ASEC vs. Basic Monthly samples

Hi Jeff,

Sorry if this is a naive question. I’m new to using CPS and trying to get a better understanding of the comparability of ASEC and basic files. Is it generally the case that the there are inconsistencies between the same variables in the basic files and asec? If so, are the inconsistencies driven by different response categories in the respective samples?


This is a good question to ask as you become familiar with the CPS data. It is impossible to make a general statement about the comparability of the ASEC vs. the basic monthly samples. I’d encourage you to choose either the ASEC samples or the basic monthly samples for your analysis, rather than use both the ASEC and basic monthly samples together. Regarding any inconsistencies for the variables that are available in both the ASEC and basic monthly samples, the documentation on IPUMS CPS should provide any notes about these issues. For example, here is a link to the Comparability Tab for the EMPSTAT variable. Additional documentation about these samples is available on the sample descriptions page.

Thanks Jeff!