Looking for documentation of income accounting for IPUMS-USA

Dear Folks–

I am looking at the many different types of income reported in IPUMS-USA. I am trying to put together for each year a complete set of all the income variables that conceptually sum to household income (HHINCOME) or to family income (FTOTVAL using census families, or FTOTINC using IPUMS families). I know that they will not actually sum due to top-coding and the like.

However, some of the income variables reported are dichotomous, indicating only that that type of income is received, and I suspect that others are intermediate totals that should be included in the total only if the other variables that compose them are excluded. Have you done, or are you aware of anyone who has done, the income accounting necessary to properly total income variables to income?

Sincerely, Andrew Hoerner

The best way to tell how INCTOT was composed in a given year is to look at the Question Text for that sample. Generally the question text will indicate which values were added together to generate INCTOT. While the question text does not refer to their IPUMS-USA variable name, it should be relatively easy to deduce which variables correspond to the questions. FTOTINC, FTOTVAL, and HHINCOME are just the sums of all members’ INCTOT values.

I hope this helps.