ASEC 1968-1975: children's relationship to household head?


New to the CPS, and hoping to get some clarification on how the RELATE and family interrelationship variables were constructed for children under 14 in the 1968-1975 ASEC samples.

The ASEC Sample Notes page indicates that, for the 1968-1975 ASEC samples, the “relationships of children and of members of the Armed Forces to the household head was left blank in the original data; IPUMS-CPS codes such persons as ‘Under 14, relationship unknown’ and ‘Armed forces, relationship unknown’ for the RELATE variable.”

In the data itself, I wasn’t able to find anyone coded as such: all individuals under 14 appear to be coded like those 14+. Also, the universe of the RELATE variable for the 1968-1975 ASEC samples is “Civilians age 14+”, but I found that many (all?) of the records of individuals less than 14 did have values for the RELATE variable.

For the family interrelationship variables, it seems that many of the individuals under 14 in the 1968-1975 ASEC samples are directly linked to their parents (I think? MOMRULE/POPRULE coded as “11”). Does this mean that in the original 1968-1975 ASEC data, there were other ways to unambiguously link children under 14 to household heads?

I’m probably missing something obvious here–any help is very much appreciated. Thanks!

Hello, apologies for the long wait. You’re correct that the current note does not reflect the data on the website. The CPS team is currently looking into how the relationships between these individuals and the household head were established, however this will take some additional time. Thank you for your patience and I hope to be able to provide an update in the near future.

Thank you for bringing this discrepancy to our attention. The IPUMS CPS team discovered the unused codes and ASEC notes reflect a less detailed version of the RELATE variable that we are no longer using; we will remove the obsolete codes and update the documentation accordingly. For more information on family pointer variables, I recommend consulting the pointers page on the IPUMS CPS website as well as this MPC working paper on their construction; table 4 of the working paper highlights the linkages for parent-child assignments in IPUMS CPS.