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Unemployment status

Codes and Frequencies

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UNEMPLOY indicates whether the respondent was unemployed. Persons with an occupation response who did not indicate they were unemployed are coded to "employed."


There are differences between samples in terms of the reference period and in the universe of persons asked the question. The 1891 Canada census asked whether the person was unemployed during the previous week. For the Great Britain datasets, UNEMPLOY is derived from EMPSTATGB, which classifies economic activity status based on responses to the "Rank, Profession, or Occupation" census questions. Those who reported living on their own means are classified as not in the labor force. Some of these individuals may have been self-employed at the time of the census. Other non-occupational responses presumably correspond to individuals not in the labor force and were classified accordingly. See of the unharmonized source variables for additional information on labor force status. The 1910 U.S. census reports unemployed status at the time of the census enumeration, but the question was not addressed to self-employed persons.

For all samples, the "employed" category is inferred -- it is the residual of persons with an occupation who did not report being unemployed.


  • Canada 1891: All persons
  • Great Britain 1851: All persons
  • England and Wales 1861 (100%): All persons
  • Scotland 1861 (100%): All persons
  • Great Britain 1871: All persons
  • Scotland 1881 (100%): All persons
  • England and Wales 1881 (100%): All persons
  • England and Wales 1891 (100%): All persons
  • Scotland 1891 (100%): All persons
  • Scotland 1901 (100%): All persons
  • England and Wales 1901 (100%): All persons
  • Great Britain 1911: All persons
  • United States 1910: Not self-employed persons


  • Canada: 1891
  • Great Britain: 1851, 1861a, 1861b, 1871, 1881a, 1881b, 1891a, 1891b, 1901a, 1901b, 1911
  • United States: 1910