Detecting social origin

Hi to everyone, I would like to know your feedback on the following issue: I would like to detect the social origin of the respondent, and usually this is done using the variables on mother’s\father’s education\job when the respondent was 14 years old.

Apparently this piece of information is not present in IPUMS data, do you confirm this impression? Is there any other variables useful to identify the social origin of the respondent?

Thanks a lot, Giorgio

You are correct that this specific information is not included in the decennial census or American Community Survey (ACS) data available via IPUMS USA. The variables included in these datasets typically provide a snapshot of the household at the time of the survey, though there are a few retrospective questions included (their availability and topical coverage varies by year). You can capture the educational attainment of coresident parents using the attach characteristics feature. However, it sounds like you are interested in this information for adults; adults who have coresident parents likely look different from those who do not, and there isn’t a way to get the educational attainment of someone outside of the respondent’s household from a single sample. If you are looking at the 1850-1940 time period, you may be interested in linked census data. I don’t have suggestions for alternative ways to capture this information specifically; my best suggestion is to consult the literature for examples of how others have defined social origin in the absence of parental education data.