Link to Census 2000 Gateway

Major Differences in Subject-Matter Content Between the 1990 and 2000 Census Questionnaires

Note: The numbers for the questions below are the same as on the Census 2000 long mail-out questionnaire (D-2).


1. Name

  • In 1990, a question was not explicitly asked; respondents were instructed to write the name of each person listed in the roster. In 2000, a question is asked "What is this person’s name?"

2. Household Relationship

  • In 2000, there are separate categories for natural-born son/daughter, adopted son/daughter, parent-in-law, son-in- law/daughter-in-law, and foster child. In 1990, natural born and adopted son/daughter were combined, in-laws were included in the "other relative" category and "foster child" was combined with "roomer, boarder."

3. Sex

  • No major changes.

4. Age and Date of Birth

  • The 2000 question asks for age on April 1, 2000, whereas the 1990 question asked for age at last birthday.
  • The 2000 question asks for complete date of birth (month, day, and year), whereas the 1990 question asked only for year of birth.

5. Spanish/Hispanic/Latino

  • In 2000, a note is included preceding the Spanish/Hispanic/Latino question which states "NOTE: Please answer BOTH Questions 5 and 6."
  • The order of the race and Hispanic questions is switched in 2000. The Hispanic question now directly precedes the race question. In 1990, the race question preceded the Hispanic question. Also, in 1990, two other questions (age/year of birth and marital status) separated the race and Hispanic questions.
  • In 2000, the term "Latino" is added to the question wording and response options "Spanish/Hispanic/Latino."
  • In 2000, examples are not included for the "Yes, other Spanish/Hispanic/Latino" response option, whereas in 1990 six examples were provided.

6. Race

  • A major change for the 2000 question was adding the instruction "Mark [X] one or more races to indicate what this person considers himself/herself to be." The 1990 question instructed respondents to "Fill ONE circle for the race that the person considers himself/herself to be."
  • For 2000, the American Indian and Alaska Native categories were combined; in 1990, these were three separate categories American Indian, Eskimo, and Aleut. The 2000 version allows American Indians and Alaska Natives to write-in their tribal affiliation. In 1990, there was a write-in only for American Indians.
  • For 2000, the Asian and Pacific Islander response categories have been split into two groups. Asian categories are listed in alphabetical order. Pacific Islander categories also are listed alphabetically, except that Native Hawaiian is the first category in the Pacific Islander list. The1990 spanner for Asian or Pacific Islander was deleted in 2000.
  • For 2000, the term "Chamorro" is added to the 1990 response option Guamanian, i.e., "Guamanian or Chamorro." The race question in 2000 has three write-in lines, one for "American Indian or Alaska Native," one for "Other Asian" or "Other Pacific Islander," and one for "Some other race." In 1990, the race question had two write-in lines, one for "Indian (Amer.)" and one for "Other API" or "Other race."

7. Marital Status

  • In 2000, the marital status question will be asked on a sample basis, whereas in 1990 the question was asked on a 100-percent basis.

8a. School Enrollment

  • No major changes.

8b. Grade Enrolled

  • This question was not included in the 1990 census. In 1990, estimates of grade enrolled were based on the school enrollment and educational attainment questions.

9. Educational Attainment

  • The question wording was changed in 2000 to more directly ask about completion of highest degree or level of school instead of including this in an instruction as was done in 1990.
  • In 2000, nursery school through 4th grade were combined into one category. In 1990, nursery school, kindergarten, and 1st-4th grade were three separate categories.
  • Grades 5-8 were split into two categories in 2000 5th grade or 6th grade and 7th grade or 8th grade.
  • The category "Some college, but no degree" was split into two categories in 2000--"Some college credit, but less than 1 year" and "1 or more years of college, no degree."
  • In 2000, only one "Associate degree" category was included. In 1990, occupational and academic associate degrees were shown separately.

10. Ancestry

  • For Census 2000, the list of examples for the question was reduced from 21 to 16 examples. Dropped from the 1990 list were German, Croatian, Ecuadoran, Cajun, Irish, Thai, and Slovak. Added for 2000 were Cambodian and Nigerian.

