Disappearing Variables: Education, Employment Sector, Union Status?


I’m trying to find variables in IPUMS that I believe I’ve used in the past but don’t seem to be showing up now. Among them are levels of educational attainment (high school, some college, bachelors degree, masters degree, etc.), sector of employment (private, public or non-profit) and union status. Have these variables disappeared or am I looking in the wrong place or in the wrong data sets?



It is possible that the education and employment sector codes you are referring to are from detailed versions of variables, which requires you to select the “Detailed Codes” radio button to see all possible codes. For example, if you look at the Codes for EDUC, the default display is the “General Codes”, which are year based. However, if you click the “Detailed Codes” radio button above the list of codes you will see the full list of codes, which includes the degree codes you asked about. Similarly, the “Detailed Codes” CLASSWKR includes codes distinguishing public, private, and non-profit workers. More information on detailed variables is available on the Frequently Asked Questions page.

I do not believe that IPUMS-USA offers a variable on Union Status, however. There is a variable called UNION in IPUMS-CPS, which is part of the Current Population Survey’s Earner Study. This is the only variable I am aware of that directly measures union membership.

I hope this helps.