This study is provided by Resource Center for Minority Data (RCMD).

Current Population Survey, September 2004: Volunteer Supplement (ICPSR 4218)

Alternate Title:  CPS, September 2004

Principal Investigator(s):


This data collection is comprised of responses from two sets of survey questionnaires, the basic Current Population Survey (CPS) and a survey on the topic of volunteer service, which was administered as a supplement to the September CPS questionnaire.

The CPS, administered monthly, is a labor force survey providing current estimates of the economic status and activities of the population of the United States. Specifically, the CPS provides estimates of total employment (both farm and nonfarm), nonfarm self-employed persons, domestics, and unpaid helpers in nonfarm family enterprises, wage and salaried employees, and estimates of total unemployment. Data from the CPS are provided for the week prior to the survey.

All persons eligible for the labor force items of the basic CPS were also eligible for the volunteer supplement. Altogether, 154,495 interviews were conducted during the period of September 19-25, 2004. Proxy responses were allowed if attempts for a self-response were unsuccessful. The supplement contained questions about the household member's participation in volunteer service from September 1, 2003, to the date of the interview. Household members were queried about the frequency of volunteer activity, the kinds of organizations they volunteered with, the types of activities they chose, whether any volunteering was done in a foreign country, and involvement in their community.

Demographic variables include age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, marital status, veteran status, educational attainment, occupation, and income.

Series: Current Population Survey Volunteer Supplement Series

Access Notes

  • These data are available to the general public.


Current Population Survey, September 2004: Volunteer Supplement - Download All Files (1,062 MB) large file
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Study Description


United States Department of Commerce. Bureau of the Census, and United States Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Current Population Survey, September 2004: Volunteer Supplement. ICPSR04218-v3. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2015-02-20. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR04218.v3

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   armed forces, associations, census data, charitable donations, church groups, community organizations, community participation, demographic characteristics, employment, fundraising, Hispanic or Latino origins, households, income, industry, job change, labor force, layoffs, memberships, music, occupational status, occupations, organizations, part-time employment, political activism, population characteristics, population estimates, social activism, unemployment, volunteers, wages and salaries, work, work experience, working hours

Smallest Geographic Unit:   Core Based Statistical Area (CBSA)

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 2003-09--2004-09

Date of Collection:  

  • 2004-09-19--2004-09-25

Unit of Observation:   individual within housing unit

Universe:   The CPS universe consists of all persons aged 15 years and older in the civilian noninstitutional population of the United States living in households. The September 2004 supplement universe consists of the full CPS sample of all households, for civilian persons age 15 and over.

Data Types:   survey data

Data Collection Notes:

Users are strongly encouraged to refer the User Guide (produced by the Principal Investigators), which contains the questionnaire for the supplement, as well as additional detailed technical documentation regarding the study design, sampling frame used, and response rates.

The universe statements for each variable are defined in either the basic or supplement record layout, which is located in Attachment 7 and 8, respectively, of the User Guide.

ICPSR removed all FILLER and PADDING variables from the data. As a result, the column locations in any ICPSR-released data product (e.g., codebook and setup files) will have column locations that are not consistent with locations described in the User Guide.

Due to the limit in the number of allowable rows of 65,536 and allowable columns of 256 in Excel 97-2003 (file ending, xls), the Excel file being distributed with this collection is in the later version of Excel (file ending of xlsx).


Study Purpose:   The purpose of the 2004 Volunteer Supplement was to examine Americans' volunteer activities in the United States.

Study Design:   The 2004 Volunteer Supplement was conducted as part of the Current Population Survey, an ongoing data collection effort of the United States Census Bureau. The survey was administered to household members aged 15 years and older in the households that were in the exit round of the CPS sample rotation. Computer-assisted personal interviews and computer-assisted telephone interviews were conducted during the period of September 19-25, 2004. Proxy respondents were allowed if attempts for self-responses were unsuccessful. Altogether, 154,495 respondents were interviewed for the 2004 Volunteer Supplement.


