Is there any way to get age at first marriage or year of first marriage for the CPS after 1971 using IPUMS?

I would like to be able to isolate newlyweds in the CPS for the years 1980-present. I believe that year of first marriage was asked during some of these years, and I was wondering if there’s any way to get his data using IPUMS. Thanks!

I am afraid that IPUMS-CPS does not have a variable comparable to AGEMARR (which is available in the 1962, 1965, and 1967-1971 March Samples) available after 1971. IPUMS-USA, which provides data from the U.S. Decennial Censuses and the American Community Survey (ACS), has a comparable AGEMARR variable, available in the 1930, 1940, 1960, 1970, and 1980 Decennial Censuses. IPUMS-USA also has the variables YRMARR (Year last married), MARRINYR (Married in last 12 months), and MARRNO (Number of times married), for the 2008-onward ACS samples.

Unfortunately, I am unaware of any way to consistently identify newlyweds over the entire time period you are interested in.

Hi Grover, I saw here that the Census Bureau is able to calculate median age at first marriage for each year since around 1950s using CPS ASEC data. In Table MS-2, they mentioned that their estimates were based on CPS- ASEC. I am confused. Did CPS ASEC actually collect data on age at first marriage (and does not make this variable available to IPUMS)?

I do not believe that this is based on an actual question in the CPS ASEC; I do not see such a question in the ASEC questionnaires (though I only spot-checked a few recent years). The notes section of the table specifies that these are the estimated median ages at first marriage. The Census Bureau definition of “Age at first Marriage” entry notes that this is derived indirectly from tabulations of marital status and age. The indirect tabulation simply comes from the CPS ASEC in 1947-forward (and may be based on summary tabulations rather than the underlying microdata in some of those years, though that is just speculation based on microdata availability). I would encourage you to contact the Fertility and Family Statistics Branch of the Census Bureau (a phone number is provided at the bottom of the table you referenced) for more information on the table.

1 Like

I was also curious about the availability of AGEMARR in the CPS, either the ASEC or the June Fertility supplement, and if the Fertility and Family Statistics Branch at the Census Bureau was able to provide any additional information. I am working to replicate a figure we had created a decade ago on age at first marriage over time, combining Decennial censuses and the CPS June fertility supplement, and we were able to get this AGEMARR variable from the CPS. However, we had gotten it from Unicon CPS Utilities and not from IPUMS. I believe IPUMS and Unicon merged their efforts? If so, why did this variable go away?

Variables on age at first marriage are available from IPUMS CPS in all the samples where questions about age at first marriage were asked in the CPS.

The question in the ASEC that provides the data for IPUMS CPS variable AGEMARR is not asked after 1971. See the 1968-1971 ASEC data dictionary, which includes the question, and the 1972 ASEC data dictionary, which does not.

The June Fertility Supplements from 1976-1995 collect data on age at first marriage. The corresponding IPUMS CPS variables are MHAGEMAR1, MHMAR1M,and MHMAR1Y. Post-1995 Fertility Supplements do not include any questions on timing of first marriage. See the 1998 June Fertility Supplement codebook, which does not include such questions.