International Standard Classification of Occupations – Census Occupations


Mapping Occupations

Having collected all the Census Records for any household with an ‘Attridge’ in it, from the England and UK Census records, I need to standardise the way in which some items appear.

Specifically for this post, the occupations.  The transcriptions are full of spelling mistakes and oddities.

And although I will be keeping the original comments, it would prove useful to be able to group together these people by a standard occupation.

At first I spent quite a bit of time manually adjusting a mapping table to standardise what I was finding. Then I thought to myself that someone else must have done this. Well, to cut a long story short, I find no mention of anyone doing this. Except for these guys – ISCO .

Fantastically they have listed a clever way of grouping jobs.  I will now be able to go through the 1,287 distinct occupations  and map them to the ISCO-08 index.


I suspect that there are some jobs listed in the census that just won’t exist in this ISCO-08. And just checking one that I had seen previously and had raised my eyebrow at, helps to elucidate the issue  – Gimp Maker.

This is probably indicative of how North American culture has seeped into British consciousness.

From searching online for Dictionary gimp I get the following Online Collins Dictionary definition:

noun. US and Canadian offensive , slang. a physically disabled person, esp one who is lame. slang. a sexual fetishist who likes to be dominated and who dresses in a leather or rubber body suit with mask, zips, and chains.

The second definition is what came to my mind (I blame the film Pulp Fiction for this). But it  turns out that the answer Google first supplies is probably more ‘correct’.



1.twisted silk, worsted, or cotton with cord or wire running through it, used chiefly as upholstery trimming
2. fishing line made of silk bound with wire.
That sounds more like it.  The question will be how to align the old occupation, which clearly is a job that has been replaced in the industrial age by machines, with a listing in the ISCO-08.
7533 Sewer, upholstery
This is the best I can come up with.

Impending Uselessness

This wonderful article – In Praise of Short-Term Thinking – whose sub heading (below) illuminates what has happened for jobs such as the Gimp Maker and what will happen in the future.
For hundreds of years, economic observers have feared that machines were making human workers obsolete. In a sense, they’ve been right.
Carrying out the mapping will allow me, for my small sub sample, work out the rate of uselessness and its increase over the few decades I am interested in.  I think we would need to see the occupations list up till now (which we don’t get of course till they are released) for it to be truly illuminating.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Milo says:

    This blog was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found something that helped me. Thank you!|

    1. Admin says:

      Well considering the blog is a fast paced as a tortoise with no legs, thats a nice compliment.

      You have your own census issues?

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