MARST collected at CPS8

Hey IPUMS user forum,

Reading the description of the marital status variable of ATUS, it seems that this information was drawn from the last CPS interview (might explain some of the discrepancies between MARST and SPOUSEPRES). Is this correct? If so, why doesn’t this variable, and others like it (e.g., BPL and CITIZEN), have a _CPS8 suffix? I understand there are no equivalent variables collected at the ATUS interview but that is also true for other variables that do have the suffix (e.g., UNION_CPS8). Are there any differences between suffixed and non-suffixed variables that come from the CPS8 data?

Thank you very much for your time and help,
Amit Lazarus.

Your understanding is correct. The information recorded in MARST comes from the last CPS interview. The reason that this variable name does not have a “_CPS8” suffix is because there is no corresponding marital status variable in the ATUS questionnaire to differentiate. Note that SPOUSEPRES identifies a slightly different concept than MARST. The MARST variable identifies an individual’s marital status and the spouse could be present or absent. SPOUSEPRES simply identifies the presence of a spouse within the household.