Status:Closed    Asked:Sep 08, 2017 - 05:46 PM

Do I need to use perwt to get representative statistics at the MSA level for a particular set of occupations?

Hi Jeff, I am trying to obtain MSA-level averages for income and unemployment rates for people who report working in the construction occupations (OCC2010 codes 6210 - 6765). Do you know if the weights (given by perwt) are based on occupation? For instance: if the weight of one of my individual construction workers is 20, then is this worker representative of 20 other construction workers, or could this individual be representative of 20 other people who do not necessarily work in the construction occupations? My main concern is that if I use the weights attached to these construction workers to create weighted averages using the perwt variable at the MSA level, this may not necessarily be representative of only construction workers, and if that is the case, then I may be better off using a simple average. Any insight you could provide on this issue would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

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Staff Answer


Jeff Bloem


If you are using IPUMS USA (US Census or ACS) data, you shouldn't encounter any problems when calculating representative statistics of occupations within MSAs. As long as you have a sufficient number of observations for each MSA-occupation pair, your weighted calculations should be relatively close to the true value. The answer is slightly different if you are using IPUMS CPS data, since the CPS is designed and optimized for national and state-level labor force statistical estimates. MSA level estimates in the CPS can be quite inaccurate due to a much smaller sample size, than compared to the US Census or ACS.


Sep 11, 2017 - 02:02 PM

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