Essential Workers Code Set

Identify Essential Workers for Public Health Data Collection and Analysis

This information is for public health researchers and academics who need to identify essential workers during data collection or data analysis.

This set of industry and occupation codes supports data collection and analyses related to the COVID-19 pandemic and other public health crises.

It is a code-based approach to identify workers in essential critical infrastructure industries as defined by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

The industry and occupation codes are included in a spreadsheet, which contains:

  • North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) industry titles and codes
  • Census industry titles and codes
  • Essential industry designations that correspond to CISA’s version 4.0 advisory list on the essential critical infrastructure workforce
  • Population estimates by six-digit NAICS industry, Census industry, and Census industry-occupation pair
This code set is different from other essential worker lists because it was created for research purposes.

This set of industry and occupation codes provide standardized codes based on the industries and occupations outlined by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and is meant for research purposes*.

CISA has published four versions of an advisory list that identify essential critical infrastructure workers to inform state and local shutdown orders and industry-level occupational health decisions during the COVID-19 response. The CISA advisory list has been widely applied as the best national definition of essential workers in research studies but version 4.0 has not been mapped to detailed standardized Census codes for use from a public health perspective, until now. Our essential worker industry code set fills this gap.

*Learn more about our criteria for this code set in the About the Essential Worker Code Sets subpage . If you are looking for the list of workers determined as “essential” for vaccine distribution purposes, please see CDC’s COVID-19 Interim List of Categories of Essential Workers Mapped to Standardized Industry Codes and Titles

Access the Essential Worker Industry and Occupation Code Set
Page last reviewed: November 23, 2021