Status:Closed    Asked:Jun 08, 2018 - 10:51 AM

Current best method for linking individuals across ASEC samples from consecutive years?

I'm trying to link individuals' responses across consecutive ASEC samples for every 2-year stretch from 1989 to the present. Some forum answers suggest using CPSIDP as the primary linking variable for consecutive ASEC samples, while others suggest using HRHHID and HRHHID2. Is one of these methods preferable to the other at this time? I've tried using CPSIDP, and this generally results in a match rate of about 30-35% between years, after confirming using race, sex, and age (this is after dropping individuals who were part of the ASEC oversample; otherwise the rate would be much lower). Might any other method result in a higher match rate?

A few sub-questions:

1) Is it possible at this point to link individuals' ASEC responses across years before 1989? This post from last year suggested this capability might be on the way.

2) Is there any way to link individuals across consecutive ASEC years if they are part of the oversample (and thus have no CPSIDP identifier)?

Thanks much.

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Staff Answer


Jeff Bloem


We have a relatively new resource page that provides very helpful information for users interested in linking samples in IPUMS CPS. In general, the process you discuss above is correct. First, drop respondents from the ASEC oversample. Then, in order to create an individual panel dataset, use the variables CPSIDP and YEAR as person ID and time variables, respectively. Note that without any survey attrition or household migration the maximum number of households that are able to be linked in ASEC samples across two consecutive years is 50% of the sample.

Regarding your sub-questions: (1) At the present time CPSIDP is only available in ASEC samples back to 1989. We are working on making this variable available in pre-1989 samples, but this work is not ready for release yet. You can try to replicate the creation of MARBASECIDP and CPSIDP based on the documentation found in this working paper. Based on previous work on this task, we know that you'll need to prune the ASEC samples for duplicates prior to merging across years and that it is probably a good idea to verify links based on AGE, SEX, and RACE. (2) Unfortunately, there is not a way at the moment to link members of the ASEC oversample across ASEC samples. This is because, to preserve confidentiality, additional precautions were taken that make it difficult to link these individuals.


Jun 08, 2018 - 11:47 AM

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