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Current Population Survey (CPS) – October Supplement


Some of the key concepts in the CPS October Supplement are defined below. For additional terms relevant to the October Supplement, as well as to the basic CPS, refer to School Enrollment—Social and Economic Characteristics of Students: October 1996 (Update). Detailed Tables and Documentation for P20-500 (U.S. Department of Commerce 1998).

Household. All persons who occupy a housing unit. A house, an apartment or other group of rooms, or a single room is regarded as a housing unit when it is occupied or intended for occupancy as separate living quarters; that is, when the occupants do not live and eat with any other persons in the structure and there is direct access from the outside or through a common hall. A household includes the related family members and all the unrelated persons, if any, such as lodgers, foster children, wards, or employees who share the housing unit. A person living alone in a housing unit, or a group of unrelated persons sharing a housing unit as partners, is also counted as a household.

School Enrollment. School enrollment includes anyone who has been enrolled at any time during the current term or school year in any type of public, parochial, or other private school in the regular school system. Such schools include nursery schools, kindergartens, elementary schools, high schools, colleges, universities, and professional schools. Attendance may be either full time or part time, during the day or night. Regular schooling is that which may advance a person toward an elementary or high school diploma, or a college, university, or professional school degree. Enrollment is excluded if in schools that are not in the regular school system or that do not advance students to regular school degrees (e.g., enrollment in trade schools, business colleges, and schools for the mentally handicapped).

Level of School. Nursery school, kindergarten, elementary school (1st through 8th grades), high school (9th through 12th grades), and college or professional school. The last level includes graduate students in colleges or universities. Persons enrolled in elementary school, middle school, intermediate school, or junior high school through the 8th grade are classified as in elementary school. All persons enrolled in the 9th through 12th grades are classified as in high school.

Nursery School. A group or class that is organized to provide educational experiences for children during the year or years preceding kindergarten. This includes Head Start programs or similar programs sponsored by local agencies to provide preschool education to young children.

Public or Private School. A public school is defined as any educational institution operated by publicly elected or appointed school officials and supported by public funds. Private schools include educational institutions established and operated by religious bodies, as well as those that are under other private control. In cases where enrollment is in a school or college that is both publicly and privately controlled or supported, enrollment is counted according to whether it is primarily public or private.

Modal Grade. For descriptive and analytic purposes, enrolled persons are classified according to their relative progress in school; that is, whether the grade or year in which they were enrolled was below, at, or above the modal (or typical) grade for persons of their age at the time of the survey. The modal grade is the year of school in which the largest proportion of students of a given age are enrolled.

Vocational School Enrollment. Vocational school enrollment includes enrollment in business, vocational, technical, secretarial, trade, and correspondence courses not counted as regular school enrollment and not for recreation or adult education classes.

Educational Attainment. Highest level of school a person has completed or highest degree a person has received.