Is mother/father ancestry variable no longer available for 2000 Census data?


Is the ancestry variable for mother and father for 2000 Census data no longer available? I’m trying to replicate a previous analysis that used ancestry variables for both mother and father but I cannot find the variables. I see birthplace for mother and father but not for 2000 census. Just wondering if ancestry variable was taken off? Or if I’m missing it under a new name. Thanks.



The birthplace of a respondent’s mother and father were asked up until 1970. In 1980, the census began asking about the respondent’s ancestry, the answers to which can be found in ANCESTR1 and ANCESTR2 with IPUMS-USA. However, the census never specifically asked about the ancestry of the respondent’s mother or father.

Without seeing the analysis you wish to replicate, I can provide a suggestion for how this may have been achieved. Even though the 2000 census did not explicitly inquire about mother and father ancestry or birthplace, it is possible to create these variables with the Attach Characteristics feature on IPUMS-USA. This allows you to directly create variables that contain the mother and/or father’s information.

To do so, you should first select your samples and variables, which must contain the ancestry or birthplace variable(s) you are interested in. Before submitting your extract, you will be given the option to choose “Attach characteristics” on the extract request screen. For example, if you are interested in the first ancestry responses of a respondent’s parents, you would check the box for “mother” and “father” on the ANCESTR1 row. This will add two variables to your data extract request called ANCESTR1_MOM and ANCESTR1_POP. These new variables will be appended to the observations for children living with their mother and/or father. You can then submit your extract. Keep in mind that the characteristics of a respondent’s parent can be identified only if the parent and child belong to the same household.

I hope this helps.