Sample households are selected by a multistage stratified statistical sampling scheme. A multistage probability sample was selected to represent the universe of approximately 56,000 households. The CPS sample was selected based on 1990 census information. The first stage of the 1990 sample design created 2,007 geographic areas called primary sampling units (PSUs) in the entire United States. These PSUs were grouped into strata within each state. Some of these PSUs formed strata by themselves and were in sample with certainty, which is referred to as self-representing. Of the remaining nonself-representing PSUs, one PSU was selected from each stratum with the probability of selection proportional to the population of the PSU. A total of 754 PSUs were selected for sample containing 2,121 counties, minor civil divisions, and independent cities. The second stage of the sample design selected housing units within these PSUs.

Approximately 72,000 housing units are assigned for interview each month, of which about 60,000 are occupied and thus eligible for interview. The remainder are units found to be destroyed, vacant, converted to nonresidential use, containing persons whose usual place of residence is elsewhere, or ineligible for other reasons. Of the 60,000 occupied housing units, approximately 5 percent are not interviewed in a given month due to temporary absence (vacation, etc.), the residents are not found at home after repeated attempts, inability of persons contacted to respond, unavailability for other reasons, and refusals to cooperate. The interviewed households contain approximately 112,000 persons 15 years old and over, approximately 31,000 children 0-14 years old, and about 450 Armed Forces members living with civilians either on or off base within these households.

Time Method:   Cross-sectional


The data contain seven CPS weight variables:

  • Household Weight, HWHHWGT, should be used for tallying household characteristics.
  • Family Weight, PWFMWGT, should be used only for tallying family characteristics. cha
  • Longitudinal Weight, PWLGWGT, should be used for gross flows analysis and is found only on adult records matched from month to month.
  • Outgoing Rotation Weight, PWORWGT, should be used for tallying information collected only in outgoing rotations.
  • Final Weight, PWSSWGT, is used for most tabulations, controlled to independent estimates for (1) States; (2) Origin, Sex, and Age; and (3) Age, Race, and Sex.
  • Veterans Weight, PWVETWGT, should be used for tallying veterans data only.
  • Composited Final Weight, PWCMPWGT, is used to create BLS's published labor force statistics.

The one supplement weight variable associated with the 2004 CPS Volunteer Supplement:

Supplement Non-Response Weight, PWNRWGT, should be used to account for missing data due to non-response, and used when constructing estimates from supplement items.

Users are strongly encouraged to refer to the User Guide for detailed information on how to use the weights, as well as how they were derived.

Mode of Data Collection:   computer-assisted personal interview (CAPI), computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI)

Description of Variables:   The CPS variables provide labor force data containing current estimates of the economic status and activities of this population which includes estimates of total employment (both farm and nonfarm), nonfarm self-employed persons, domestics, and unpaid helpers in nonfarm family enterprises, wage and salaried employees, and estimates of total unemployment. The CPS variables also cover respondents' demographic information: age, sex, race, marital status, educational attainment, family relationship, occupation, and industry. The Volunteer Supplement variables provide household member's participation in volunteer service from September 1, 2003 to the date of the interview. Respondents were asked about the frequency of their volunteer activity, the kinds of organizations they volunteered with, and the types of activities they chose. Among those individuals who did not volunteer, the questions identified what barriers they experienced in volunteering, or what would encourage them to volunteer.

Response Rates:   The effect of nonresponse cannot be measured directly, but one indication of its potential effect is the nonresponse rate. For the September 2004 basic CPS, the nonresponse rate was 7.6 percent. The nonresponse rate for the volunteer supplement was an additional 13.1 percent, for a total supplement nonresponse rate of 19.7 percent.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Standardized missing values.
  • Created online analysis version with question text.

Restrictions: Users of the data must agree to the Terms of Use presented on the ICPSR websites and available through the link in each codebook.


Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2015-02-20 The collection was updated to include variable labels and declared missing values. An Excel data file has also been added to this data collection.
  • 2011-05-27 The ASCII data for this collection have been completely replaced. The data collection has been updated to include SAS, SPSS, and Stata setup files for use with the new data. Also included in the update are a corresponding SAS transport (CPORT) file, SPSS system file, Stata system file, and a tab-delimited version of the new ASCII data.



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