11. Language Spoken at Home

  • For 2000, in the list of examples, "Korean" replaced "Chinese," which was used in 1990.

12. Place of Birth

  • Response check boxes were added in 2000 to distinguish between born in the U.S. and born outside the U.S. For 2000, separate write-in lines were used for U.S. state of birth and place outside the U.S. In 1990, there was one write-in line.

13. Citizenship

  • No major changes.

14. Year of Entry to the U.S.

  • For 2000, respondents print the year they came to live in the U.S., whereas in 1990 ten response intervals were provided.

15. Migration (Residence 5 Years Ago)

  • For 2000, a separate write-in line was added for places outside the U.S., whereas in 1990 this was combined with the U.S. state write-in line.
  • Added ZIP Code to the question for 2000.
  • Reordered the sequence of city, county, and state write-in lines for 2000.

16-17. Disability

  • The 2000 questions changed significantly from the 1990 questions. New 2000 questions cover the major life activities of seeing and hearing and the ability to perform physical and mental tasks.
  • These questions collect data on the disability status of children 5 years and over as well as adults. The 1990 questions collected data only for persons 15 years and over.

18. Age Screener
[This question reduces respondent burden by instructing persons under 15 to skip questions on labor force status, veteran status, income, etc.]

  • This question asks "Was this person under 15 years of age on April 1, 2000?" The response options are "Yes" and "No."
  • In 1990, the question was "When was this person born?" The two response options in 1990 were "Born before April 1, 1975" and "Born April 1, 1975 or later."

19. Grandparents as Caregivers

  • This is a new question for 2000.

20a. Military Service

  • The 2000 instruction explains the meaning of "active duty" for the Reserves and National Guard with special emphasis on "activation," whereas the 1990 instruction merely refers to the respondent instruction guide.
  • The Reserves or National Guard response category was changed from a "yes" to a "no" option.

20b. Period of Military Service

  • Categories for 2000 were updated to go until 2000.
  • The category "World War I" was dropped.

20c. Years of Military Service

  • The 2000 item included two categories "Less than 2 years" and "2 years or more." In 1990, respondents wrote in the number of years that they had served in the military.

21. Work Last Week

  • The 2000 question asks whether the person worked for pay or profit last week; the 1990 question asked only whether the person worked ("pay or profit" was implied).

22. Place of Work

  • No major changes.

23a. Means of Transportation to Work

  • No major changes.

23b. Carpooling

  • The 1990 response categories "5 people" and "6 people" were collapsed to "5 or 6 people" for Census 2000.
  • In 2000, the upper category was "7 or more people" whereas in 1990 it was "10 or more people."

24a. Departure Time

  • No major changes.

24b. Minutes to Work

  • No major changes.
25a-c. Absence From Work
  • In 1990, one question was used to ask about temporary absence or layoff last week. In 2000, three separate questions are asked regarding -- 1) layoff last week, 2) temporary absence last week, and 3) recall to work.

25d. Looking for Work

  • No major changes.

25e. Availability for Work

  • The Census 2000 question replaces the 1990 question’s concept of "taking a job" with that of "starting a job"; and it expands the meaning of being available for a job to include "returning to work if recalled." The response fields have been reworded for 2000. The 1990 field "No, already has a job" was deleted.

26. Work History Screener [This screener question reduces respondent burden and properly defines the "experienced civilian labor force."]

  • This is an abbreviated screener question about work history which will be included with questions about industry, occupation, and class of worker in 2000. In 1990, there was a detailed "Year Last Worked" question (see page 6).

27. Industry

  • No major changes.

28. Occupation

  • No major changes.

29. Class of Worker

  • No major changes.

30a.Work Last Year

  • The 2000 question eliminated the 1990 references to work on a farm and to a "paid" job; it replaces the 1990 phrase "even for a few days" with "at any time."

30b.Weeks Worked Last Year

  • No major changes.

