ACS variable descriptions have no observations shown for the more detailed codes

Why does the description of gqtype for ACS 2022 show no cases in the more detailed types (eg. college dormitory)? I want a count of persons in Indiana who are in noninstitutional group quarters but not in college dorms.

More detailed codes for GQTYPE are available only in select IPUMS USA samples, specifically the 1850-1980 and 2000 censuses. You can see this in the codes section of GQTYPE by clicking both the “general codes” and “detailed codes” radio buttons and looking at the availability of different codes, denoted by an X, in each year. The original ACS data do not include detailed categories for GQTYPE, and so IPUMS is not able to provide those detailed codes. Unfortunately, this means that it is not possible to identify people who live in noninstitutional, non-dormitory group quarters in the ACS data. You may be able to make some assumptions about which individuals are likely or unlikely to be living in a college dormitory, based on their values of SCHOOL, GRADEATT, AGE, and EMPSTAT (which flags persons in the armed forces).

This explains it! This is the information I needed. And now I know where to find this detailed information about availability of codes in various samples. Thank you very much for your response.

This is great, I even get it in email! I already responded on the forum, but I will say it again – thanks so much for your response.


I want to add that you can obtain a count of persons in Indiana living in noninstitutional, non-dormitory group quarters using data available from IPUMS NHGIS. IPUMS NHGIS provides data from the U.S. census, American Community Survey, and other data sources aggregated at various geographic levels, including state. The summary data that IPUMS NHGIS provides are tables of information on each geographic area, such as population totals, counts of household meeting specified criteria, and so on, all by geographic area. You can obtain a table that gives a count of the population by group quarters type at the state level for ACS 5-year ranges. Table B26101, Group Quarters Type By Sex by Age lists, for each state, the population of people of different sexes and age groups living in each type of group quarters. The group quarters types in this table are institutional group quarters, institutional group quarters: adult correctional facilities, institutional group quarters: nursing facilities/skilled nursing facilities, noninstitutional group quarters, and noninstitutional group quarters: college/university student housing. You could subtract the population in student housing group quarters from the total population living in noninstitutional group quarters to obtain the estimate you are interested in. This brief video tutorial explains how to use the NHGIS data finder to find the tables you are looking for, and this user guide is another good introductory resource.

Thank you again for more very useful information.