Status:Closed    Asked:Nov 29, 2016 - 08:52 AM

Need to keep one member of each household in the sample when using HHWT in ACS?


I am wondering if I am right in thinking that I need to keep at least one member of each household in my dataset if I want my analysis to be representative on the household level using the HHWT in the ACS. The documentation on HHWT is not clear; it just says "Users should also be sure to select one person (e.g., PERNUM = 1) to represent the entire household" -- but it's not clear what is meant by "select."

When I drop some of the households from the sample, I get very different point estimates and standard errors in my regression. Would you explain that?

Thanks very much!!

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Staff Answer


Jeff Bloem


By "select" the HHWT documentation is simply suggesting that the sample should be restricted to include only records in which PERNUM==1. This will ensure that your sample only includes one observation per household. There are a number of ways to do this within your preferred statistical software. You can either "keep" records where PERNUM==1 or "drop" records where PERNUM=!1.

A note on your regression results. I'd suspect that if you are running a regression with household level variables without restricting your sample to one record per household you are over-representing large households within your regression model.


Nov 30, 2016 - 08:12 AM

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I have a follow-up question on this issue. We restrict our analysis to couple households, which we tried by using two different methods in STATA:

1. using the svy, subpop() option, where we specify couple households as the subpopulation but keep all households in the sample

2. dropping all non-couple households from the sample and then use the svy command without the subpop() option

In both cases we only keep one observation per household (PERNUM==1), but the regression results are very different from each other. Would you explain these differences and which option would be the correct one?



Nov 30, 2016 - 10:01 AM

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Could you send your .do file and .dta file to This way I'll have a better understanding of your analysis.


Nov 30, 2016 - 10:08 AM

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