Non-LUNCHSUB recipients with SCHLLUNCH values


I have been conducting some research with colleagues that has us looking at the rate of recipiency and average dollar value of different transfers across household types. For this research, we are using the CPS ASEC files across years ranging from 1994-2017. I noticed in doing some analysis that across years, the average value of the SCHLLUNCH variable for recipient households without children is greater than ‘0’. This was puzzling, as the SCHLLUNCH variable measures the family market value of the free and reduced lunch program; without children, how could households receive this source of income?

Digging a bit deeper, I looked at just the 2000 ASEC and found that a sizable number of households with respondents that replied “No, children did not receive free or reduced price lunch,” and therefore received a value of ‘2’ for the LUNCHSUB variable, also had an income of greater than $0 for the variable SCHLLUNCH.

In 2000, 25,869 out of 133,710 respondents reported some value greater than $0 for SCHLLUNCH despite also stating that “No, children did not receive free or reduced price lunch.” (See attached Stata output photo.) This is 19.3% of all respondents in the ASEC!


Does the IPUMS Staff have any insight on this? Thanks in advance!

As a followup, I should mention that I also examined SCHLLUNCH recipiency for unique households in the 2000 ASEC in which there were no respondents under the age of 18. Theoretically these households should receive no SCHLLUNCH dollars because they have no children. I found a number of households (212) that both had SCHLLUNCH dollars and no children (See Stata output below; the variable ‘first_fam_val_sl’ is SCHLLUNCH dollars aggregated to the household head; hh_kids is a binary recording whether or not there were under eighteen year-olds in the household).


Significantly lower than the number of households marked ‘0’ for LUNCHSUB yet receiving SCHLLUNCH dollars.

Thanks for pointing this out. The IPUMS CPS team is looking into this issue. I’ll post here again once we have a better idea of what’s going on with this variable.