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OCCHISCO
Occupation, HISCO classification

Description

OCCHISCO is a uniformly coded classification of occupations, available only in the 1880 100% population database.

The codes for OCCHISCO were adapted from the Historical International Standard Classification of Occupations (HISCO) coding scheme. More information on HISCO is available in M.H.D. van Leeuwen, I. Maas and A. Miles. (2002) HISCO: Historical International Standard Classification of Occupations. Leuven: Leuven University Press. HISCO in turn is based on the International Standard Classification of Occupations from 1968, commonly known as ISCO-68. Information on HISCO can also be located at the HISCO database of occupational titles, and the International Institute of Social History.

More information on the adaptations we made to HISCO can be found in the article "Occupational Classification in the North Atlantic Population Project" (2003), Historical Methods,, Vol. 36, No. 2 (Part 2), pp.89-96.

Structure of the classification scheme
The HISCO classification scheme is hierarchical, in the sense that each digit in the 5 digit codes introduces a new level of detail. Codes sharing the same first 1, 2 or 3 digits are considered to be increasingly similar. For example, all people working in agriculture have the first digit 6. The first digit of a code indicates the "Major Group" a person's occupation is in.

The second digit indicates a "Minor Group" distinction. Continuing the previous example, people who have the first two digits "61" are farmers - who may specify what they are cultivating or tending - and farm managers. Thus, as well as sharing the characteristic of working in agriculture (6) they also share the characteristic of being owners or managers (61).

The first 3 digits denote the "Unit Group" of an occupation. At the third digit level, we introduce more detail. For example, the unit group "612" indicates "Specialized Farmers". Within this unit group, 4th and 5th digit distinctions known as "titles" or "headings" are made. For example, 61220 indicates "Field crop farmers," and "61230" indicates "Orchardists and fruit farmers."

Understanding headings
In general, if the last two digits of a code are "00" the heading is reserved for general titles. For example, in unit group "721" for "Metal smelter and furnace workers", the heading "72100" is reserved for responses such as "Metal smelter" and "Furnacemen."

If the last two digits of a code are "10" the heading is reserved for "not further specified" titles (often abbreviated "n.f.s." or "nfs" in syntax files), and codes ending in "20", "30" and higher multiples of 10 are reserved for responses with more detail on some aspect of the occupation. For example, 58210 is the code for "Policemen and detectives, employer unknown," whereas 58220 and 58230 are the codes for "Policemen and detectives, public service," and "Policemen and detectives, private service" respectively.

Headings ending in digits other than "0" (e.g; 2,3,4 . 9) are generally reserved for frequent responses specific to a particular country that probably belong with responses sharing the same first four digits of the heading. For example, 61115 (Husbandman or cottar) and 61117 (Female farmer) could be classified with other general farmers (61110), but occurred frequently enough in Norway and Canada respectively that we felt they should be given a separate code for easy identification.

If the last two digits of a code are "90" the heading is reserved for "not elsewhere classified" responses. For example, 58290 is the code for "Other law enforcement officers."

The difference between "n.f.s." and "n.e.c." responses is that n.f.s responses are quite general, and may not offer much detail on the tasks and duties of the job. Conversely, n.e.c. responses are typically quite detailed in the information provided, but there are not enough similar responses to justify a separate heading.

Alterations to HISCO
Compared to HISCO we have reduced the overall number of headings, while still introducing new ones, and retaining more detail from vaguely specified occupations.

In general, we made the fewest changes to the structure of the HISCO codes in major groups 0 and 1 (professional workers). We re-organized the codes within major groups 2 (administrative and managerial workers), 3 (clerical workers), 4 (sales workers), 5 (service workers), and 6 (workers in agriculture). We made the most substantial revisions in moving people between major groups in the manufacturing and transport major groups (7, 8, 9).

In particular, we created codes for vague responses of the form "Works in [specified type of] factory," such as "Works in cotton mill." We grouped these workers with "Laborers" and titled, skilled workers in the same general industry.

We eliminated codes where HISCO made distinctions that were not consistently made in nineteenth century census data. For example, HISCO distinguished between hand and machine spinners. We found that most spinners did not specify whether they were spinning by hand or machine, more often giving information on what they were spinning (e.g; cotton, wool, silk), or a firm's name.

We introduced codes to handle vague occupations, as discussed above. We also created codes to retain linguistic and nominal distinctions above a rough frequency level. These distinctions are generally made in the fourth and fifth digit of the codes. For example, we distinguish between " Farm workers, specialisation unknown" (62110) and " Farmer's sons and other male relatives" (62113), because "farmers son" was a numerically significant response in Canada. Both are considered part of the "Farm labourers and helpers, general farming and n.f.s" unit group (621).

Codes

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Comparability

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Universe

  • All persons

Availability

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