Data Dictionary

Hello, I’m new to PUMS, and am looking through a data set and trying to make sense of it. I have no idea what many of the categories (e.g. INCWAGE, DIFMOB, etc.) mean, and the same is true of the data points (for MIGRATES I don’t know what 0, 1, 2, or 3 represent). Is there a data dictionary that tells me all of this information? I’ve looked everywhere and can’t find one. Please let me know if this is out there, and where. Thanks!


When a user first creates a data extract, an accompanying codebook is provided which explains each variable and the meaning for each corresponding code. You can however look these variables up by using the search tool on the IPUMS USA website. Once you’ve entered a search term, clicking on a variable will bring you to a page with a variety of tabs that provide information on the variable. Here are links to INCWAGE, DIFFMOB, and MIGRATE5. The Codes tab for MIGRATE5 will show that a code of 0 refers to N/A (i.e. the respondent is not in the universe for this variable), 1 refers to Same house, 2 to Moved within state, and so on. You might also find this video tutorial on navigating variable descriptions helpful.