Name: The 1960 Census (Folk- och bostadräkningen 1960)
Period(s): 1960 (SMS/WMD)
Code book: II and VI

An introduction

By Carl-Gunnar Janson (1980) Register Data II. A code book. Project Metropolitan. Research Report No 15. Stockholm.

The 1960 Census of Population and Housing is a questionnaire and register study, the purpose and techniques of which are quite similar to those of a research project, although obviously the scale of the census is much greater and the aims are more allround and less focused than those of an ordinary social-science study. As generally when secondary data are used, whether taken from other research projects or from governmental registers and files, one cannot influence the data-gathering process by inserting or adjusting questions for the respondents to be asked or by making and recording other observations but has to be content with the material at hand. One is free to interpret and recombine items in one's own way and to select aspects as they suit one's research purpose. Whether the secondary source can provide data of acceptable validity and reliability must be decided for each case.

The 1960 Census appears to offer useful information on various "objective" conditions. Several census questions put to the respondents and pieces of information taken from the annual population registration are the same or almost the same as would have been formulated by the project. Many sociological measures are fairly blunt and applied to rather primitively formulated problems. Together with the common-sense character of many sociological concepts this is conducive of frequent good use of governmental micro-data for measuring "objective" conditions as contrasted to attitudes and other subjective variables.

However, even in the Census there are sections where other data would be preferable to the project. Unfortunately this holds for the three important dimensions of socioeconomic status, education, and ethnic origin. On the positive side it should be emphasized that the census data were carefully collected, checked, and coded in a data gathering process vastly more resourceful than Project Metropolitan. The census data taken from the annual population registration are based on records of actual events and may safely be assumed to be, if anything, somewhat more reliable than corresponding data based on direct questioning of the respondents. Furthermore, the retrospective element is negligible in the census data, except in the questions on economic activities and even there it is not great. Finally, the non-response rate is very low.

The 1960 Census contains all persons registered ("mantalsskrivna") in Sweden on November 1, 1960. The sample received by Project Metropolitan refers to all households in Stockholm City and Stockholm County containing a member born in 1953 and describes these households and the members born in 1953. The Stockholm Metropolitan Area as defined by the project (see Research Report No 1, p. 32) is completely contained in Stockholm City and Stockholm County. On November 1, 1960, its registered population was 1,130,000 as against 1,270,000 for the city and county, which in addition to the metropolitan area held five independent cities and several rural municipalities.

Since the metropolitan cohort is defined as those born in 1953 and registered as living in the metropolitan area on November 1, 1963, members that moved in after November 1, 1960, are missing in the census sample. Non-response than this "statutory" non-response is negligible. Of the 15,117 cohort members (7,719 boys and 7,398 girls) 14,170 or 94 per cent are included in the sample. Of them 7,248 are boys and 6,922 girls, which means that 94 per cent of the cohort is included for each sex.

The 1960 Census is described in detail in the census reports and especially in SOS: "Census of the Population and Housing in 1960. Report on the Planning and Processing of the Census of Population and Housing" (also in Swedish; Stockholm: SCB, 1965). The Census of population aimed at a comprehensive and general overview of the population, its structure and labor market conditions. To give a basis for information, analysis, and planning, the population is characterized as to economic activity, occupation, commuting, education, urbanization etc. The Census of Housing should present data needed when deciding on questions of housing policy.

The census used two questionnaires, which were administered as an extended yearly registration (“mantalsskrivning”) as of November 1, 1960. The first form was filled out by owners of buildings that contained at least one dwelling not used by the owner. The information asked for concerned the real estate, the building(s), and the dwelling(s). The second questionnaire was filled out for each dwelling by the head of the household and concerned the dwelling and each member of the household. The same form was completed by the owner of a dwelling with no residents and by the head of the family for persons who were registered in a municipality but not as living in a specific dwelling. The questionnaire held questions on economic activities and place of work for the week of October 2 -10, 1960, on main occupation during the year, education, car ownership etc.

Sex, age, marital status, year of latest change of marital status, country of birth, citizenship were recorded from the yearly population registration.