JTYEARS change in universe 83/87 to 1996 and beyond

Hi all,

I want to check something with you all: The universe for the JTYEARS variable in the Job Tenure supplement changes from 1983/87 to 1996 and beyond. Participants had to be employed in the reference week, doing the same kind of work now as they were doing a year ago, and working for the same employer as they were a year ago. For 1996 and beyond, the universe was persons employed in the reference week.

This difference in universes is not mentioned in the comparability section.

However I think that this universe restriction for the early years would inflate tenure values relative to the later years because you’re excluding those who did not work in the same area and with the same employer in the previous year. Thoughts?


The IPUMS CPS team looked into this and verified that the correct universe in 1983 and 1987 is in fact all employed people age 14 and above. This will be fixed in the next data release. Thanks for pointing this out.

Thanks Matthew!