How to identify child parity

I am trying to get data on the number of children of a given age and birth parity. So for example, “firstborn children age 13” or “3rd-born children age 8.” I feel like there’s an obvious way to do this, but I haven’t figured out what it is. Can anyone offer advice?

Unfortunately, putting together the complete birth history of a woman as you have described would not be possible using data from IPUMS USA. The closest you will be able to get is to identify the age/birth order of children that are still part of the household. Since census/ACS data are collected at the household level, detailed information only exists for those currently in the household.

However, if working with those who are still in the household is acceptable for your research purposes, you will want to make use of the following variables:

AGE, which will help you identify the age of children in the household at the time of the survey/birth order

MOMLOC, which will help you identify the location of a child’s mother in the household/ensure you are looking at children from the same mother

Additionally, you may want to consider making use of RELATE/RELATED codes to help identify adopted/step-children and ELDCH/YNGCH, which report the ages of the eldest/youngest own child (if any) residing with each individual.

Alternatively, you could look into what is available through the IPUMS CPS Fertility and Marriage Supplement. Again, you may not be able to get exactly what you are looking for, but this supplement does at least have information on the birth month/year of a woman’s first through fourth child.