Austria (Cisleithania) and Hungary conducted censuses in 1890, 1900, and 1910, which included detailed occupation statistics on the regional level (that is, political districts in Austria, which mostly had 30,000 to 70,000 inhabitants, and counties in Hungary, which were two to four times larger). The censuses differed in some respects ... (Show more)
Austria (Cisleithania) and Hungary conducted censuses in 1890, 1900, and 1910, which included detailed occupation statistics on the regional level (that is, political districts in Austria, which mostly had 30,000 to 70,000 inhabitants, and counties in Hungary, which were two to four times larger). The censuses differed in some respects between the two states but basic features were supposed to be similar enough to allow direct comparisons. In addition, the changes in classification tables between the census years within each state were minimal, for instance, adding detailed information to the vertical classification, or, changing the assignment of some branches to sectors (the branch classification itself was changed in a few cases as well, a problem that can be solved by aggregation).
Thus, the three censuses in the two states may be expected to offer a consistent picture of the occupational structure of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Actually, most people assume somewhat naively that the categorisation done by the statistical offices can reliably be taken at face value.
In fact, however, the results suggest that the attribution of individuals to predefined occupational categories followed varying principles. There are two main issues and some minor problems:
– One major issue is the classification of independently working women mostly in agriculture who collaborated with their husbands in a common business. Census officials tended to classify these women as dependent workers (or, “collaborating family members”) instead of independent farmers. The deviation of the correct picture seems to vary arbitrarily from census to census.
– The second issue is the classification of people who pursued more than one occupation. Work in two or three different branches was quite common. The Statistical Office was aware of the problem and added several categories of by-occuputions in different sectors to the main occupation statistics. However, the indications of mixed occupations are probably not complete in the first place; thus, the census data suggest a proportion of people pursuing just one occupation that is probably too large. In addition, the classification of one occupation as main occupation, and the classification of other occupations as by-occupations, seems to have been arbitray, which becomes visible, for instance, in a comparison of Austria and Hungary.
– Other problems result from the desire to apply a uniform vertical classification on all branches. Clearly, the vertical structure differs between agriculture, branches of the secondary sector, and services. In addition, the Statistical Offices applied the same classification on people on welfare and on people of independent means.
As a result, we find a number on inconsistencies visible in tabular presentation as well as maps.
The paper deals with two issues:
1. How can we reliably distinguish between inconsistencies generated by deficient classification, and real world differences in the occupational structure of regions?
2. How can we use or correct the documented data in order to achieve a reliable and consistent picture of occupations in Austria-Hungary in the pre-World War I period? (Show less)