Subpopulation estimates, college enrollment

I’m studying trends in college student employment using CPS data and STATA between the years 1995-2018. To do so, I have used the svyset, subpop() commands in STATA and the weight, edsuppwt. The resulting subpopulation estimates of college enrollments are smaller than what I would expect given other data sources from the U.S. Dept. of Education. For example, my estimate of the number of (full & part-time) undergraduate students using the CPS data is much closer to the number of full-time undergraduate students reported by the DOE.

My questions:

  1. Have others also found that CPS underestimates college enrollment? I seem to recall this being possible because of the CPS focus on non-institutionalized populations, but don’t want to discount the possibility of an error on my end.

  2. Would reweighting be a viable (or necessary) option? I am particularly concerned about interpreting employment trends, etc if I’m unable to recover relatively accurate population estimates but am new to survey analysis. Thanks!

Can you post a comparison of the CPS and specific other numbers that you’re trying to replicate? Then I can try to replicate your findings and may be able to help you resolve the discrepancy. If you prefer, you can correspond with the IPUMS User Support Team by email at

Matthew, thank you! Just sent an email over.