Seemingly missing values for time variables and weights using Stata


I have two questions regarding the use of the ATUS time use data, that I’ll be thankful for your response to:

  1. I couldn’t find a guide regarding the use of weights (the ordinary person weights) in Stata. Are there some instructions for that?
  2. I encountered why I think is an odd phenomenon. I looked at time variables for time spent with children and limited the analysis only to households in which there is a child (or more than one). However, there is still a large share of the sample - about 22%, who report 0 time spent with children although they live in a household in which there is a child. This seems rather unlikely, so I’d like to ask whether you know something about a possible reason for that (that will allow me to determine whether I can drop these observations from my sample).

Thank you very much

Hi Assaf,

I hope I can help.

  1. Weights are briefly summarized on the FAQ page. In general, you should use WT06 together with the replicate weights found in RWT06 for empirically derived standard errors. There is sample code for replicate weights on the CPS replicate weights page. You should use WT20 together with RWT20 when analyzing the 2020 sample. All of the weights are probability weights. In stata, you would run your regression with [pw=wt06].

  2. Finding total time spent with children can be tricky. You’ll need to use AGEW to examine the ages of people the respondent engaged in activities with. Summing the number of occurrences of AGEW < 18 and tabulating them by HH_CHILD, you should find that among ATUS respondents in 2019-2021 with household children only about 5% did not engage in any activities with children under 18. Taking it a step further, respondents engaged in primary and secondary childcare sometimes omit that they were with a child at the time. When including households with ACTIVITY codes 30100-30399 (primary childcare for household children) and positive values for SCC_HH_LN (secondary childcare for household children), you should find that less than 5% of respondents in households with children report not being engaged in either primary or secondary childcare or any other activities with those under 18. This seems reasonable considering the respondent is a random member of the household.

Hi Ivan,

Thank you very much for your response. Just to make sure I understand:

  1. I set the data using the code in the attached guide, and then use the [pw=wt06] command in my regression, or is it included in the command and I only need [pw=wt06]?

  2. I created a variable for time spent with children using the “with whom” option. In that case, should it include both primary and secondary activities?

Thank you very much

  1. The weights are not set in the command file. After setting the data, you need to include [pw=wt06] every time that you run a regression in which you want the results to be weighted and representative of how the population spends their time. Alternatively, you can run the command svyset [pw=wt06] so that stata remembers to weight all of your future estimates.

  2. Yes, you will want to separately account for primary and secondary childcare since some respondents omit the with whom variable for these categories. Note that spending time with a child does not mean the individual is under 18 years older. Rather, it means they are the respondent’s child. In fact, the with whom option is not particularly helpful if you’re looking for all time spent with those under 18 since brothers, sisters, grandchildren, and other related people can all be under 18. I recommend instead creating a data extract with the variable AGEW to filter with whom by age rather than relationship.