What is the meaning of "n/a" in the citizen, wkswork2, empstat variables on the 2012 acs?


I’m thinking that on “citizen” since the only options are " N/A", “Born abroad of American parents”, “Naturalized citizen”, and “Not a citizen” that N/A means “citizen born in the US”. Is this correct?

For empstat, the options are “n/a”, “employed”, “unemployed”, and “not in labor force”. Does n/a just mean that the question wasn’t answered? The n/a responses are 19.26% of my sample…

For wkswork2, the “n/a” response is 49.63% of my sample. Does this mean that 49.63% of the sample either didnt work or didnt respond?

Sorry if these questions are easily answered somewhere on the website-- if there is such a location, I’d love to know.



An “N/A” (Not Applicable) category is the same as an “NIU” (Not In Universe) category. You can tell who falls into these categories by looking at the Universe Statement for the variable. For example, the Universe of CITIZEN in 2012 (ACS) is “Foreign-born persons”, so you are correct that everyone in the NA response category should be Citizens born in the U.S. Similarly since the EMPSTAT Universe excludes persons under the age of 16, all respondents who are 15 years old or younger would have been given the “N/A” response. Finally WKSWORK2 adds the condition that the respondent had to have worked last year. With WKSWORK2, if you limit your sample to people who are 16+ and are in the Labor Force (using LABFORCE or EMPSTAT) only about 4.8% of respondents will be in the N/A category, implying that they did not work at all in the last year and are likely unemployed (which you can check with EMPSTAT).

I hope this helps.