Hello, I am a new IPUMS USA user and wanted to get some clarity on selecting the appropriate weights when using this data.
I would like to know how one determines which weight to use? Is it the case that all of the variables listed under “Household” are weighted with household weights and all of the variables listed under “Person” are weighted with the person weight values or is there more nuance to this?
Thank you in advance for your help!
Which weight to use depends on your unit of analysis.
Household level analysis might be used to answer a question like “what was the median household income in 2021?” Here you would keep only one record per household (specify PERNUM=1), and then calculate the median across all households, and use HHWT for weighting.
Person level analysis would be used to answer a question like “what were the average earnings for men and women in 2021?” Here you would use PERWT for weighting, and calculate the average across all individuals (separately for men and women).
Note that you can use household-level variables (e.g. owner/renter status) in person-level analyses, so the weight really is not about the specific variable you use, but rather your unit of analysis.
Matthew, this is so incredibly helpful. Thank you so much!