, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 471–492 | Cite as

Trends in Occupational Segregation by Gender 1970–2009: Adjusting for the Impact of Changes in the Occupational Coding System

  • Francine D. BlauEmail author
  • Peter Brummund
  • Albert Yung-Hsu Liu


In this article, we develop a gender-specific crosswalk based on dual-coded Current Population Survey data to bridge the change in the census occupational coding system that occurred in 2000 and use it to provide the first analysis of the trends in occupational segregation by sex for the 1970–2009 period based on a consistent set of occupational codes and data sources. We show that our gender-specific crosswalk more accurately captures the trends in occupational segregation that are masked using the aggregate crosswalk (based on combined male and female employment) provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. Using the 2000 occupational codes, we find that segregation by sex declined substantially over the period but at a diminished pace over the decades, falling by only 1.1 percentage points (on a decadal basis) in the 2000s. A primary mechanism by which segregation was reduced was through the entry of new cohorts of women, presumably better prepared than their predecessors and/or encountering less labor market discrimination; during the 1970s and 1980s, however, occupational segregation also decreased within cohorts. Reductions in segregation were correlated with education, with the largest decrease among college graduates and very little change in segregation among high school dropouts.


Occupational segregation Gender Discrimination 



The authors are grateful for the helpful comments and suggestions of Andrea Beller, Jessica Pan, Myra Strober, Anne Winkler, the editor, two deputy editors, and three anonymous referees.


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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francine D. Blau
    • 1
    Email author
  • Peter Brummund
    • 2
  • Albert Yung-Hsu Liu
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Economics, Finance and Legal StudiesUniversity of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA
  3. 3.Mathematica Policy Research, IncOaklandUSA

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