Geographic Residence and Environmental Characteristics

Geographic Residence and Environmental Characteristics

A limited number of geographic variables are available for respondents in the Older and Young Men. Due to Census Bureau confidentiality concerns, such variables provide only broad geographical demarcations of the respondent's area of residence, e.g., the name of the Census division, whether the residence was located in the South or non-South, and whether the residence was in an SMSA. A series of comparison variables contrast the respondent's current state/SMSA of residence with those of his birthplace, previous residences, or current job. Specific information on the names of the county, state, or metropolitan statistical area(s) in which respondents reside at given points in time is not available. Finally, characteristics of the respondent's environment are available from several variables describing the size of the labor force and unemployment rate for the labor market of current residence.

Geographic variables that are not on the public-use files may be requested for any of the original cohorts. Proposals in which researchers request access to such variables are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. For more information, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics website at Geographic variables are available for use at Census Data Centers (see for more information).

Due to the fact that Census procedures for the geocoding of geographical boundaries were deliberately frozen in the mid-1970s, users are advised to be skeptical about all variables relating to location below the state level except those delineating movement between counties. For more information, see the User Notes below.

Geographic Residence

Some of the primary sets of geographic variables available for Original Cohort respondents are described below. Table 1 summarizes the years for which each variable is available for each cohort.

Table 1. Created Variables for Geographic Residence and Mobility by Survey Year: Older (O) and Young (Y) Men

Created Variables Survey Years
66 67 68 69 70 71 73 75 76 78 80 81 83 90
Region of Residence (South/non-South) O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O O
Residence Comparison:                            
State, County O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O O
Size of Labor Market O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O  
Residence in SMSA O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O  
Residence Status (Mover/Non-mover) O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O O
Unemployment Rate for Labor Market O,Y O,Y Y O,Y Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O,Y O  

Birthplace: Birthplace information for each Older and Young Men respondent is available that identifies the birthplace in relation to the respondent's permanent residence as of the initial survey year. Coding categories differ across cohorts but typically provide a comparison of the respondent's state/SMSA/region or division of current residence with that of the respondent's birthplace or identify the birthplace as outside of the United States. Birthplace information is also available for each respondent's mother, father, and maternal/paternal grandparents; coding categories include U.S. or Canada, Northern or Western Europe, Central or Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, Latin America, or other. The decision rules used to create a nationality variable for each respondent within the four Original Cohorts are discussed within the Race, Ethnicity, & Nationality section.

Region of Residence (Revised): A series of variables are available for Older and Young Men respondents that indicate whether the location of the respondent's permanent address was "in the South" or "in [one of] the non-South" regions of the United States, e.g., the Northeast, North Central, or West. A listing of states constituting the various Census divisions is provided in each cohort's Codebook Supplement: Appendix 3 for the Older Men or Appendix 2 for the Young Men. The three divisions comprising the South include the South Atlantic Division, the East South Central Division, and the West South Central Division. Table 4.10.1 above depicts the survey years for which this variable is available. Users should note that two versions, revised and nonrevised, of the 'Region of Residence' variables are present. Revised versions should be used whenever available.

Census Division of Current Residence: A series of variables are available for the early years of each cohort that identify the Census division, e.g., New England, Middle Atlantic, Mountain, Pacific, etc., of the respondent's permanent address. The cohort-specific appendices listed above under 'Region of Residence' contain a listing of the nine Census divisions and the states comprising each. This variable for respondents of the 1975 and 1976 Older Men surveys does not provide Census division information but rather the codes "lives in South" and "lives in non-South."

Residence--SMSA (SMSA Status): A series of revised variables are available for each cohort that identify whether the current residence of a respondent is in the central city of an SMSA, in the balance (not the central city) of an SMSA, or not in an SMSA. Table 1 above depicts the survey years for which this variable is available. Two versions of these variables are present within the Young Men data set: 'Current Residence in SMSA' and 'SMSA Status in (YR) (Revised).' Comparable variables for the Older Men data set are titled 'Current Residence in SMSA' and 'Current Residence in SMSA - Revised.' The revised version of these variables should be used for those survey years in which it is available. The User Notes section below discusses issues relating to the SMSA classification systems in use by Census.

Residence Status (Mover): A series of revised variables are available which indicate whether a respondent has moved, i.e., reported a permanent address change, since the initial survey year. Residence in the first survey year is coded 1. Code 2 in a subsequent survey year indicates that the respondent has had an address change from the original residence and code 3 indicates that no move occurred. Table 1 above depicts the survey years for which this variable is available.

Comparisons of Current Residence with Previous State/County/SMSA: This set of variables, available for each survey year, does not provide information on the actual state, county, or SMSA of the respondent's current residence but rather codes movement of the respondent in relationship to the permanent address reported at the time of the first survey. The respondent's county, state, and SMSA each are coded 1 for the initial survey year. A code of 2 in a given survey year indicates that the respondent had moved to, for example, a different second county. A subsequent move in year 10 back to the 1966 county would again be coded 1. Appendix 5 in the Older Men Codebook Supplement and Appendix 21 in the Young Men Codebook Supplement provide a further explanation of this coding system along with a select listing of other geographic variables present through the mid-70s for that cohort. The SMSA comparison series was not included in the 1990 Older Men survey for reasons described in the User Notes below. However, two variables, 'Comparison of 90 Residence with Previous Residence (Movers Only),' that use a coding system similar to the residence/job comparison variables (see description below) were provided in the 1990 Older Men data set for those respondents or widows of respondents who had moved. Table 1 above depicts the survey years for which this variable is available.

Comparison of Current Residence & Location of Current Job/Second or Retirement Residence: A set of variables are present for select survey years of each cohort that compare each respondent's location of current residence with the location of his/her current (or last or longest) job. Coding categories include: same SMSA or county; different SMSA or county, same state; different state, same division; different division; abroad; or other. Several other comparison variables are present for respondents in the Older Men cohort. These include 'Comparison of XX Residence and Retirement Residence' for the 1981 and 1983 survey years and 'Comparison of Location of 2nd Residence and Current Residence 90.' The User Notes below include a discussion of issues affecting SMSA boundaries.

Second Residence: In 1990, information was collected on whether an Older Men respondent resided in another residence during part of the year. Questions included the specific months of the year the respondent was in residence at that location and the year he first started spending time there.

Geographic Mobility in Retirement: The 1981, 1983, and 1990 surveys of Older Men collected information about residential moves. In 1981 and 1983, respondents who had ever moved since retirement were asked why they moved. In 1990, respondents who had not lived in their current city or county for their entire lives were asked when and why they moved to their current residence.

Type of Property of Residence: Present within the data set of each cohort is a single variable identifying whether the respondent's property in the original survey year was urban or a farm or non-farm residence with varying acreage and sales.

Type of Area of Residence: A single variable present for the first year of each cohort identifies whether the respondent lived in (1) an urbanized area of a certain size (over 3 million, under 250,000. etc.), (2) an urban place outside an urbanized area of varying population sizes, or (3) a rural area.