International Migration in ASEC

Was wondering if experienced CPS users could confirm a few things I’m seeing in the CPS ASEC documentation regarding international migration:

  1. It seems ASEC will tell you if someone’s migrated from abroad in the past year, but it doesn’t give you any data on the origins of those migrants - is that correct?

  2. Seems ASEC sample size is much smaller than ACS, is that correct? I’m seeing only about 146,000 person records in 2023 ASEC, so that’s like an order of magnitude smaller than ACS at least.

The Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) is a supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS), which is fielded yearly to collect detailed information on CPS respondents’ work, wages, and other topics like migration. Respondents to the ASEC are identified in the variable ASECFLAG, and using this variable, you can see that there are generally 130 to 200 thousand ASEC respondents each year. The CPS has no direct relationship to the American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS is an annual survey of one in 100 U.S. households, which means its sample size is much larger than any given CPS sample.

In IPUMS CPS, the variable MIGSTA reports, for all individuals age 1+, where they lived one year ago. The variable codes identify whether the person lived in the same house, abroad, or in each of the U.S. states and D.C. The code for abroad (91) identifies respondents who lived in a different country one year ago, but does not specify which country. The variable COUNTRY, which is available in the ASEC from 1996-2006, reports the country of residence for persons age 1+ who were living in a different country one year ago.

Thanks, this is super helpful. Appreciate it!