Most recent years of comparable supplemental poverty measure data


I am trying to see which of the most recent survey years of supplemental poverty measure data are comparable to each other in IPUMS. I know the Census Bureau updated its methodology in 2021 which makes it incomparable to earlier years. However, the Census states that data with this revised methodology is available going back to survey year 2020 (data year 2019) while the IPUMS description for the SPMPOV variable claims that due to this revision, poverty rates are not comparable before and after 2021.

Does this mean that the survey year 2020 IPUMS data only incorporates the old methodology and data are only comparable for 2021-2023? I saw that for the 2014 questionnaire redesign changes there was a variable to allow users to see the two different samples with and without the changes and was wondering if the same was true for 2020 as well.

When the Census Bureau implemented methodological changes to the Supplemental Poverty Measure in the 2021 ASEC, they also used the new methodology to update 2019 and 2020 so that the values would be comparable from 2019-onwards; this included releasing updated estimates and microdata files for these years. The public use microdata files implementing the revised methodology for 2019 and 2020 were released separately from the main ASEC data files. IPUMS CPS has not yet integrated the 2019-2020 files that use the updated methodology, meaning data for the 2020 IPUMS CPS version uses the old methodology and SPM measures are only comparable for 2021-onwards. While these updated files are on the IPUMS CPS team’s radar, there is no specific timeline for making them available. I have passed your interest in these files along to the IPUMS CPS team to consider as they prioritize upcoming work.

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