The Young Adult survey has routinely collected information on the occupation of respondents' jobs since last interview, most recent job if none since the date of last interview, and the first job held out of high school, as well as what occupation each certificate, license or journeyman's card was for. In addition to this respondent-specific information, data on occupations are also available for the spouse/partner and the father of the respondent. Verbatim responses to open-ended questions eliciting information on kinds of work and typical duties are entered directly into the survey instrument by the interviewer and subsequently coded using Census coding frames.

In 1994, the decision was made to use the 1970 coding frame, which was still in use in the main Youth data, to make the Young Adult data as directly comparable to the mother's data as possible. In addition, the CPS job, defined as the current or most recent primary job of the respondent, was coded using the 1990 coding frame. This pattern of coding was used for the 1996 and 1998 surveys as well.

For the 2000 survey, the decision was made to switch all jobs except father's occupation to the 1990 Census coding frame. The father's job continued to be coded using the 1970 frame to allow easy comparability with mother's occupation. The CPS job of the respondent was coded in both the 1970 and the 1990 coding frames. Additionally, the 1994-1998 occupation verbatims that had previously been coded using only the 1970 coding frame, were coded again using the 1990 frame. As of the 2000 release, all occupations, except for father's occupation, had both 1970 and 1990 Census codes available (YA 1970 1990 Census Occ and Ind Codes is a downloadable Word file with these codes).

Beginning in 2002, all jobs, including the father's occupation, were coded using the 2000 Census occupation coding frame. Switching to the 2000 coding frame allowed for greater accuracy in occupation coding given the changes in job structure over time. Although this represents a disconnect from previous years, crosswalks between the 1990 and 2000 coding frames are available. Beginning in 2004, all occupations are coded with the Census 4-digit, NAICS-based codes.

Note: For Census industrial and occupational codes go to NLSY79 Attachment 3.

Comparison to Other NLS Cohorts: Regularly fielded sections of NLSY79 instruments have collected information on the occupation of respondents' current/last job, jobs since last interview, military job, vocational/technical or government training programs, type of job to which they aspired, and, for those unemployed and out of the labor force, the kind of occupation they were seeking or planned to seek. In addition to this respondent-specific information, data on occupations are also available for other family members, including the spouse and parents of the respondent.   

For both employee and self-employed jobs, NLSY97 respondents' occupations are coded according to the three-digit census occupational classification system. Freelance jobs that do not qualify as self-employment are coded according to the type of work performed. For the Mature and Young Women, occupation has been coded using 1960, 1980, and 1990 systems in various survey years. The occupations of Older and Young Men were recorded using the 1960 codes for all years; in the final two Older Men surveys, occupation was doublecoded using the 1980 system. For more precise details about the content of each survey, consult the appropriate cohort's User's Guide using the tabs above for more information.

Survey Instruments Occupation-related questions are found in the Young Adult Instrument, Section 7, Jobs and Employer Supplements.
Area of Interest YA Job Information