CPS Volunteer Supplement 2002-2015 - Differences between vlstatus and vlhallorg


I am trying to analyze CPS data (2002-2015 volunteer supplement pooled-cross sections) examine group-level differences in voluntary behavior. I am using two dependent variables. (vlstatus and vlhallorg). I have two questions about the codes.

  1. For vlstatus: Who are NIU. Are these respondents who failed to answer, did not know, were not asked or skipped the question?

  2. For vhallorg, many respondents are given the numeric code (99999). I assume this means not applicable or that the respondents did not volunteer. I recoded the 99999 to 0 and all of the other values as one so I could compare the volunteer hours variable with the volunteer status. Here I find that 1, 194 respondents who marked they did not volunteer in the past year are reporting that they did volunteer at least one hour in the past year. Do you have any thoughts on why (1,194) respondents indicating they are not volunteers are reporting that they volunteered int he last year? Is this an error in the coding of the volunteer status variable? Any tips on how to deal with this?

| RECODE of vlhallorg

| (Annual hours

| volunteered in all

Volunteer | organizations)

Status | 0 1 | Total


Volunteer | 18,560 352,763 | 371,323

Not a volunteer| 925,451 1,194 | 926,645

Not in Universe | 597,111 0 | 597,111


Total | 1,541,122 353,957 | 1,895,079

Any thoughts you may have on this would be very helpful.

Thanks for your time

Dr. Chaudhary

Dept of Sociology

Rutgers University-New Brunswick

All persons 15+ are asked the Volunteer Supplement questions. Therefore, for VLSTATUS, a person must be 15+ in order to be part of the universe. Additionally, if someone did not answer the question, they would be included in the NIU count for VLSTATUS.

Regarding VLHALLORG, it is odd that there are individuals who report not being a volunteer but having volunteered at least one hour in the past year. However, VLHALLORG is a summation of the following variables: VLHTORG1, VLHTORG2, VLHTORG3, VLHTORG4, VLHTORG5, VLHTORG6, and VLHTORG7. While unusual, since the information is self-reported (or reported with a proxy), it is possible for these situations to arise.

In fact, the questionnaire documentation for VLSTATUS points out that “sometimes people don’t think of activities they do infrequently or activities they do for children’s schools or youth organizations as volunteer activities.” Even though this is highlighted, it is still possible that a respondent would answer no, but report volunteer hours later on. One interesting thing to point out is that over 90% of these cases are for individuals who report the type of organization they volunteered for was a religious organization.

How you choose to deal with these cases is ultimately up to you.

In addition to this information, the September Supplement Codebooks found here may be helpful.