The National Committee of Vital Health Statistics (NCVHS) is recommending that occupation and industry are added to the list of key measures that the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services uses to assess socioeconomic status in its surveys.
That action is backed by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) researchers, who say; “cccupation and industry are core socioeconomic variables collected in most federal health surveys. Relevant distinctions in occupation are not detected by other indicators of SES.”
The NIOSH researchers suggested that at a minimum, a set of two standardized questions should be implemented: one question to collect occupation and one question to collect industry. “The set of four standardized questions used in the ACS that collect additional information about work tasks and employer should also be considered. Automated coding of occupation and industry of survey responses should be further developed.”
The NCVHS recommendation includes occupation and industry alongside income, education, and family size as the key components necessary for the measurement of socioeconomic status and its relationship to health.
The NCVHS recommendation letter can be viewed at www.ncvhs.hhs.gov/120622lt.pdf.