-backfilled variables by the presence of the word "collapsed" at the end of the O & I variable title. This series ended in 1992 because the 1960 codes no longer matched the U.S.'s industrial structure.

(2) When Census originally created the 'Employment Status Recode' (ESR) variables, no cleaning or editing of the items from the "CPS" section of the questionnaire was done. In the mid-1980s, recurring problems with the program that created the ESR variables forced Census to create edited "CPS" items. Census sent both unedited and edited versions of these items to CHRR for public release. Edited variables are identified with either the word "EDITED" or the abbreviations "EDT" or "E" appended to the variable title. Edited versions of these variables will have fewer cases than the unedited versions. When looking at patterns over time, users may wish to use the set of unedited versions. Following the inception of the computer-assisted surveys in 1995, this situation no longer holds true and researchers will only find one version of the CPS variables.


Census Bureau. 1960 Census of Population Alphabetical Index of Occupations and Industries (Revised Edition). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1960.

Census Bureau. 1980 Census of Population Classified Index of Industries and Occupations. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1980.

Census Bureau. Census of Population and Housing, 1990, Alphabetical Index of Industries and Occupations. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1990.