(March CPS)

also known as,



The Current Population Survey (CPS), conducted monthly since 1940, is the source of official Government statistics on employment and unemployment, and provides current estimates on the economic status and activities of the population of the United States. Demographic data are provided on the employment status, occupation, and industry of persons 14 years old and older. Data are collected by personal interviews. The universe is comprised of all persons in the civilian noninstitutionalized population of the United States living in households.

The CPS is the only source of monthly estimates of total employment (both farm and nonfarm), nonfarm self-employed persons, domestics and unpaid helpers in nonfarm family enterprises, wage and salary employees, and estimates of total unemployment. Although the main purpose of the CPS is to collect information on the employment situation, a secondary purpose is to collect information (age, sex, race, marital status, educational attainment, and family structure) on the demographic status of the population. From time to time additional questions are included on such important subjects as health, education, income, and previous work experience. The statistics resulting from these questions serve to update similar information collected once every 10 years through the decennial census.

The Annual Demographic Files contain the basic labor force and demographic data described above, plus additional data on work experience, income, noncash benefits and migration.





January Current Population Survey:

Besides the CPS core questions, the January Files contain supplemental data on job tenure and occupational mobility for employed persons 16 and over, including items such as occupation and labor force status a year ago, length of time with present employer, length of time in the same occupation, and reasons for changing occupation. Also included in these data files is information on residence one year earlier and education in the previous year. The January 1986 survey, subtitled "Displaced Workers", contains additional data that refers to periods of unemployment as well as number of jobs held, use of unemployment benefits, whether residence was changed to seek work in another area, current health insurance coverage, and current weekly earnings. The 1987 study is subtitled "Occupational Mobility and Job Tenure", and provides supplemental data on those subjects. The 1988 study concerns displaced workers.

April Current Population Survey:

Besides the CPS core questions, the 1983 April file contains additional information on date of birth, country of birth, citizenship status, year entered the United States, number of children born, date of birth of most recent child, and total number of children born in countries outside of American jurisdiction currently living in the household. The 1985 April file, subtitled Veterans Supplement, provides additional information on military service and veteran disability for males 18 years and older, including veteran status, period of service, Vietnam theater status, service-connected disability rating, and receipt of disability income.

May Current Population Survey:

Besides the CPS core questions, the May files also provide data on total family income, weekly earnings of the respondent, dual jobs and reasons for them, days and hours worked per week, earnings per hour, union membership (beginning in the 1973 file), and time of day at which work began and ended. There are two files available for 1978, a regular file and an Adult Education file. The 1983 file is subtitled Pension and Retirement Plan Coverage, and includes information on employer and union sponsored retirement plans as well as individual retirement plans (IRA's) and Keogh's. The 1984 file and second 1978 files are subtitled "Adult Education", and include information on subject area of courses taken, credit status, reasons for taking the course, and source of payment. The 1985 file is subtitled "Work Schedules, Multiple Jobholding", and Premium Pay, and contains additional information on temporary work and primary job-related activities completed at home. The 1988 files is a survey of employee benefits. The 1991 file is on multiple job holdings and work schedules.

June Current Population Survey:

The June files contain the core labor force data included in every CPS, plus a special series of variables concerning the issues of fertility and child rearing. The files include data on birth history, birth expectations, and child care arrangements. Data for women (14 or 15) to 59 years of age include the total number of children ever born, date of birth of the first child and most recent child, and date of first marriage. Women 18 to (34 or 44) years of age were asked the number of children they still expect to have. All currently employed women 18 to (34 or 44) years of age with a child under five in the household were asked about child-care arrangements, including location, hours when care is provided, if cash or non-cash payment is made, and whether women would work more hours if satisfactory child care could be provided. The studies for 1983, 1984, and 1987 are subtitled "Fertility and Birth Expectations". The 1985 study is subtitled "Marital History and Fertility", and includes additional information from men and women aged 15 or over on number of times married, date of marriage, and date of widowhood or divorce. Questions on fertility were asked of married women 15 years and over and never married women 18 years and over concerning number of liveborn children, their ages and sex. The 1986 study is subtitled "Immigration, Fertility and Birth Expectations", and includes additional questions concerning country of birth, citizenship, and year of immigration.

October Current Population Survey:

In addition to providing the CPS core data, the October CPS surveys also contain a special supplement on school enrollment. These supplements, which furnish data for both adults and children, offer information on continuing education, previous year's enrollment, degree anticipated, grade or year of school attended, and whether school attended is public or private. New items introduced in the 1984 supplement deal with direct or "hands-on" use of computers. These additional variables include presence of computers in the home, school, and workplace, purposes for which home computers are used, and average time spent weekly working with computers. The 1983, 1984, 1989, and 1990 studies are subtitled "School Enrollment".

No publications are currently on-line.


  • NAME: Bureau of the Census Customer Services
  • EMAIL:
  • PHONE: 301-763-4100
  • FAX: 301-763-4794
  • OTHER:

    Customer Services Branch Data User Services Division
    Bureau of the Census
    Washington, DC 20233


  • NAME: CIESIN User Services
  • EMAIL:
  • PHONE: 517-797-2727
  • FAX: 517-797-2622

    2250 Pierce Road,
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Census, United States, Demographics, Surveys, Populations, Households, Economics, Labor Force, CPS, ADF.