how to determine if ATUS respondent on vacation?

I’m wondering if there is any way to identify if a respondent is on vacation via the ATUS? I know there are the variables about travelling as a form of entertainment, but I don’t think that quite captures it. Is there another workaround that might help me?


This is a good and interesting question. In general, this will depend on what you mean by “vacation.” The EMPSTAT variable has a response category “employed–absent,” which (as noted on page 49 of the ATUS Users Guide) will include individuals who were not working during the seven days prior to the interview but had jobs or businesses from which they were temporarily absent because of illness, bad weather, vacation, childcare problems, labor-management disputes, maternity or paternity leave, job training, or other family or personal reasons, whether or not they were paid for the time off or were seeking other jobs. This clearly includes a broader list of reasons for being absent from work than simply vacation for the purpose of entertainment. More specifically, the WHYABSNT variable differentiates these different reasons. One of the response categories is “vacation/personal days.” This might be the most narrow definition of “vacation” available in ATUS data.

Thanks! I should have clarified that I’m more wondering if there is a way with the ATUS activity codes to derive if a person is on a vacation, or if they are travelling for vacation or for pleasure? I see the ‘travel as a source of entertainment’ but the description doesnt really refer to travelling for vacation, other than sightseeing.

Ah, I see. Yeah, I think your judgement is correct here. There is no unique activity code that captures “vacation” activities. You can likely approximate the concept by combining a few codes together, but even so this will likely be imperfect.