Attending school

Dear IPUMS staff,

I’m using CPS ASEC and I’m looking for a variable that indicates whether the respondent was attending school in that survey year. I found [SCHLCOLL]. However, from 1986-2012, only respondents aged between 16 and 24 were being asked. From 2013-2018, respondents aged between 16-54 were being asked. I’m wondering if there is any way that I can know a respondent older than 24 from 1986-2012 surveys were attending school?

In addition, is it true that the [OCCI1950] variable, which shows the occupation, will not be available for those who said they are attending either full time or part time school?


Unfortunately, in IPUMS CPS the SCHLCOLL variable is the only variable that identifies individuals who are currently attending school. As you note, prior to 2013, this variable was restricted to those who are between 16 and 24 years old. If you are interested in using US Census data, available via IPUMS USA, the SCHOOL variable also indicates whether the respondent attended school. However, this variable is also largely limited to “school aged” persons, with varying definitions over time.

Regarding OCC1950: The information identified in the SCHLCOLL variable does not factor into the universe definition for OCC1950. That is, individuals can be attending either full time or part time school and still have valid values of OCC1950. For samples from 1989 and onward, as long as an individual is (i) 15 years or older (ii) currently employed, had previously worked and is looking for work, or had worked in the preceding 5 years then the observation should have valid values for OCC1950.

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