Labs > Lab 1: Exploring the 1880 Census Data
OCCUPATION AND DOMESTIC SERVANTS
One of the unusual aspects of the Irish-born population in New York of the 19th century was the population's gender balance. Unlike other immigrants groups, where the balance tipped toward more men than women, among the Irish women made up a larger percentage of those arriving.
Particularly in the first half of the nineteenth century, many (though not all!) of those Irish women were working as domestic servants in private homes. But which Irish women, precisely, were involved in this type of work? What were the demographic characteristics of these workers?
One of the lingering views of women domestics is of the young unmarried woman, aged in her early twenties, toiling in the home of her employer. In fact, such women were often the fodder of newspapers stories, such as these two cases from 1875 and 1885. Clearly built around sensationalism, stock tales of illicit love, and the intersections of the rich and poor, the stories also focus on a familiar figure: the unmarried Irish servant girl.
Read: "A Servant Girl Takes Poison" (New York Times, 1875)
Read: "Louis Masters Weds a Servant" (New York Times, 1885)
How accurate was this picture? Use the IPUMS data to find out...
1. From the IPUMS site, select the 1880 100% sample and download the following variables:
Before requesting the extract, modify the extract so that only CITY codes for 4611 (NYC) and 4610 (Brooklyn) are selected, and that only cases where BPLD is 41400 (Ireland) or 41410 (Northern Ireland) are included. If need be, see SPSS tutorial #2 for how to do this.
2. Open up your data (run the syntax file by changing the command line) so that you have two windows: your data, and your output window. We are going to be looking at occupation. But from the "Variable View" in your data window, take a look at the Values column for OCC (column 6, bottom row). There are codes, but as far as labels readable by humans, there are none. Let's get those entered (you can find a summary list of them here).
Download/open the following text file: Value Labels 1880 OCC
In your Output window, go to File >> New >> Syntax. In the new Syntax window, cut and paste the full text from the Value Labels 1880 OCC file into the main window. You'll see that the text is a list of OCC codes and their labels, set up as an executable script. Go to Run >> Run All in your Syntax window to execute the script. Go back to your variables list in your Data window. You should now see in the summary of labels for OCC your readable entries (instead of number labels). Close the Syntax window and be sure to save your data to your hard drive (not the virtual drive!).