As I’m working on a a household level analysis that requires ownership, household income, and demographic variables, I’m wondering which variables correspond to the survey year and which to the previous calendar year. HHincome explicitly mentions that it refers to the previous calendar year, but ownership and the demographic variables do not. If I am calculating the homeownership rate using the 2020 ASEC ownershp variable, is that reflecting 2020 or 2019?
Unless otherwise specified, most variables in the CPS (including OWNERSHP) refer to the week preceding the survey (more detail here). If there is a specific reference period that’s different from this, this will be included in the variable description, as you saw for HHINCOME. As a rule of thumb, variables that give the “status” of something at a point in time (i.e., “state variables,” such as employment status, occupation, household tenure) refer to the time of the survey. Some of these variables have other versions referring to the previous calendar year in the ASEC supplement, in which case they require a more detailed definition to pinpoint the exact time during the previous year that is referred to. For example, OCC refers to the current occupation, while OCCLY refers to the “occupation of the longest job last year”. EMPSTAT gives current employment status while WORKLY gives whether the person “worked at any time last year”. You can also consult the ASEC questionnaire for question wording in some cases.