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SEI
Duncan Socioeconomic Index

Description

SEI is a constructed measure that assigns a Duncan Socioeconomic Index (SEI) score to each occupation using the 1950 occupational classification scheme available in the OCC1950 variable. The SEI is a measure of occupational status based upon the income level and educational attainment associated with each occupation in 1950.

User caution: There is significant debate about the usefulness of composite measures of occupational standing (in the IPUMS, these variables include SEI, HWSEI, NPBOSS50, and NPBOSS90). We strongly urge researchers to read our user note on this issue and to familiarize themselves with the debates surrounding the use of these variables.

Using data from the 1947 National Opinion Research Center (NORC) survey and the 1950 census, Duncan regressed the occupational prestige ratings (i.e., percentage of "excellent" and "good" ratings on the five-point scale used in the 1947 NORC survey) on occupational education (i.e., age-standardized percentage of male occupational incumbents who are high school graduates) and occupational income (i.e., age- standardized percentage of male occupational incumbents whose incomes were $3,500 or more in 1949) for a limited number of occupations. The resulting statistical model was used to generate socioeconomic scores for the entire range of 1950 occupations. The SEI is, therefore, the weighted sum of occupational education and occupational income.

See O. D. Duncan, "A Socioeconomic Index for All Occupations," in A. Reiss et al., Occupations and Social Status (Free Press, 1961).

The SEI variable is based on OCC1950. Alternative measures of occupational standing that are based on OCC1950 are available in EDSCOR50, ERSCOR50, NPBOSS50, OCCSCORE, and PRESGL. For information on the construction of OCC1950 and occupational standing measures, see "Integrated Occupation and Industry Codes and Occupational Standing Variables in the IPUMS." Users must judge for themselves how socioeconomic or prestige status may have changed relative to the circa-1950 survey results.

Codes

SEI is a constructed 2-digit numeric variable that assigns a Duncan Socioeconomic Index (SEI) score to each occupation using the 1950 occupational classification scheme available in the OCC1950 variable. The SEI variable is a weighted sum of occupational education and occupational income measures based on OCC1950. See O. D. Duncan, "A Socioeconomic Index for All Occupations," in A. Reiss et al., Occupations and Social Status (Free Press, 1961) for further discussion. For information on the construction of OCC1950 and occupational standing measures, see "Integrated Occupation and Industry Codes and Occupational Standing Variables in the IPUMS". SEI specific variable codes for missing, edited, or unidentified observations, observations not applicable (N/A), observations not in universe (NIU), top and bottom value coding, etc. are provided below if applicable by Census year (and data sample if specified).

User caution: There is significant debate about the usefulness of composite measures of occupational standing (in the IPUMS, these variables include SEI, HWSEI, NPBOSS50, and NPBOSS90). We strongly urge researchers to read our user note on this issue and to familiarize themselves with the debates surrounding the use of these variables.

SEI Specific Variable Codes
00 = N/A
96 = 96 (Top Code)

Comparability

Prior to 1960, only persons in the labor force responded to the occupation inquiry. In 1960 and 1970, occupations were recorded for persons who had worked within the previous ten years, and in 1980-2000, the ACS and the PRCS for persons who had worked within the previous five years. Persons not currently in the labor force who reported a past occupation do receive an SEI score. Note also that some cases in 1940, 1950, and 1960 have missing values in the occupation variable (code 997 in OCC1950). Many of these persons were in the labor force (working or seeking work), but, because they failed to report a specific occupation, they receive a SEI score of zero. To construct a fully compatible universe, select persons currently in the labor force (see LABFORCE), with a valid occupational response in OCC1950 (0 thru 970).

Any person in the military from 1960 on is assigned the military OCC1950 code (595), along with corresponding OCCSCORE and SEI values. Military personnel had no occupation in the original 1960-1980 samples, but beginning in 1990 they were to report the occupation describing the role they played in the military (e.g., cook, clerk). This detailed information is retained in OCC (Occupation) but not in OCC1950 (the basis for SEI).

Because 1850 and 1860 exclude slaves (and 1850 also excluded women), mean income scores in those years are much higher than in other early census years.

User Caution: The translation of occupation codes into the 1950 classification is particularly problematic for 1980-2000. Since SEI is based on OCC1950 coding, the same comparison difficulties pertain to both variables. A significant reorganization of the Census Bureau's occupational classification scheme in 1980 and again in 2000 means that comparisons across those years will be more distorted than similar comparisons across other decades.

Universe

  • Persons with an occupational response (codes 000-970) recorded in OCC1950. See variable description below.

Availability

United States
  • 2016: All samples
  • 2015: All samples
  • 2014: All samples
  • 2013: All samples
  • 2012: All samples
  • 2011: All samples
  • 2010: ACS; ACS 3yr; ACS 5yr
  • 2009: All samples
  • 2008: All samples
  • 2007: All samples
  • 2006: All samples
  • 2005: All samples
  • 2004: All samples
  • 2003: All samples
  • 2002: All samples
  • 2001: All samples
  • 2000: All samples
  • 1990: All samples
  • 1980: All samples
  • 1970: All samples
  • 1960: All samples
  • 1950: All samples
  • 1940: All samples
  • 1930: All samples
  • 1920: All samples
  • 1910: All samples
  • 1900: All samples
  • 1880: All samples
  • 1870: All samples
  • 1860: All samples
  • 1850: All samples
Puerto Rico
  • 2016: All samples
  • 2015: All samples
  • 2014: All samples
  • 2013: All samples
  • 2012: All samples
  • 2011: All samples
  • 2010: PRCS; PRCS 3yr; PRCS 5yr
  • 2009: All samples
  • 2008: All samples
  • 2007: All samples
  • 2006: All samples
  • 2005: All samples
  • 2000: All samples
  • 1990: All samples
  • 1980: All samples
  • 1970: All samples
  • 1930: --
  • 1920: All samples
  • 1910: All samples

Flags

QOCC 

Editing Procedure

There is no editing procedure available for this variable.