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Measuring Social Status With Occupational Information: Some Useful Procedures NICHD SES

Stricker, Lawrence J.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Codification, Correlation, Duncan Socioeconomic Index, Hollingshead's Occupational Scale, Measurement Techniques, Occupational Information, Scaling, Socioeconomic Status (SES)


Two existing measures of occupation that seem to be useful for investigating social status are described and compared. Modifications are suggested on the basis of extensive investigation of the dimensions of social stratification. Hollingshead scale classifies occupations into seven categories. Because the coder must classify unlisted occupations on the basis of general resemblance to available examples, the scale requires judgment. Using it, however, does not require much training. Duncan's Socioeconomic Index, which provides scores for occupations used in the 1950 census, can be used to code occupations directly. Coding is complex and requires much training. Modifications of the Hollingshead scale rearranged the format, reversed the direction of the scores, altered values of businesses and farms to reflect 1971 dollars, and added categories for "No Occupation," "Don't Know," "Not Ascertained," and "Inapplicable." The modification of the Duncan SEI entailed a number of changes in the SED scores, census occupation and industry codes, and coding procedures.

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