CBSA variable in ACS?

Hi - can someone please confirm that the IPUMS ACS microdata doesn’t have a CBSA/micro area variable? (I know the ACS has that variable, according to the Census documentation here:

I know metarea and met2013 have MSA information, but I’m hoping to get CBSA-level data. I’m guessing I could approximate from PUMA-level, but I don’t think that’s ideal for my setting. I’m trying to get geographic based measures of immigrant populations to merge into other data that is at the city level.


Yes, public-use ACS microdata don’t identify CBSAs or micro areas. The documentation you linked to is for ACS summary data, which provide summary statistics (counts, medians, etc.) for geographic areas, not for individuals and households as in microdata. You can obtain ACS summary data for all CBSAs through IPUMS NHGIS.

Note that both metro areas and micro areas are types of CBSAs (going back to when the CBSA concept was instituted in 2003), so the met2013 variable identifies some CBSAs but only those that correspond well to PUMAs (within a 15% population mismatch tolerance). PUMAs must contain at least 100,000 residents, and micro areas are almost always smaller than that, which is why IPUMS USA doesn’t identify micro areas for ACS microdata.

Awesome, thank you! This is very helpful!