City/County Codes for IPUMS 2018-22

Excited that the IPUMS 2018-22 ACS 5-year data was released today. While going through the data, I realized that the city variable was missing/not available. Is there any timeframe for when that will be added?

Thank you so much for the amazing work that you all have been doing!

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The lowest geographic unit identified in the ACS public use microdata sample (PUMS) file is the PUMA, an area containing 100,000 persons. IPUMS geographers infer other geographic units (e.g., cities, counties) where possible. Beginning with the 2022 ACS, PUMA boundaries were based on the 2020 decennial census. The 2022 5-year ACS sample includes data that use both the 2010 PUMA definitions (2018-2021) and data that use the 2020 PUMA definitions (2022). Our initial release of the 2022 5-Year ACS PUMS does not include geographic identifiers for areas smaller than states as they require special handling of these different PUMA definitions. We plan to release more detailed geographic units throughout the spring, and aim to provide the most popular variables (which include CITY) in the coming weeks.

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Hi Isabel, I notice the PUMA variable is not available for download for the 2022 5-year file. Am I missing something? It’s perhaps the one that matters most :-). Patrick Kelly

Hi Patrick,
These statements from Isabel’s message apply also to the PUMA variable:

I.e., we aim to release an update to add PUMA for the 2022 5-year file in the coming weeks.

Hi, any updates on when the more detailed geographies (especially the CITY variable) will be released? Thank you so much!

Thanks Isabel and Jonathan for the update on the PUMA variable. Saved having to bother someone with a bunch of questions. Please include an announcement in you eNews when it becomes available.

We are prioritizing on making CITY and similar geography variables available in the 2022 5-year ACS data since many users such as yourself rely on this variable. We hope to release some of these variables next week, however I am unable to provide a timeline for when this work will be completed. I recommend periodically checking the IPUMS USA revision history next week since any changes to the IPUMS database will be posted there.

When CITY is released in the 5-year file, you may notice that some cities that are identified from 2018-2021 are no longer identified in 2022, while new cities may become available in 2022. Moreover, some of your estimates may change due to changes in the composite identification error (reported in CITYERR). You can examine this change ahead of time by downloading CITY from the 2022 1-year ACS file and comparing codes with previous years (or by simply reviewing the codes tab for the variable for 2021 and 2022).


Do you have a timeline for releasing PUMA in the 2022 5-year sample?

I’m looking to construct counties and was able to create geographic boundaries for certain counties by harmonizing 2010 and 2020 PUMA. However, there’s no good way to merge the puma information in the 2018-22 single individual year file into the 5-year pooled file, as the household serial numbers differ. Can you recommend an alternative way or verify if it is possible?


PUMA, CITY, and COUNTYFIP were released for the 2022 5-year sample earlier this week (see the revision history note for details). As mentioned, you should be aware that PUMA codes for households surveyed in 2022 (MULTYEAR = 2022) do not refer to the same area as PUMA codes for households in earlier years. The Census Bureau released two different PUMA variables to account for different census definitions of PUMA in the 5-year file (2010 and 2020). These variables have been combined into one variable, PUMA, based on MULTYEAR, in order to provide a single PUMA variable for multi-year samples. Unlike PUMAs, the codes for CITY and COUNTYFIP are consistent across time even if the specific cities and counties identified are not. Some counties and cities that are identified from 2018-2021 are no longer identified in 2022, while new counties and cities are available in 2022.

Also, a combination of CBSERIAL and CBPERNUM can be used to merge individuals between the 1-year and 5-year files.