How do I distinguish if 16-18 year olds are high school dropouts or still students using IPUMS CPS data?

#1

I’m trying to calculate the share of each industry per state while controlling for individual educational level. In order to do that I regroup educational attainment into 4 categories:

(a) high-school dropouts,

(b) high-school graduates,

© some college (EDUC=080-092) and

(d) college+ (EDUC=100-125).

Note that the age group is restricted to include only working age population, i.e. 16-64 year olds.

For high-school graduates, taking into consideration what it is mentioned on another threat, I include only those who have completed 12th grade and received a high-school diploma or equivalent (EDUC=073).

However, the problem lies with high-school dropouts. In this category I include all individuals who reported 12th grade as their highest educational attainment but with no or unclear diploma (EDUC=071 & 072). I further include individuals who are older than 19 years old and who have completed 11th grade (EDUC=060) or lower grade.

My concern is how to handle the respondents between the ages of 16 and 18 with educational attainment equal to 12th or lower grade. How do I distinguish if they are still students or they are high-school dropouts? Is it correct to assume that all the individuals within this age group (16-18) who have been assigned an “NIU” in the IND1990 variable are still students and thus, exclude them from my analysis; while assuming that those who have a job (i.e. fell into one of the many industry categories available) are high-school dropouts?

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#2

Using IND1990=NIU to identify high school students will not be of much use, since a high school student working a part-time job would be in the IND1990 universe. For your purposes, the most helpful variable in IPUMS-CPS is SCHLCOLL, which identifies if a respondent was enrolled in high school during the previous week. Unfortunately, this measure understates the number of high school students during summer samples (i.e. May-August).

Hope this helps.

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