Occupational status in 2000
Over a century of census-based measurement
CHARLES B. NAM
& MONICA BOYD
Center for Demography and Population Health, Florida State University, Tallahassee,
FL 32306-2240, USA;
Department of Sociology, University of Toronto, 725 Spadina
Avenue, Toronto, Ont., Canada M5S 2J4, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract. The Nam–Powers–Boyd Occupational Status Scale for the year 2000 is
introduced here. It is the sixth in a decennial series of such scales that were initiated at
the Census Bureau a half century earlier. The bureau’s examination of occupational
status actually goes back to the end of the 19th century and its thread continues today.
The historical background of the 2000 scale, the methodology for constructing the
scores, some comparisons with other occupational scales, the 2000 scores themselves,
and applications of the 2000 scores are presented.
Keywords: Measurement, Occupations, Socioeconomic
The occupational status scores presented in this article carry forward a
tradition of interest in occupations and their social signiﬁcance going
back to the founding of the American nation. In the sections that fol-
low, we will cover these aspects of census-based occupational mea-
surement: (1) historical background; (2) methodology for constructing
the occupational status scores; (3) conceptual and empirical compari-
sons with other occupational scales; (4) the 2000 scores themselves; and
(5) applications of the 2000 scores.
Although the ﬁrst census of the United States in 1790 was a bare-bones
inquiry, covering items of sex, age, color, and slave status, there had
been an attempt to also include an item on occupational pursuit. James
Madison, who championed the collection of occupational information,
made reference to the need for ‘‘the description of the several classes in
Population Research and Policy Review 23: 327–358, 2004.
Ó 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.