Handling HHWT for Households with NFAMS > 1 in ACS 5-Year Florida Data

Hello IPUMS Community,

I’m analyzing ACS 5-year dataset for Florida and have come across households with NFAMS > 1. I want to split these households into individual families using FAMUNIT, but how should I adjust the HHWT? Currently, I’m dividing HHWT by NFAMS to allocate weights to each family. Is this method appropriate, or is there a recommended approach to recalculating HHWT in this scenario?

Thanks for your guidance!


It sounds like you are interested in conducting a family-level analysis using the ACS public use microdata sample (PUMS) data. The Census Bureau does not provide a family weight in their release of the PUMS data. However, the Census Bureau’s Weighting and Estimation Chapter for the 2010 ACS documentation notes that estimates of families are based on the household weight (HHWT in IPUMS USA). Following this approach seems reasonable as it is in line with how the Census calculates estimates and should allow you to benchmark your analytical sample against published estimates, but I will share a few things to consider.

First, you should determine if the family-level variables you are working with are actually for families or if they are for households; the two concepts can be a bit obscured in some variables (if you are using household-level variables, then household-level weights are perfectly appropriate!). Additionally, NFAMS is an IPUMS-constructed variable based on our family interrelationship algorithm, and it may not map directly onto Census Bureau definitions of families; depending on your application (e.g., trying to match official estimates) you may be interested in reviewing alternate variables about the household composition. How you are defining families is relevant because if you are applying household weights to family-level analyses, households with more than one family will be counted more than once. In contrast, under the approach you propose, multi-family households will only be counted once and their weight will be evenly divided amongst all families in the household.

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