30c.Usual Hours Worked Last Year

  • In the response field, the reminder "Usual hours worked each WEEK" is used in Census 2000. For 1990, "Hours" was used.

31-32. Income

  • In 1990, nonfarm self-employment income and farm self-employment income were two separate questions, whereas in 2000 these questions are combined into one.
  • In 1990, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) was combined with other public assistance income. In 2000, these income types are asked separately.
  • For 2000, reference to "Aid to Families with Dependent Children" (AFDC) was dropped in the Public Assistance question.

-> Children Ever Born (Fertility)

  • This question was included in the 1990 census but is not included in Census 2000.

-> Year Last Worked

  • This question was included in the 1990 census but is not included in Census 2000. For 2000, there is a very abbreviated screener question about work history (see Question 26).

-> Hours Worked Last Week

  • This question was included in the 1990 census but is not included in Census 2000.


33. Tenure (Owner or Renter)

  • No major changes.

34. Units in Structure

  • Two categories were changed. In 1990, the first and last categories were "A mobile home or trailer" and "Other." In 2000, these are now "A mobile home" and "Boat, RV, van, etc." This question was asked on a 100-percent basis in 1990, whereas it is asked on a sample basis in 2000.

35. Year Structure Built

  • The response category "Don’t know" was eliminated for 2000.

36. Year Householder Moved In

  • No major changes.

37. Rooms

  • No major changes. This question was asked on a 100-percent basis in 1990, whereas it is asked on a sample basis in 2000.

38. Bedrooms

  • No major changes.

39. Plumbing Facilities

  • No major changes.

40. Kitchen Facilities

  • No major changes.

41. Telephone Service

  • The 1990 question asked if a telephone was in the unit, whereas the 2000 question asks if there is telephone service available in the unit, from which they can both make and receive calls.

42. Heating Fuel

  • No major changes.

43. Vehicles Available

  • The upper limit category changed to "6 or more" in 2000. For 1990, the upper limit category was "7 or more."

44a-c. Business on Property, Acreage, and Sales of Agricultural Products

  • In 1990, the question regarding business on property was asked on a 100-percent basis. In 2000, it is asked on a sample basis.
  • In 1990, acreage was asked in two separate questions one on a 100-percent basis and one on a sample basis. In 2000, it is asked on a sample basis in one question.
  • No major changes to the question on sales of agricultural products.

45. Utility Costs

  • The word "annual" replaces "yearly" in 2000.
  • The cost of water also includes sewage fees in 2000, whereas in 1990 it did not.

46. Monthly Rent and Meals Included in Rent

  • In 2000, the amount of rent is a write-in response rather than a categorical response as in 1990. These questions were asked on a 100-percent basis in 1990, whereas they are asked on a sample basis in 2000.

47. Mortgage and Monthly Mortgage Payment

  • No major changes.

48. Second Mortgage or Home Equity Loan and Monthly Payment

  • The description "junior mortgage" was deleted from the question regarding the types of loans/mortgages that are on the property.
  • The response option "Yes" in 1990 was split into two categories "Yes, a second mortgage" and "Yes, a home equity loan."

49. Real Estate Taxes

  • No major changes.

50. Fire, Hazard, and Flood Insurance

  • Changed "annual" to "yearly" in 2000.

51. Value

  • This question was asked on a 100-percent basis in 1990, whereas it is asked on a sample basis in 2000.
  • The distribution for response categories has changed since 1990 as the total number of categories dropped from 26 to 24, while the highest interval is "$1,000,000 or more" in 2000, up from "$500,000 or more" in 1990.

52. Condominium Fee

  • No major changes.

53. Mobile Home Fee

  • The question was changed from a one-part to a two-part question in 2000. The first part was added and reads "Do you have an installment loan or contract on THIS mobile home?"
  • The second part of the question has been changed to include the cost for installment loan payments in the total cost.

-> Source of Water

  • This question was included in the 1990 census but is not included in Census 2000.

-> Sewage Disposal

  • This question was included in the 1990 census but is not included in Census 2000.

-> Condominium Status

  • This question was included in the 1990 census but is not included in Census 2000.